A Prince William County supervisor is accusing a former colleague of potential corruption in connection with building data centers in the Northern Virginia county. Supervisor Jeanine Lawson is calling for an investigation into former Republican Supervisor Pete Candland.
In a news conference Tuesday, Lawson, also a Republican, shared emails that Candland allegedly sent to a data center developer offering to help navigate the land-use approval process.
Virginia has a “revolving door law” that prevents former elected officials from lobbying on projects they were involved with after leaving office for one year.
“While I am not the proper authority to investigate improprieties, or to judge whether any misconduct has taken place, the information raises questions, or gives an appearance of improprieties or misconduct that I cannot ignore,” Lawson said in prepared remarks.
Lawson said that she handed over the emails to Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amy Ashworth and Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares.
“For the sake of ensuring that Prince William County Government is doing its best to serve county residents, and to ensure full transparency and accountability, I feel that what I am doing is right,” Lawson said.
In a statement from Candland provided to WTOP he denied all wrongdoing and called the allegations false, stating that he consulted the county attorney on what is permissible and has “strived to follow that guidance after leaving office.”
Candland’s statement went on to say: “It is deeply troubling that, even as a private citizen, I find myself the target of baseless accusations. This appears to be yet another attempt by some to tarnish my reputation and hurt me and my family. It is disheartening to see that the ‘politics of personal destruction’ continues to be a tactic employed by some, even at the cost of truth and integrity.”
Candland resigned from office in December of last year citing a conflict of interest over the PW Digital Gateway data center project. He was one of hundreds of residents who agreed to sell land for the project.
At the time the Commonwealth Attorney issued an opinion saying he should recuse himself from any votes regarding data centers in the county.
Lawson, who is running for Prince William County Board Chair, is a vocal opponent of the PW Digital Gateway Project and launched a failed resolution to delay voting on the Digital Gateway Project until after the November election when a new board is sworn in.