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Decision Virginia Archive 8/08- 7/12

Henrico GOP reveals details of heated meeting that ousted Geary

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By: Ryan Nobles – bio | email

Twelve members of the Henrico County GOP Executive Committee have endorsed an account of what happened behind closed doors when the group unanimously decided to withdraw their support of Matt Geary. According to the account, Geary, the embattled republican nominee for Commonwealth’s Attorney is described as angry and volatile.

Despite this latest setback, Geary is continuing to resist the pressure for him to drop out of the race. In fact in many respects it appears to be motivating him to push on.

We’ve posted the entire account by the executive committee and our interview with Geary in response, below.

But first, here is my story on the details of the meeting from NBC12:

The members of Henrico County’s Republican Committee are speaking out, defending their decision to withdraw their support of Matt Geary, their original pick for the job.

The meeting that led to Geary losing their support was supposed to be private, but GOP Executive Committee leaders have decided to break their silence, in part because of Geary’s decision to continue his campaign.

Geary calls their version of the meeting “fiction”.

Anne Kellum claims that at one time she was an early and enthusiastic supporter of Matt Geary.

“I thought that he was going to be a real rock star in our party,” she said.

But Kellum’s impression of Geary changed last Monday night, when party leaders called their candidate in to ask question about an extra-marital affair that had gone public.

“His interaction with us during the time he was with us was alarming,” Kellum said.

Kellum took notes in the meeting and authored a four page, blow by blow account of the event, which they now refer to as the “explosion and implosion of Matt Geary.”

….read and see the full story on NBC12.com

Geary had much more to say about the accusations and about the Henrico GOP machine. His full comments can be seen below:

The entire account from the Henrico County GOP Executive Committee can be found after the jump:


——————————————————–

HENRICO COUNTY GOP EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE NOTES ON GEARY WITHDRAWAL MEETING:

(composed by Anne Kellum, endorsed by the entire 12 person committee)

The members of the Executive Committee of Henrico County Republican Committee left our meeting Monday night after an exhausting and wide ranging discussion with Mr. Geary and amongst ourselves. We had no plan going in or expectation as to what, if any, the outcome would be. We are a body of independent minded people with the interesting twist of three members voting by proxy and no idea what there impressions were going in. While we were distracted at times but what sounded like a pep rally being conducted by Mr. Geary’s campaign outside of our meeting room; we were left stunned to deliberate what one member described as the “explosion and implosion” of Mr. Geary during his presentation to us.

Factors we did not consider or discuss were home owner’s association fines or business partnership disputes. Nor did Mrs. Geary’s company failure contribute to our decision. Only Mr. Geary believes these issues were of concern to us. It is true documents relating to those matters had been given to some members in advance of this meeting, in and of themselves they were insufficient to call a meeting much less important enough debate our continued support for our party nominee for any office. In fact, his affair ended up not central to our discussion at the conclusion of his expansive and disjointed diatribe to our committee.

The Geary campaign began by blaming the position in which we found ourselves on our failure to properly vet his candidacy prior to supporting his unopposed nomination. Mrs. Chase suggested that we forgo the primary reason we were meeting to collaborate instead on a questionnaire for use in vetting future candidates. She went on to say that Matt had made serious mistakes, ones that had resulted in enormous consequences for him and his family. She said he was working hard to make amends to those he had harmed, including our party. She reminded us that all people make mistakes, and asked for compassion and forgiveness. At that moment, I felt there was hope.

Mr. Geary then took over and proceeded to mount a vigorous assault upon our members collectively and individually. He began by admitting he had engaged in an extra-marital affair, that it was wrong, and that he was very sorry. That was about as far as he could force himself to go before he lost control of himself entirely.

Matt went into a disconnected narrative about what the HCRC had purposefully done to him to ruin his life. His theme was that we had never liked him or supported him, and that we had wanted to find some eleventh hour reason to rid ourselves of him because we are a committee run for twenty years by five un-named persons…adding “you know who you are”. In fact, he made all sorts of bizarre accusations directed to members, and concluding with ” and you know who you are; and I know who you are”.

Matt told us that we had fed the press the story about his affair……

**The following section dealt very specifically with aspects of Mr. Geary’s personal life, including his children. NBC12 has decided against posting that information. It consisted about one paragraph of the account.***

….. He said he cannot eat or sleep or concentrate and that we have to live with that as well. He went on to say that Linwood Cobb had orchestrated all of this as part of a good old boy plan to punish him for violating some unwritten party code about pecking order.

