Over the past months I’ve reported on the few news items from Manassas Park I find are interesting, mostly stuff that I find in the local papers, and occasionally things that I’m told by residents or local insiders. One of those stories has been the ongoing enmity between Dave Ruttenberg, the proprietor of Rack & Roll Billiards and the City of Manassas Park. To an outsider like me, it’s seemed a bit like a comedy at times. The city sues itself, there are unusual happenings like big SWAT-style raids which result in the discovery embarrasingly little, and then there’s this strange gambling referendum that happens every so often and which vaulted Steve Chapman into prominence during it’s last iteration. The story that keeps coming back up often seems to be either Rack & Roll or, when the required time period has passed, another shot at legalizing off-track betting in Manassas Park, of all places.
So I’ve been taking some time to dig into this and find out what’s going on. It started out as curiosity, became concern, and has ended up as outrage. Until this matter is concluded, I will be spending a fair amount of time on Dave Ruttenberg’s story. Citizens need to hear what has happened here, and have enough information to call to account those who have committed what I believe to be one of the most outrageous abuses of government’s power I have ever heard of.
I’ve had the chance to meet Dave Ruttenberg, who has been kind enough to haul out folder after folder of evidence which includes sworn statements, video footage, contracts, and other evidence that documents a history of official harassment that goes back at least ten years. He has been careful to restrict what he has shown me to documented evidence, to not try to explain why the outrages committed against him have occurred, and to provide me with every opportunity to independently verify what I have seen. And the more I dig into this, the more outrageous this story becomes.
After seeing this evidence, checking what I could, and finding some corroborating information that Mr. Ruttenberg hadn’t yet discovered, the only conclusion I can arrive at is that Mr. Ruttenberg has been subjected to an ongoing campaign of illegal harassment by various officials within the government of the City of Manassas Park who have been motivated by the prospect of personal enrichment if Colonial Downs could be permitted to open an off-track betting facility. This is a story of rampant and widespread corruption among public officials, and a man who stood in the way of their plans to use their positions in order to profit from Colonial Downs’ plans. I believe they tried to take down David Ruttenberg in order to protect their plans, which might have made them millionaires. Now they’re stuck with what they’ve done, and Ruttenberg is a dangerous liability for them.
It’s a harrowing story. Dave Ruttenberg has lost his house, his investment properties, his fiancée and, for all intents and purposes, the business he devoted his adult life to building. Some stand to make millions if gambling is approved through land deals, construction contracts, food & beverage operations, and other related business operations. With the potential to inject tens of millions of dollars in annual revenues into the city business environment, and millions of dollars in annual tax payments towards the coffers of a financially challenged municipality, it’s a perfect storm that has descended on a fine businessman who tried, but failed, to find his place among the establishment insiders who would benefit.
During the coming weeks, as I am able to adequately confirm each piece of information I’ve been shown, I’ll be presenting this story to BVBL readers in addition to the normal political coverage you’ll find here. What I have seen, if properly investigated by the authorities, should reasonably lead to the criminal prosecution of an almost unprecedented number of public officials. David Ruttenberg has tried to use the courts to get this story told, and those courts have, for some reason, at least temporarily failed to allow a hearing of the evidence. Now it’s time for that evidence to be presented to the public in a different way, and over the next several weeks that will be done here. You can be the judge. You can see the story. And if you become as outraged as I have after seeing it, you can do something about it.
Get ready for a wild ride. It’s about time David Ruttenberg got some justice.
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