Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Director McDonald formed LLC, bought nearly $3 million in real estate – Royal Examiner
FRONT ROYAL – Since forming a limited liability company, or LLC in August, 2016, Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron, and former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, who resigned via email in late Dec., 2018 as her board was meeting to discuss her performance, have spent nearly $3 million on real estate, sometimes paying as much as $1 million in cash for choice land in desirable locations.
The duo’s first recorded transaction as business entity DaBoyz, LLC occurred in September of 2016 and lists both their names on the deed, recorded as Instrument #160005726 in the Clerk’s Office of Warren County on Oct. 28, 2016, at 3:38 p.m.
That first purchase would soon be followed by others, including a peculiar transaction in which McEathron and McDonald sold the property from the aforementioned first purchase back to the original owners at a staggering loss of $600,000.
Royal Examiner learned of DaBoyz shortly after it formed, and reached out to Ms. McDonald to discuss the LLC and how she might need to conduct business in order to prevent a perceived or actual conflict of interest or any appearance of impropriety. We were told by then-director McDonald it was her private business, it was unrelated to her EDA business and any concern on our part was unwarranted.
We pressed, questioning Ms. McDonald as to why she held two real estate licenses. On May 25, 2017, the Virginia Department of Professionals and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) License Lookup database indicated that she held a real estate individual license, ranked as a sole broker. Her second license was for a real estate firm.
McDonald charged with filing a false police report
After an alleged May 18, 2017 break-in at the EDA office, located on Kendrick Lane, and the subsequent arrest nearly a year later of McDonald for filing a false police report regarding an allegedly staged incident at her home at 158 Faith Way in Front Royal, This reporter wrote to Warren County Sheriff McEathron, in a June 6, 2018 email:
“I contacted your office last fall regarding the call made to the Warren County 911 Center by Jennifer McDonald alleging an incident occurring at her home at 158 Faith Way. The call came in on June 15, at approximately 21:02.
“Attached is the document that Lt. Foster forwarded to me in Sept. saying that information could not be shared at that time. Are you now able to share any information in light of the warrant of arrest for Ms. McDonald, and her charge of filing a false police report?
“Has your office turned over files, and any information contained therein to the Virginia State Police? The Front Royal Police Department was asked to cease its investigation by the EDA Board via a letter from Chairman Greg Drescher on behalf of the board, in July 2017. Was your office also asked to stop its investigation?
“If it was, did your office cease its investigation?
“As you, your wife and Ms. McDonald appear to be business partners with real estate holdings in at least two counties, do you have a comment on how Ms. McDonald’s arrest and charge might affect that partnership?”
Sheriff McEathron’s reply, the next morning, June 19, 2018:
“Good morning Norma Jean,
“In response to your questions the case you have referenced was turned over to the VSP in March of 18, my office would have no comment on another agencies[sic] open case and no my office was not asked to “cease” our Investigation.
“As to your last question on what may ‘appear’ to you, I want you to make sure you have your facts straight so you’re not under any assumptions or appearances.
“My wife has never been part or involved in what you call ‘business partners’!
“I have not been a ‘business partner’ as you say since September of 2017!
So, therefore, I do not have a comment on your last question.
Based upon Sheriff McEathron’s response, Royal Examiner Editor Norma Jean Shaw replied on June 19, 2018, with the following email:
“Thank you for your prompt reply. I appreciate it.
“I’m so sorry to keep bothering you, but I am confused regarding the DaBoyz business. You say you have not had any “business partner” status with Jennifer McDonald since 2017…and that your wife never had any relationship with DaBoyz….yet you both listed it on your financial disclosures.
“Why would you list that, if you were not involved? Why would Mrs. MeEathron do so?
“Moreover, if that relationship ended in 2017, as you stated in the previous email, why would you have listed it on the financial disclosure required by the ethics council?
“My copy of your form was signed by you on January 24, 2018, and clearly shows you listed DaBoyz, LLC and also rental property in Virginia Beach, co-owned with Jennifer McDonald. That would appear to make you and Ms. McDonald business partners, would it not?
“As you said, regarding me, ‘I want you to make sure you have your facts straight so you’re not under any assumptions or appearances.’
“Thank you for your time,
Sheriff McEathron replied the next day, June 20, 2018, with the following response:
“Elected officials are required to report any information as it relates to the Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest forms from the Commonwealth. Those reports are submitted in the next calendar year for the previous year. Likewise elected Spouses are responsible for putting them on their forms as well even when they are not directly involved, just because a family member is so it discloses any information. When you look at my next SOEI/COI documents you will see what I was/was not in 2018. I won’t have any more comment on my personal life because it’s all in my disclosure forms as required by law.
Following the paper trail
In March of 2018, Editor Norma Jean Shaw reached out to Mrs. McEathron, the sheriff’s wife and a Warren County School Board member, who is required by Va. Code to file an annual Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest form.
The email, in part, stated, “Mrs. McEathron:
“In going over the financial disclosure of each member of the school board, I noticed that you had listed DaBoyz, LLC on your financial disclosure and that your husband had also listed the company on his.
“Having talked to Jennifer McDonald about her company, DaBoyz LLC last year, I was aware of its existence, but after she came to the Royal Examiner to share her story about her good fortune of winning a large sum of money over time at the Charles Town casino, I find it to be newsworthy that she has purchased real estate locally.
