VRE Board Declines Independent Audit
Fredericksburg City Councilman Fred Howe, Stafford County Supervisors Susan Stimpson and Paul Milde and Spotsylvania County Supervisor Gary Skinner wanted the investigation.
Clarification: Stafford County Supervisor Paul Milde also voted in favor of the audit. An earlier version did not include his name.
Despite a push from four Fredericksburg-area elected leaders, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Board voted Friday not to request an independent investigation into whether a VRE official did anything improper to benefit a company he owns.
VRE Board member and Stafford County Supervisor Susan Stimpson requested the investigation; Fredericksburg City Councilman Fred Howe, Stafford County Supervisor Paul Milde and Spotsylvania County Supervisor Gary F. Skinner were among the members who backed her request with their votes.
But the majority of VRE board members said they want to wait until a separate FBI investigation is completed.
“I’m very disappointed in fellow board members. . . . We need to ensure our internal controls are functioning," Stimpson told the Washington Post.
The Washington Post reported Friday the FBI is investigating allegations that another former VRE official "may have steered an agency contract to a company in return for a payoff."
The Post obtained the email which initiated state and federal investigations. The email says in part, there was “unsavory practice in the contract procurement procedure” and outlines a “kickback” scheme involving the employee.
Thelma Drake, a former member of Congress who serves as director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation, told the Post "that her agency launched an audit based on the email. She said state officials stepped aside when they learned about the FBI investigation and will conclude after federal authorities wrap up."