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Govt-and-politics
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On Inauguration Eve, Youngkin proclaims spirit of Virginia 'alive and well'

Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin had every reason to be happy on the eve of his inauguration as Virginia’s 74th governor, and he showed it.

Youngkin appeared onstage with his wife, Suzanne, Virginia’s next first lady, to thunderous applause and cheers from more than 700 supporters — many of them Republican legislators — who had gathered for a festive reception Friday evening celebrating “the Spirit of Virginia Welcome” at the Omni Richmond Hotel.

“I hope you feel the spirit of Virginia because it is alive and well,” he exclaimed.

Youngkin was happy, too, because he said he had spent a full week with his wife after a year of hard campaigning and preparing to form an administration for Virginia’s executive branch of government.

“It’s the longest time we have been together in a year,” he said, adding with a laugh, “Nothing to be proud of, folks!”

Youngkin will be sworn in Saturday along with fellow Republicans Winsome Earle-Sears as lieutenant governor and Jason Miyares as attorney general.

Youngkin had begun the day in a show of community service, spreading mulch around the Reconciliation Statue along the Richmond Slave Trail in Shockoe Bottom, which was home to the second largest domestic slave market in the United States before the Civil War.

He had visited the commemorative trail of historic markers during his gubernatorial campaign and recalled “the way it made us feel a connection to our history.”

“Yes, the toughest part of our nation’s history,” he added, “but it also helps us understand where we can go and how much progress we have made.”

But after the sun went down, the party lights came on — with Youngkin’s last name in large letters etched in bright white bulbs with a red star over it at the top of the stairs to greet guests to the Omni ballroom for the reception.

Republicans reveled in the moment, with the Grand Old Party poised to regain control of all three executive branch offices and the House of Delegates, just two years after losing two decades of control over the House and starved for a victory in a statewide race since 2009. Few in the crowd at the large cocktail party wore masks amid the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

Later Friday night, the Youngkins were to host a “Spirit of Imagination” dinner at the Science Museum of Virginia.

At the Omni, House Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, who had been sworn in as House leader two days earlier, relished his role as emcee “to welcome you to the newly liberated capital of Virginia!”

“The air is just a little bit better when you walk around Capitol Square,” Gilbert said.

Sen. Steve Newman, R-Lynchburg, one of Youngkin’s earliest allies in his bid to become governor, led the audience in prayer, while Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, followed in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

“We come to you in the spirit of hope and expectation,” Newman prayed.

Virginia Beach developer Bruce Thompson, chairman of the Youngkin inaugural committee, promised the biggest crowd for a gubernatorial inauguration in Virginia history, with more than 6,000 people expected in Capitol Square.

Thompson also promised “a celebration like Richmond, Virginia, has never seen” on Saturday night, after Youngkin becomes governor.

Youngkin looked forward to his inauguration in three stages.

The first, he said, would be celebration, “not of what’s behind us, but what’s ahead of us.”

The second comes after the ceremony and parade. “In the afternoon, we’re going to work because it’s Day One,” said Youngkin, echoing the refrain of the late summer unveiling of a tax cut package that he promised would be a priority from his first day as governor.

Finally, at Main Street Station on Saturday night, he said, “Let me tell you, we are going to have a ball!”

But for all the high spirits, Youngkin stayed close to his political themes from a victory that he said was “the result of a movement” rather than a campaign.

He savored the 52-48 majority that Republicans hold in the House and reminded the audience that all 140 seats in both chambers of the General Assembly are up for election next year. Democrats hold a 21-19 majority in the Senate.

“I have to say, 2023 is right around the corner,” Youngkin said. “So get ready for the Senate.”


Govt-and-politics
breaking
Youngkin names key leaders for his incoming administration

Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin’s administration is beginning to take shape with appointments to leadership positions in behavioral health, juvenile justice and emergency management.

But Youngkin’s choice for health commissioner will serve in an acting capacity, and the state’s Medicaid director has agreed to remain on the job for 120 days. An acting director also is overseeing the Department of Planning and Budget, which is crucial in developing a new two-year state budget.

No replacements have been named yet for departing leaders at the Virginia Employment Commission and the Department of Motor Vehicles, two agencies that have come under fire for their policies and performance during the COVID-19 pandemic

“This is the most important management team I have ever assembled, and Virginians can rest assured we have brought together the qualified team that they deserve,” the governor-elect said in an announcement late Thursday.

