Friday, August 21, 2009

Delegate Hamilton and ODU: AH HA! I knew this one stunk to high heaven!

And the truth comes out. As I posted back on August 1st when questions surfaced about the relationship between the powerful Republican House of Delegates Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman, Delegate Phillip Hamilton, and Old Dominion University over a $500,000 state appropriation for ODU's Darden College of Education, that something didn't smell right about this relationship. Back in 2007 Delegate Hamilton sponsored the $500,000 budget amendment that helped fund the ODU teacher training center on the Peninsula. Shortly thereafter, he was awarded a $40,000 per year contract by ODU that came out of that money. Both Delegate Hamilton and ODU President John Broderick denied any inappropriate relationship or "quid pro quo."

According to the Virginian Pilot and recently obtained emails through their FIOA (Freedom of Information Act) request, it is very clear that there was an expectation from Delegate Hamilton to be compensated for his work to obtain the $500,000 in state funding. ODU has now severed it's ties and terminated the contract with House of Delegate's Member Phillip Hamilton (R-Newport News). Hamilton is in a hotly contested race with local attorney and House District 93 Democratic Candidate Robin Abbott.

Now, in all fairness, this deal was cut before John Broderick took over from Rosann Runte as President of Old Dominion University. The nail in the coffin for Delegate Hamilton might be this excerpt:
On Feb. 26, 2007, Hamilton wrote that the center would receive $500,000 in fiscal 2008 and added: "Currently, my part-time salary with NNPS is around $37,000. I need at least that amount from the ODU Foundation to have a part-time salary of $75,000 per year. Of course, more than that is always appreciated."
NNPS is Newport News Public Schools. What Delegate Hamilton has done here is violate General Assembly ethics rules and state conflict of interest laws, that forbid Legislators from benefiting financially for services performed from the work they do in the General Assembly. It is clear from the email that the Virginian Pilot obtained, that Delegate Hamilton's assertion back in July that he did nothing wrong was a lie.

Let's see how fast Hamilton drops out of the race, the rats flee the sinking ship, and the Republicans scramble to find another candidate to run in this heavily Democratic District. It will also be interesting to see if the House of Delegates GOP Leadership asks Hamilton to resign his seat. According to the Virginian Pilot, a violation of state conflict of interest laws is a misdemeanor that carries a one year jail term and a $2,500 fine.

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