Breaking NewsEmbattled Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Denise Lunsford, has procedurally sidestepped a Virginia Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) for information regarding her credit card usage, reimbursed expenses, and other specific items.

Richmond-based attorney, Matthew D. Hardin, issued the FOIA directly to Lunsford on October 14, via FAX, and on behalf of Tyler Pieron, “a citizen and resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The request sought the following information from Ms. Lunsford:

  1. All credit card billing statements received by the Albemarle County Common- wealth’s Attorney’s Office, whether received directly from a credit card company or indirectly from an employee of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office during the pe- riod January 2012 through December 2013, inclusive, or covering any expense or billing in that same period, for credit cards issued to, or paid/reimbursed in whole or in part by the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office.
  2. All documents reflecting reimbursements paid to the Albemarle County Commonwealth Attorney for any expenses, which expenses were incurred, or the documents were submitted, between January 2012 until December 2013.
  3. All emails or text messages the Commonwealth’s Attorney sent (whether on personal or official email accounts, while conducting the “business of the Common- wealth”), which include BOTH the phrase “press” and either the word “Jim” or the word “Larkin.”
  4. All emails or text messages the Commonwealth’s Attorney sent (whether on personal or official email accounts, while conducting the “business of the Common- wealth”), during the period January 2012 to December 2013 to or received from the attorney representing James Larkin or which refer to the attorney representing James Larkin.
  5. All emails or text messages the Commonwealth’s Attorney sent (whether on personal or official email accounts, while conducting the “business of the Common- wealth”), to or received from Chris Dumler.
  6. All emails, or texts, the Commonwealth’s Attorney sent or received (whether on personal or official email accounts, while conducting the “business of the Commonwealth”), to or from Michael Ducette, which contain the word “Dumler”, or the word “Chris”.
  7. All emails or text messages sent or received (whether on personal or official email accounts, while conducting the “business of the Commonwealth”) by Denise Lunsford between January 1, 2012 and May 20, 2012, which discuss work-related travel plans.
  8. All emails, sent or received by Denise Lunsford (whether on personal or official email accounts, while conducting the “business of the Commonwealth”), which include the word “drone.”
  9. All correspondence, including emails, texts, memoranda, etc., sent to or from Courtney Stewart by anyone in the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office.
  10. All emails or text messages the Commonwealth’s Attorney sent or received (whether on personal or official email accounts, while conducting the “business of the Commonwealth”), which reference the Weiner prosecution, particularly, but not limited to, all communications referencing Mark Belew, or which reference Weiner and missing girls.
  11. All documents and information which set forth the policies of the Commonwealth’s Offices, and the policies of the County of Albermarle regarding the use of work provide computer, work provided cell phones, work provided office phones and all policies and procedures which discuss the personal use of any work provided re- sources.

Documents and information obtained by The Schilling Show reveal that Ms. Lunsford responded to the FOIA request initially by US Mail (not electronically) on the very last day allowable (Thursday, October 22), which is legal, but creates a delay. Attorney Hardin, not receiving an email reply by end of day Thursday, contacted Lunsford’s office on Friday morning and his call was returned within ten minutes by Ms. Lunsford, personally, at about 11:00 AM. She stated that the response had gone out via US Mail.

On October 23, Ms. Lunsford faxed to Mr. Hardin a copy of her mailed response, with the following substantiations for her refusal to initially comply with the open records request:

  • Lunsford requested the address of Tyler Pieron.
  • Lunsford claimed that she personally would need to review her files for the requested records, and that administrative personnel could not or would not be allowed to perform the search on her behalf.
  • Lunsford stated that it was not “practically possible” to provide the requested records within the statutory period of five days.
  • Lunsford stated that she would need a “bare minimum” of $3,199 to compile a response.
  • Lunsford further elaborated that upon payment, the documents could take five weeks to produce.

In stark contrast to Denise Lunsford’s institutional obstinance regarding Attorney Hardin’s FOIA request, a second FOIA request for similar or tangential information was made of the Albemarle County Finance Department—which responded within the statutory time and whose response included the requested documents.

Presently, Mr. Pieron and Mr. Hardin are contemplating legal options to obtain the petitioned information from Ms. Lunsford in a timely manner and without exorbitant expense.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Appauling lack of transparency in our current Commonwealth Attorney's office. What arrogance and obstruction on Denise Lunsford's part! She proves again and again she's not fit for the office she holds.

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