A spokesperson for Youngkin said he “values the key roles” of agencies with interim or vacant leadership positions and “plans to make personnel announcements soon.”

His most recent appointments include Nelson Smith, an executive with a private hospital in the Richmond area, as commissioner of behavioral health and developmental services. The department runs Virginia’s public mental hospitals and other behavioral health institutions in conjunction with private and nonprofit services in communities.

Smith was chief administrative officer and vice president of behavioral health services at CJW Medical Center, run by HCA Virginia and encompassing Chippenham Hospital in South Richmond and Johnston-Willis Hospital in Chesterfield County.

He replaces Alison Land, who also came from the private hospital industry.

Smith will immediately inherit a staffing crisis at the state institutions, which are struggling to safely care for patients during a series of COVID-19 outbreaks that have sidelined hundreds of employees and forced the state to limit admissions at several facilities.

Youngkin has not made a final pick to replace departing Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver, who became a lightning rod for Republican criticism of Gov. Ralph Northam’s handling of the state’s response to the pandemic.

The governor-elect named Dr. Colin Greene, currently director of the Lord Fairfax Public Health District in the northern Shenandoah Valley, as acting health commissioner.

Sean Connaughton, president and CEO of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association, applauded Youngkin’s appointments of Smith and Greene — “two experienced health care professionals to serve in these roles during this most challenging time for Virginia’s health system.”

“We pledge our support for these individuals and the Youngkin administration as we work together to battle the current COVID-19 pandemic,” Connaughton said.

******

Youngkin had not yet named a replacement at Virginia’s Medicaid agency for Karen Kimsey, who had announced her departure but said Friday she has agreed to remain at the agency for an additional 120 days “to support our staff and the new state leadership.”

“It is an honor for me to continue serving the 1 in 5 Virginians who rely on the Medicaid agency for high-quality health care coverage,” said Kimsey, a 27-year veteran who manages a program with an $18 billion budget of state and federal funds.

Jon Howe, associate director of the planning and budget department, will serve as director in an acting capacity with the departure of Dan Timberlake.

The governor-elect installed new leaders at two key public safety agencies — the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Department of Emergency Management.

Amy Floriano, an assistant commonwealth’s attorney in Chesapeake, was picked to replace Valerie Boykin as executive director of the juvenile justice agency.

Shawn Talmadge, deputy secretary for public safety and homeland security under Northam, was named state coordinator of the emergency management department, which is planning for a new state of emergency in advance of a winter storm arriving on Sunday.

Brian Moran, the outgoing secretary, said Friday, “The vast majority of public safety agency heads are continuing in their jobs.”

“That demonstrates operationally, we’ve done an extraordinary job,” Moran said.

Youngkin also has not announced appointments to replace Ellen Marie Hess, who said last week that she is retiring as commissioner of the embattled VEC, or DMV Commissioner Rick Holcomb, who also announced his retirement more than a week ago.

The governor-elect has targeted the VEC for major changes since the beginning of his campaign last year because of long delays in settling disputes over eligibility for unemployment benefits of hundreds of thousands of Virginians who lost their jobs during the pandemic.

******

This week, Youngkin named Bryan Horn, general counsel at the Home Builders Association of Richmond, as director of the Department of Housing & Community Development, with Todd Weinstein as his deputy director.

He appointed Demetrios “Mitch” Melis as director of the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

Youngkin also filled out several deputy secretary positions in his Cabinet offices.

He appointed Charles Kennington, a fiscal analyst at the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, as deputy under incoming Secretary of Finance Steve Emery Cummings and Jen Deci as deputy under Secretary of Transportation Shep Miller.

Parker Slaybaugh, who had served as press aide to former House Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, was appointed deputy secretary of agriculture and forestry, along with Beth Green as another deputy secretary.

The governor-elect also named Sonny Daniels and Ashley Traficant as assistant secretaries for public safety and homeland security; Jason Pak as deputy secretary of veterans and military affairs; Aliscia Andrews — who lost a 2020 congressional bid to Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-10th — as deputy secretary of administration; and Nicki Thacker as chief deputy secretary of the commonwealth, along with Jenna Moon as deputy secretary.