“I am working on a story currently and have the following questions for you:
“Are you a business partner of Ms. McDonald’s?
“If you are, what percentage of the company do you own? If not, why is the company listed on your financial disclosure form?
“Have you invested any money in her company, or towards the purchase of land?
“I would appreciate a chance to speak with you.
Mrs. McEathron sent a terse response three days later, “I filed my 2017 Statement of Economic Interest report as every elected official is required by law, every year. I have no other comment.”
Based upon Sheriff McEathron’s Statement of Economic Interest/Conflict of Interest form, filed Jan. 29, 2019, he was, in fact, a business partner of Jennifer McDonald and also a part-owner of DaBoyz, LLC, in 2017 and beyond, despite his denials in the June 20, 2018 email to Norma Jean Shaw.
Donna McEathron’s 2019 Statement of Economic Interest, signed on Jan. 30, also lists Jennifer McDonald as a business partner and similarly lists DaBoyz, LLC as an asset for the previous year, 2018.
Despite Sheriff McEathron’s claims that he and the former Front Royal-Warren County EDA Director Jennifer McDonald parted company as business partners in 2017, the Virginia Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council online searchable database, which stores the Statement of Economic Interest forms for all Constitutional Officers in Virginia, says otherwise.
In fact, back on August 2, 2016, five months after EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald and Warren County Sheriff Daniel MeEathron partnered up for several joint interviews regarding the anonymous benefactor who would fund a new $8 million regional justice academy in Warren County, (They were interviewed by this reporter in March 2016 on a radio news program which she hosted during the noon hour at a local station) they formed DaBoyz LLC, with the Virginia State Corporation Commission. DaBoyz LLC
DaBoyz LLC purchased two contiguous pieces of property on Buck Mountain Road in the Bentonville area of Warren County. The first, about 72.6 acres, was purchased from Rappawan, Inc., a local construction company, for $900,000. (Instrument #160005726 in the Clerk’s Office of Warren County on Oct. 28, 2016)
The second tract of land, about 73.3 acres, was purchased from William T. Vaught, Jr. (a local builder) for $1 million. Some Vaught family members have ownership in Rappawan Inc.; William T. Vaught, Jr. signed the deed on behalf of Rappawan Inc.
Just five weeks later, those two same land tracts were sold back to the original owners, Rappawan Inc., and William T. Vaught, Jr., for significantly less money.
The Rappawan property was sold back to Rappawan for $650,000; The William T. Vaught, Jr. property was also sold back to William T. Vaught, Jr. for $650,000. Why did DaBoyz LLC spend $1.9 million to purchase these two properties and then, a month later, sell them back to the previous owners for a total of $1.3 million? Why did DaBoyz LLC, seemingly give Rappawan/Vaught $600,000 for no discernible reason?
Sheriff McEathron and McDonald, through DaBoyz LLC, purchase 68 Pine Hills Road, in Front Royal, for $60,000.
McDonald and Sheriff McEathron, through DaBoyz LLC, purchase 41 acres of prime residential development land and a house at 1321 Happy Creek Road, Front Royal, for $1 MILLION CASH.
The property is near the recently-completed Leach Run Parkway, which happens to be an EDA project. Moreover, the property was listed by Century 21 Campbell Realty on 3/10/2017 and the contract was submitted on 3/12/2017. Jennifer McDonald, a licensed real estate agent associated with Century 21 Campbell Realty, is listed as the buyer’s realtor.
Century 21 Campbell Realty is owned by Walter and Jeanette Campbell, McDonald’s aunt and uncle, the couple who announced they were donating land for an EDA “workforce housing” project. Royal Examiner broke the story that the gifted land would cost taxpayers a hefty sum. (Link)
Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, again through their company, DaBoyz LLC, purchase a home and 102 acres at 2951 Rileyville Road in Page County, Va. for $550,000. Jennifer McDonald, a licensed real estate agent associated with Century 21 Campbell Realty, is listed as the buyer’s realtor.
Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald purchase a house at 5617 Larry Avenue, Virginia Beach, Va. for $339,700.
EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald creates a new LLC called Moveon8 LLC.
The two properties in Warren County and the properties in Page County are transferred from Daboyz LLC to Moveon8 LLC.
Warren County Sheriff Daniel McEathron and EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald list the Virginia Beach property for sale, asking $359,900. Over the next 5 months, they gradually lower the price. The home would eventually sell at a loss.
The property at 68 Pine Hills Rd, in Front Royal is transferred from Moveon8 LLC to EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.
The properties in Page County, Va. are transferred from Moveon8 LLC to EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald.
The property at 5617 Larry Ave. in Virginia Beach, owned by Sheriff Daniel McEathron and former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, is sold by Kristina McEathron, Sheriff McEathron’s daughter-in-law, for $320,400, nearly$20,000 less than the DaBoyz, LLC owners purchased it for in 2017.
Now that McEathron has announced he’ll retire on May, 1 of this year, could a real estate career be in his future? That’s hard to predict, though he and McDonald do appear to have a substantial portfolio of properties betwixt the two.
This content was originally published here.