GOLDMAN: Del. Loupassi’s gutsy fight to save Richmond’s reputation

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. – I understand Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Mr. Salomonsky felt my last article about the 20 percent “VIG” on the Shockoe Project – as Wikipedia calls it – was unfair. I never used the term “vig” in my article. But I will discuss all this shortly.

First, I want to praise Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R – RICHMOND) for standing up for the people with a gutsy letter featured in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

It is written to the Chairman of the House of Delegates Appropriation Committee.

It is featured in the excellent story by ace RTD reporter Michael Martz under the headline “Loupassi pushing for open bids on Shockoe project.”

With the entire Richmond political establishment lined up behind Mayor Jones’ No-Bid secretive scheme to give potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in sweetheart deals to their friends, a cynic may ask “what chance does the city’s lone Republican office-holder have in stopping the Mayor from paving over one of the most historic African-American areas in the country?”

It’s a fair question.

The public policy of Virginia, as Mr. Loupassi points out, is “that public dollars cannot be spent with favored or chosen individuals.”

Delegate Loupassi makes a seemingly fundamental point of honest government: “I cannot support state money being associated with the no-bid secretive negotiation process being used by the city.”

And that goes double for Richmond money, and Richmond public assets and Richmond public power.

Is Delegate Manoli Loupassi the new Hans Christian Anderson? But since he is a Republican, perhaps the right analogy is Mark Twain. The writer’s short story The Stolen White Elephant is generally considered to be the American inspiration for the term “The Elephant in the Room” used to describe the political problem everyone knows is there but pretends not to notice.

Earth to Richmond’s leaders — what do you think is going to happen to our city’s reputation when the state and national media start to focus on the fact the Mayor and City Council used a No-Bid rigged secretive deal making scheme to spread contracts worth potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to their political friends in order to pave over one of the most historic African-American areas in a scheme to avoid federal historic review, not to mention anti-corruption laws?

Plus the No-Bid scheme involves developers giving secret 20 percent ownership deals to unnamed firms who get a special certification only given out by, you guessed it, the Jones Administration!

Now, as indicated at the beginning, the Mayor and Mr. Salomonsky feel it is unfair for me to have pointed this out. Lou is a friend of mine, as people know I have said that and even in his darkest times, I never denied that.

But I write an honest column on political commentary, both for WTVR.com and for the Washington Post. I call it like I see it.

Moreover, I am not picking on Lou. The Mayor’s office, by its control over the actions of the Economic Development Authority, is the one dictating the 20 percent terms based on their representations to City Council.

Finally, in financing deals, the “vig is sometimes used to describe profits from advisory and other activities,” according to Wikipedia. Does the 20 percent qualify as “vig?” It depends on precisely what the deal for the 20 percent entails.

But City Hall, through the EDA, said the public doesn’t have a right to know even though Lou is getting the contract from a public agency.

I didn’t use the term “VIG” in my article. But as long as they have chosen to keep the details secret, then how can they complain if others use it? The No-Bid deals involve 20 percent here, 40 percent there and this is only what has been revealed so far, remember the EDA said it can keep any such deal secret if it wants.

Mr. Jefferson claimed some things are self-evident. Indeed.

Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.

5 comments

  • Ron Melancon

    I commend Delegate Loupassi but Richmond has a bad reputation and it is getting like Detroit Michigan…. If anybody can make an impact is Delegate Loupassi

  • manalishi

    “Saving Richmond’s reputation” is kind of an oxymoron. Turning around Richmond’s horrific reputation of the shameless leadership is more like it. Richmond needs an enema and will not be any more than a parasite until it gets one.

  • Becky

    As documented in Wikipedia, this IS The Jones SOP/MO since 2009. There is not a Lawyer (Consortium, Council Board, City Attorney, new
    CA) and all of Virginia’s “Law Makers” that doesn’t know exactly
    what is going on. City Council actually Stood Up then, kowtows now, under Sponsorship of new PC Governor.
    Feb 2014, RTD, “I just want you to know that I want to be a partner with it,” said the Governor. RTD.(Governor just happened to stop by
    a Conflict of Interest City Council when friend, Jones, was Proposing another rendition of their Consortiums’ incomplete versions.
    Mar 2014, RTD, Governor appoints Dwight Clinton Jones as State
    Democratic Chairman. There was an in-house squabble, magicially
    appeased by PC by Party Power Sources.
    Party Headquarters Building now in play; PC placated by piece of
    worthless PC Cover.
    PC or Legilated Government. We will see.

  • sots

    Wouldn’t be necessary at all IF the Richmond City
    elected Public Officials, acted in accordance with their
    Oaths of Office, and acted by and within the legislated
    government processes.
    Will they be legally held responsible and accountable
    for REFUSING? What does the Richmond City Attorney
    have to say?

  • Brian Thomson

    How do I formally share my opinion about the entire debate ongoing for now ten years. History museum, Squirrel Stadium, Development of Boulevard, Development of Bottom (+) (-) merits thereof. Need for City to leverage tax dollars. City and State dollars invested. If I wanted to be a part of this dialogue, where, when, who how do I do it. Why is this not a full referendum for the you and me and other of our City. Who is investing? Great! And thankyou. This is not just a City event. It is the kind of event that begat the City a Maymont Park. A Ginter Botanical Garden, A Monument Avenue, A Rivah sans development… all these things were gifts to my generation from others who had a vision. One that was beyond their next elective office or development project. How and where do I step into the debate? Brian

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