Other notable appointments include Nicole Riley, Virginia state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, as deputy secretary of labor; Garrison Coward, who in 2019 lost to Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, as deputy secretary of commerce and trade; and Colleen Messick, executive director of the Virginia Capitol Foundation, as chief of staff to first lady Suzanne Youngkin.

Youngkin also made appointments to his policy and legislative affairs office, with Ali Ahmad as director, and his communications team, led by press secretary Macaulay Porter and deputy press secretary Christian Martinez.


State-and-regional
Miyares fires 30 in AG's office, including lawyer investigating dangerous conditions at Richmond apartments

Attorney General-elect Jason Miyares notified about 30 staff members in the office — 17 of them attorneys — that they won’t have jobs in his administration, including the lawyer who was investigating dangerous conditions at a South Richmond apartment complex in Richmond’s largest Latino neighborhood.

Miyares, a Republican, will be sworn in on Saturday to replace Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring, whom Miyares defeated in the November election.

Miyares spokesperson Victoria LaCivita said the 30 staff members were told that Miyares would be moving in a different direction.

“During the campaign, it was made clear that now Attorney General-elect Miyares and Attorney General Herring have very different visions for the office,” she said by email for this story. “We are restructuring the office, as every incoming AG has done in the past.”

She declined to provide the breakdown of which divisions the attorneys work in, saying it was multiple divisions across the office.

Employees in the office serve at the pleasure of the attorney general. While it’s routine for lawyers to be replaced when one political party loses control, the number of lawyers fired surprised the outgoing Herring administration.

“These are dedicated and professional public servants who do important work, like investigate wrongful convictions, protect Virginians’ civil rights, help to ensure free and fair elections, and prevent human trafficking and opioid abuse,” said Herring spokesperson Charlotte Gomer via email. “Their absence will be a significant loss to the mission of the Office of Attorney General.”

Among those let go is Helen Hardiman, an assistant attorney general who focuses on investigating and litigating housing discrimination in the Office of Civil Rights.

Hardiman said she received an email from D.J. Jordan, Miyares’ chief of staff, telling her that her tenure ends at noon Saturday. When state housing boards find discrimination, they refer cases to her to file and maintain lawsuits.

“My biggest heartburn right now is I have 20 court cases,” Hardiman said. That includes a trial scheduled in March.

She just began investigating dangerous conditions in Richmond’s largest Latino neighborhood, at The Communities at Southwood apartments. The investigation stemmed from an investigation by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, whose reporters spent months documenting homes rife with mold, rat and roach infestations and other maintenance issues the landlord is legally responsible for repairing. Tenants told The Times-Dispatch that management ignored requests or failed to address problems brought to their attention.

Hardiman has worked in the attorney general’s office since September 2019 and said she was not expecting to be let go by the new administration.

“I expected some personnel changes, which likely come with any change of administration,” she said. “I am not a political appointee. I don’t have a political job.”

She spent Friday scrambling to make sure someone in the office could cover her cases.

“I don’t want those people who have been discriminated against to be left hanging,” she said. “I also felt like a cursory email with 24-hour notice was unprofessional. And I’m disappointed that the new administration seems to be signaling that they care less about civil rights issues like fair housing than the current administration.”

Asked if the investigation of The Communities at Southwood would continue, Miyares spokesperson LaCivita replied:

“Just because personnel changes have been made does not mean their work will not be picked up. As the Attorney General-elect has said, when he gets into his office he and his team will look at every lawsuit, investigation and opinion with a fresh perspective.”

Deborah Bell, a community outreach coordinator in the attorney general’s 10-person Roanoke office, said she learned by email from a Miyares transition official around 10 a.m. Friday that she had been terminated.

“The way it was handled was cold, it was brutal and it was cruel,” said Bell, an eight-year employee and the wife of a former Republican state senator, Brandon Bell.

In addition to her salary, Deborah Bell said she would lose her health care because of the firing — that because she wasn’t an at-will employee, she is ineligible for separation benefits from the state. Bell said she recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Herring in late December announced he was promoting Mona Hafeez Siddiqui as chief of the Office of Civil Rights. She was among the lawyers let go Friday.

Also let go was Stephen Izaguirre, an outreach coordinator with the attorney general’s Northern Virginia office since 2019 who focused on helping older people learn about scams and resources to help them.

When he started, he had little information about the job and had to build a network, and he would have been happy to share that information with the new team, he said.

