On September 10th, the Manassas Park Planning Commission held a rather unusual hearing regarding the Conditional Use Permit of Rack n’ Roll Billiards in which City Attorney Dean Crowhurst disclosed that former Vice-Mayor and current Planning Commissioner Kevin Brendel had taken lewd nude photographs of underage girls and that the city had this evidence of what amounts to the production of child pornography without saying that it had turned this evidence over to law enforcement. But that’s not the only unusual thing that Dean Crowhurst did that night.
Here’s a clip of his testimony before the Planning Commission:
The key here is that the Manassas Park City Attorney is saying that he hadn’t heard anything about importing drug dealers from Dumfries into Rack n’ Roll in order to conduct drug deals with undercover operatives, and that the ABC hearing commissioner “certainly hadn’t given it any merit, because it wasn’t ruled on.” You’d think that a City Attorney wouldn’t tell the Planning Commission things that he certainly should have known were not true. (For a detailed discussion of this incident, click here.)
On September 5th, the City of Manassas Park filed a brief with the 4th Circuit where not only does it admit that this operation happened, but goes into some detail about how and why it did, although it clearly mis-characterizes the actions of David Ruttenberg. Now how does Dean Crowhurst say he “hasn’t seen anything to support that claim” to the planning commission when the city filed a brief not only supporting that claim but confirming it five days before he made these statements? You can either conclude that City Attorney Dean Crowhurst is either terrifically uninformed about the very recent legal positions the city has taken, or he’s telling the planning commission a deliberate lie.
It’s kind of interesting that the brief that Ruttenberg attempted to provide the Planning Commission previously, and which was confiscated from the homes of the Planning Commissioners referenced this incident. Crowhurst described this brief as “inflammatory” on September 10th, which would suggest that he’s actually read the material he prevented the Planning Commissioners from reading. Also in that packet was the City’s opposing brief, provided by Ruttenberg, in order to balance the information provided. Regardless, Crowhurst decided to personally censor this information provided to the Planning Commissioners by a constituent. How nice of him.
As far as what happened at the ABC hearing his characterization that the hearing officer didn’t give it merit is a pretty untruthful representation of what happened. When Manassas Park Police Chief Evans was on the stand, between his attempts to evade questions and the objections of City attorneys to even allow this testimony to be heard, it’s clear that the hearing officer never had the opportunity to even hear the evidence, much less consider whether it had any merit. The transcript here shows a rather blatant attempt to suppress evidence which might have had a significant impact on this case, which is pretty disturbing for a layman like myself. When the case agent for the 2003 set-up operation took the stand, the city didn’t allow him to even talk about this prior attempt at a set-up, claiming that the prior behavior of the police was irrelevant somehow to what happened only a year later. Despite this attempt to conceal this evidence, the ABC decision does in fact reference this incident because Ruttenberg himself talked about it and doesn’t at all seem to claim it never happened. The record acknowledges that it did.
So where does Crowhurst get off saying that the ABC decision didn’t find that Ruttenberg’s story about this was without merit? I understand that the City Attorney has an obligation to vigorously defend the legal interests of the City in court, but where is it stated in his job description that he must lie to the Planning Commission and misrepresent legal proceedings to them in order to get them to rule in a way that would please the Mayor? Isn’t there some standard of professional conduct that applies to attorney’s generally that says they shouldn’t be liars?
Here’s the story of what happened here from Dave Ruttenberg, and this story is consistent with the recent filings by the City of Manassas Park, the ABC hearing transcript, and the other evidence collected regarding this incident:
The Planning Commission is meeting again tomorrow, and probably will take this Conditional Use Permit review up again after it was tabled at the last meeting. There’s no public hearing on this if they do, and no opportunity for citizens to air their views on this issue outside of Citizen’s Time during the meeting. If some bold patriot in Manassas Park wants to stand up for responsible government tomorrow night, this is something that the Planning Commission should definitely be informed about.
Our public servants shouldn’t be acting this way. When they do, they need to be held accountable.
Here’s Crowhurst trying to defend his censorship of the material Ruttenberg sent to the members of the Planning Commission at the hearing on September 10th:
Crowhurst doesn’t mention that both side’s briefs were included in that packet, making it fairly balanced. But since Crowhurst doesn’t think the commissioners have the brain cells needed to evaluate the information and pick out what is accurate and what is not, he decided to confiscate the information from the homes of the Commissioners. This is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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