These allegations were uncovered not by Ken’s opponent, Janet Oleszek, but by Democratic candidate for Clerk of the Courts, Dale Evans. Evans went public with his charges to highlight the fact that current Republican Clerk of the Courts, John Frey, has not exercised due diligence on his job and has allowed some highly questionable deals to be registered without questioning their legality. Here’s what Evans had to say about his accusations:
This is an important issue, not only for voters in Senator Cuccinelli's District, but in all of Fairfax County. I am concerned that this highly unusual deal was allowed to pass unchecked through the Clerk's office. As a citizen and a taxpayer, it makes me wonder how many other potentially shady deals have gone unnoticed, and how much higher my taxes are because the Clerk is not making sure that everyone - his good friends in particular (see below) - is playing by the rules.
I am running for Clerk of Court because I am tired of the complacency which has plagued this office for the last sixteen years. My opponent's response to this shady dealing is that years ago, he received an AG's opinion saying that he could not closely inspect the documents that pass through his office. I wish that I found his complacency in failing to address that situation surprising, but it seems to be the hallmark of his tenure.
As the next Fairfax Clerk, I will push for legislation to change that policy, after which all transactions involving my friends, family, donors, or fellow elected officials will be flagged to ensure that the citizens of Fairfax never have to worry about political favoritism in my office.
The least of the charges, concerning Ken, is that he failed to pay a grantor’s tax for purchasing some property from Miller. That’s the part that especially pertains to Frey’s failure to be vigilant about this transaction. But there’s more that makes Ken look really, really bad. Lowell has the story in greater detail, including a time line of this rather odd transaction:
*January 2005: Ken Cuccinelli sponsors a bill about visitation rights, touted by Fathers for Virginia as a means "of countering no fault divorce." Cooch is one of only 5 votes for the bill, which fails 5-10 in committee.
*February 2005: Stuart Miller's boss at ACFC, Stephen Baskerville, praises Cuccinelli for his work sponsoring a bill for "no fault divorce" and specifically thanking him for his work along with Ron Grignol (Mark Sickles' '05 opponent and Patricia Phillips (Mark Herring's '07 opponent).
*March 2005: ACFC President Stephen Baskerville again praises Cuccinelli's bill, claiming that it will "give Virginia the strongest family protection provisions in the Western world."
*December 2005: According to Fairfax County Land Records, Cuccinelli buys a 1/3 interest in a Stuart Miller's mother's house from sister for $160K and transfers that 1/3rd interest to Miller's Mother's trust in exchange a $185,000 1-year promissory note at 10.25% interest secured against the ACFC's lobbyists's mother's house - folks that's interest of almost $19,000 per year - netting him a profit of $25K to $40K+ depending on when the note got paid - he signs a deed claiming he doesn't have to pay the Grantor's Tax by certifying he was a beneficiary of the Miller trust and that he received no consideration (he must have forgot about that $185K note referenced in the land records).
*January 2006: VPAP says Cuccinelli files an economic disclosure failing to list any interest in the house, the note, or any income earned from outside his firm and sponsors yet another bill on child custody (does anyone have the paper copy of these disclosures? I can only find VPAP's summary.).
*March 2006: The Miller property is sold for $600,000, according to land records and tax records.
*January 2007: VPAP says Cuccinelli files another economic disclosure failing to list any interest in the house, the note, or any income earned from outside his firm.
*June 21, 2007, Susan Miller donates $500 to Ken Cuccinelli's campaign (the Trustee of her Trust was Stuart Miller). This is the first donation Cuccinelli received "from her" (depending on what the profit he made on her house was).
Now this is especially troubling to me. For all that I disagree with Ken Cuccinelli on the issues, I’ve always assumed that he was basically a decent and honorable guy. I thought you couldn’t fault his integrity. Indeed, all those moderate and centrist newspapers that have endorsed him for re-election have made basically the same point, that even though he was out of step with his district ideologically, he was honest.
So it bothers me that all of our assumptions about him might have been wrong. Indeed, I hereby invite Ken to answer these charges here, if he’d like, or on any other blog or website where he’d be more comfortable. But answer them he should because the voters of the 37th district deserve to know the whole story. And, yes, that includes his side of it.