“I think they kind of failed to really take the time to at least interview us or talk to us,” he said. “It’s not a political position, it’s the work for the people.”

What stung even more: Izaguirre is a former deputy sheriff in Texas and a Republican who voted for Miyares.


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State-and-regional
Northam pardons Sen. Joe Morrissey for his interaction with 17-year-old

Gov. Ralph Northam has pardoned Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, for a misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor related to his relationship with a 17-year-old law firm assistant who later became his wife.

Morrissey, then a delegate, was convicted in 2014. He and his wife, Myrna, are now raising four children.

Morrissey said he learned of the pardon on Thursday. Northam granted him what’s called a simple pardon.

“To say that I was extremely pleased with what the governor did would be, perhaps for me, the understatement of the 2022 General Assembly session,” he said.

“Most importantly, my wife is grateful,” he said.

And although their young children don’t understand a pardon yet, they’ll be grateful someday for the governor’s action, Morrissey said.

Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, was Morrissey’s attorney in his pardon request.

“A simple pardon doesn’t change any legal consequences associated with a conviction, but I think in a lot of ways it serves as a sort of validation that somebody moved on from the situation that led to the crime at issue and has done a lot to redeem themselves,” Surovell said.

Morrissey, who was 57 in 2014, entered an Alford plea to the misdemeanor count and was sentenced to 12 months in jail with six months suspended. He was allowed to work as a state delegate from Henrico County through a work release program, spending nights in jail in 2015.

He lost a bid for mayor of Richmond in 2016. In June 2019, he defeated Sen. Rosalyn Dance, D-Petersburg, in a primary.

Morrissey, a former Richmond prosecutor and local defense attorney, has been disbarred but now wields significant power as a member of the state Senate Judiciary Committee, often scrutinizing judges, and expresses more independent views than other Senate Democrats.

His license was previously revoked in 2003, and he won reinstatement in 2012 in a 4-3 decision by the Virginia Supreme Court.

His pardon petition to Northam was dated Nov. 29.

“In 2013 it was alleged that Joe and Myrna engaged in consensual sexual intercourse,” the petition said. “Assuming that this happened, it is important to consider today’s reality. It should also be noted that when Myrna applied for a job with Mr. Morrissey, she misrepresented her age when she submitted her resume.”

The petition later continued:

“Myrna will be the first to acknowledge that she was not in any way manipulated by Joe and that she was in no way coerced by him. ... They worked together, they were attracted to each other, they fell in love, married, and are raising four (4) wonderful children together. A beautiful and happy family living the American Dream.”

Morrissey said in the petition that although many members of the public love him, he is “a politically polarizing figure.”

One Democrat who was unhappy with the pardon on Friday was Lizzie Hylton, the political and legislative director for the special interest group Clean Virginia.

“Never in my life have I been so ashamed to be a Democrat,” she wrote on Twitter. “Thanks @GovernorVA for spitting in the face of me and every other survivor of sexual assault in VA on your way out of office.”

The petition included affidavits from Myrna Morrissey, her mother and grandmother in support of her relationship with Joe Morrissey and the pardon.

“I was a mature woman who knew exactly what I was doing,” Myrna Morrissey wrote. “This prosecution continues to hang over our family.”

Northam leaves office on Saturday as Glenn Youngkin is inaugurated as Virginia’s 74th governor.


Z-no-digital
STORM UPDATE: Areas between the Blue Ridge Parkway and I-95 are at greatest risk of substantial ice

As the colder air settles in on Saturday, the stage will be set for a large storm impacting most of Virginia.

The broader picture remains the same with snow in the mountains of the state, rain at the coast, and a messy hybrid in between where ice will also be a problem. Richmond will be in that hybrid zone, so it’s getting tougher to see enough snow in Richmond for sledding or snowman building.

The biggest changes to the forecast involve air just above the freezing mark racing into the state from the southeast late Sunday. This means ice will be more of a concern, in the form of sleet and freezing rain, as Sunday afternoon evolves into nighttime.

The data also suggests the precipitation arrives a little later on Sunday, crossing into the state from North Carolina around midday, racing north, and enveloping the entire state right after dusk.

While some ice in Richmond is likely, the areas between Interstate 95 and the Blue Ridge Parkway are at greatest risk of more substantial ice — enough to cause power outages and keep surfaces slick for several hours.

For metro Richmond, expect snow to develop in the early to mid-afternoon Sunday, but change over to sleet and freezing rain after an hour or so. The temperature will creep into the upper 20s in the afternoon and hold there until shortly after dusk, with about an inch or so of a slushy mess on the ground before a broader changeover to rain.

Winds will increase in the evening, bringing in just enough milder air to drive temperatures to around 40 as the evening progresses. While this still does not look like a classic ice storm for Richmond, a very thin coating of ice and wet snow will accumulate on surfaces before the wind picks up and all precipitation turns to rain, so scattered power outages are a distinct possibility.

There is real concern that the full changeover to rain may take an additional couple of hours and, if so, there would be more ice in Richmond. That will have to be ironed out in the last 24 hours before the precipitation begins.

A few hours of heavy rain will continue through Sunday evening with some gusty winds, then all precipitation shuts down within a few hours after midnight. This will leave a slushy mess of about an inch on surfaces for the start of Monday with daybreak temperatures very close to the freezing mark. Even with some breaks of sun on Monday, gusty and cold northwest winds will continue, keeping highs in the 30s.

To emphasize, conditions will change quickly to the west of Richmond on Sunday, with more ice in the counties immediately to the west, and more snow along the Blue Ridge and into the Shenandoah Valley. Locations along Interstate 81 are also likely to have some ice mix in with the snow, but there will be far more snow on the ground in those locations, with 8-12 inches common west of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Not surprisingly, the greatest risk for power outages will be where the icing is expected to be the worst, between the eastern side of the Blue Ridge and the western suburbs of Richmond, so it’s a good idea to have a plan in case power goes out for a day or two.

Farther east toward the Chesapeake Bay, Williamsburg and Hampton Roads, there will be only trace amounts of snow or ice, and it will largely be a windswept rainstorm. Strong winds will result in minor to moderate flooding at high tide on Sunday night along the tidal James and York rivers and on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

Bottom line for Richmond: a messy mix starting early Sunday afternoon, with snow to ice, and ultimately rain with gusty winds at night. Snow will accumulate quickly, but leave only about an inch or so of a slushy mess on the ground before the storm ends a few hours before dawn Monday.


Govt-and-politics
breaking
Former OSIG investigator files federal lawsuit alleging wrongful termination, defamation in Parole Board probe she led

Westfall

A former investigator with the Office of the State Inspector General who investigated the Virginia Parole Board and was fired after finding misconduct filed a federal lawsuit Friday against her former employer and two top officials of Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration, alleging wrongful termination and defamation.

The investigator, Jennifer Moschetti, said in her lawsuit that the complaint against OSIG, Inspector General Michael Westfall, Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran and Northam Chief of Staff Clark Mercer “is about protecting whistleblowers.”

Moschetti “could never have imagined that ... she would become the scapegoat for having shined a light on [Virginia Parole] Board misconduct,” says the complaint, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Richmond. “But that’s exactly what happened. After she submitted her draft report [in one of the cases], it was sanitized, reduced, redacted and then released, but only in redacted form.”

“When the media finally obtained Moschetti’s initial report, which contained far more details about alleged Board misconduct than the sanitized final report, she was investigated, fired and defamed,” the suit says. “She now files this lawsuit for numerous violations of federal and state law in order to vindicate and to restore her good name.”

OSIG and the governor’s office did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

Moschetti, who was terminated in March, was the lead investigator on at least nine reports in 2020 that found violations of law and policy, including the parole board freeing felons convicted of murder without first reaching out to victims’ families as required by law.

In her lawsuit, Moschetti said Westfall supervised and collaborated with Moschetti during the parole board investigation, and he certified as “substantiated” her findings of violations of policy and law by members of the parole board related to the panel’s decision to grant parole to eight inmates serving time for convictions of murder, who were identified by initials in the complaint.

Moschetti said in her suit that she never leaked information to the news media, but as a safeguard provided copies of some of her parole board reports to a former law enforcement officer.

“In case I get ‘Epsteined,’ here’s the truth,” Moschetti said she told the former officer, referring to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in custody after his arrest on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

In addition, Moschetti said in her lawsuit that she shared some information from her parole board reports with the FBI, “again out of concern that wrongdoing by the Board was likely to be covered up.”

Then later, on March 3, Moschetti said in her suit that she released a partial copy of her file to the leadership of the General Assembly, which is defined as an “Appropriate Authority under the Virginia Whistleblower Act and identified herself anonymously through her counsel as a Whistle Blower.”

Moschetti said she released information to the General Assembly because “she feared she was going to be used as a scapegoat for the controversy surrounding the Board’s conduct.”

Further, “she was especially concerned that she would be retaliated against because of the previous hostile in-person meeting with senior leadership of the Northam administration and Westfall’s comments that he believed he was also going to be fired as a result of the investigation of the Board,” the suit says.

The meeting Moschetti referenced, on Aug. 14, 2020, was called by the governor’s office to discuss OSIG’s handling of the Vincent Martin case and the leak of Moschetti’s full, 14-page report that concluded the parole board violated state law and policies in releasing Martin, who was sentenced in 1980 to life in prison for killing a Richmond police officer.

During that tense meeting, senior staff members of the governor — including Moran and Mercer — questioned the power of Virginia’s watchdog agency to investigate the Virginia Parole Board and reprimanded Westfall for how many investigations his office was conducting. A recording of the meeting obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch conflicts with the governor’s previous account that his team did not intimidate Westfall and his staff.

On March 5, 2021, two days after providing information to General Assembly members, OSIG employees visited Moschetti at her home and delivered a letter that placed her on “pre-disciplinary leave” pending an investigation of her. That same day, Moschetti, through her lawyer, sent Westfall a letter that unmasked herself as the whistleblower and demanded a retraction of pre-discliplinary leave, according to her suit.

Then on March 8, 2021, Moschetti filed a petition in Richmond Circuit Court asking the court to declare her a “whistleblower” under Virginia law.

“Notwithstanding her disclosures to the FBI, to a former law enforcement official, and to the General Assembly, and notwithstanding the filing of her petition, Moschetti was fired by OSIG on March 22, 2021,” her complaint says.

After those actions, Moschetti said in her suit that she became a public target for disparaging remarks, both by the governor’s office and OSIG.

Moschetti cited a March 9, 2021, news conference, the day after she filed her whistleblower petition, where Mercer “openly disparaged her” about the Aug. 14, 2020, meeting.

“We went into that meeting thinking that there was bias and there was a lack of objectivity,” the lawsuit quotes Mercer as saying. “We left that meeting knowing there was bias and a lack of objectivity in that report.”

(The sections in bold and italics are as they appear in the lawsuit.)

The suit says Mercer also disparaged Moschetti’s legal petition, saying her whistleblower claims were “a political ploy to hurt the Northam administration and other state leaders.”

Moschetti also noted that OSIG, when news outlets sought comment about her termination, said through its spokesperson, Kate Hourin, that, “The Office of the State Inspector General models integrity, trust and ethical behavior and demonstrates the highest standards of honesty, respect and accountability.” Hourin is also named as a defendant in the suit.

“None of the above statements or their negative implications are true,” Moschetti says in her complaint. “Unlike Mercer’s and Moran’s false accusations, Moschetti did not conduct her investigation or draft any of her reports with bias or lack of objectivity. Indeed, everything she wrote — even the leaked reports — was vetted by Westfall and others, and her entire plan of investigation — every step — was vetted and approved by OSIG.”

Moschetti also noted in her complaint that she received a “major contributor” performance rating in her annual evaluation and was described as a “person of integrity” and a “detailed-oriented investigator.” Moschetti’s evaluation also stated she was “consistently fair and balanced” when interacting with external ‘customers,’” according to the suit.

In regard to the parole board investigation, OSIG praised Moschetti for her work, stating her reports were “comprehensive and exhaustive,” and her work was “meticulous” and her “final reports [were] of the highest quality,” the complaint says.

Moschetti is seeking $250,000 for loss of wages and benefits to which she says she would have been entitled had she not been fired. She is seeking an additional $750,000 for future loss of pay.

In addition, Moschetti is seeking $10 million in compensatory damages for “humiliation, mental and emotional distress” she said she endured as a result of the “wrongful actions” taken toward her; she also seeks punitive damages against the individual defendants in an amount not to exceed $350,000.

A Republican state delegate, Les Adams of Pittsylvania County, filed a bill that would prohibit the governor or his aides from interfering with or exerting undue influence on any OSIG investigation.


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