Members of the committee confronted Matt with the threats he had made over the past six weeks against individual members to include ” You wait, come January payback is Hell”. “You are with me or against me, and you are against me to your peril”. ” You underestimate me to your peril”. We asked him about concerns that he had gone to Mr. Kizer’s office and made similar threats to members of the staff there. He admitted going to visit some of the staff in Wade Kizer’s office and telling them that they could be loyal to Wade or to him, but that if they tried to play both he and Wade against one another, he would fire them. He said, “ I place a premium on loyalty”.

At one point, a member paraphrased his impression of my concern that Matt had asked me in early July to deny I knew anything about the truth of the rumors circulating about him. My impression and everyone else’s about his email to me was the he had asked me to lie about it. Matt leaned across the table, shaking and pointing his finger to the member and said ” Sir, do you know the definition of “defamation”? He gave the name of a lawyer who was present among his supporters and who specializes in defamation lawsuits, telling the member, ‘ he and I will take this up with you later, no worries”. We called him out for making that threat, and said ” well, what I meant was that after the meeting, I would forgive him and we would shake hands”.

At another point, he lunged toward one member and said ” Don’t you dare bring God into this” ” You have no authority to talk about God”. And, the entire time he was rambling, there were many occasions Amanda would try to calm him, or physically pull him back into his chair. His fists were clinched, and his entire body language sent the message that he would explode at any minute.

One of our elected officials asked Matt if there were other affairs that might come forward for us to deal with in the wake of the publicity. Matt told him, ” I am not playing 60 Minutes with you. I am not answering that question, but tell you what, come January, why don’t all of we elected officials sit down and talk about the skeletons in our closets”. He went on to say ” You don’t have to like me or support me. But I am going to win anyway”.

The chairman asked Matt if there was anything else that might come out to be of concern, and again, he refused to answer the question. ” Im not answering that or giving you a fishing expedition or playing 60 Minutes with you people” I found his responses to these questions bizarre because his campaign began by talking about vetting. In the wake of a problem like this, of course we would ask if there is anything else that might be exposed that would be a problem for him or for us. He reminded us that we had not asked these questions prior to July 1 and that was our fault, but he also acknowledged he wouldn’t have disclosed the affair because he continues to maintain it is not our business. His thinking on this was very disconnected.

He concluded his diatribe by stating that he will be the next commonwealth attorney, that there is nothing we can do about that, and we need to accept this fact despite that we allegedly never liked him. He attacked Mrs. Smith when she asked him why he was blaming the GOP for his problems, and he told her she had never supported him or done anything for him, and was treating him like a child. This too was bizarre. He left saying ” I’m done with you people, Ive got to go put my children to bed” But, he was still there when we adjourned.

Our decision to ask Matt to withdraw was difficult, but made without equivocation based entirely upon the way he conducted himself and the concern we had for his ability to cope with stress. We were left with the impression of a bully, and we do not need a bully with a badge being the top prosecutor in Henrico County. He admitted having chips on both shoulders and being in a rage, and we saw no evidence he could contain that rage or make proper decisions with sound judgment given how personally he takes criticism or being asked to be responsible for his own decisions.

We have had no experience with Matt that was consistent with the person who came before us on Monday night. He never asked what he could do to restore our confidence in him nor did he ask us to support him. Instead he blamed everything right down to his lack of proper furniture on 12 people who never expected or hoped to have this kind of problem with one of our nominees. No one sought to have this occur or exerted any energy to harm Matt Geary.

I for one hope Matt will step aside to get his life in order because he showed us a total inability to use the judgment necessary to determine who gets the death penalty or who is fit to be a parent, or who loses their liberty. His showed himself to be vindictive, delusional, and paranoid. At the end of the day, our vote was more of an effort to protect the citizens of Henrico County and less about the Republican Party. You had to have witnessed it to believe for yourself what we endured Monday night. There was no room in his thinking to allow for the remote possibility that people can be constructively critical of him yet still support him or care about him personally. He kept saying ” You are with me or against me” and there was an obvious threat to abuse the power of his office to punish those who are not “with him”. To me he said ” I might forgive you, but I will never forget”. I still wonder what he means by that…will he not forget if I find myself in legal trouble?

There was no certainty how we would process the information Matt shared with us given this was the first time all of us had been in one place at one time with him in months and months. There was certainty after hearing his ranting machinations, that Matt is not in anyway capable of proceeding as a candidate much less elected to the most powerful position in Henrico County. Politics, home owner dues, business disputes, or the who is who among Richmond City law enforcement and its legal community had no bearing whatsoever on the ultimate responsibility we had at that moment on behalf Henrico County and the integrity of Commonwealth Attorney’s office.

Written by Ryan Nobles

August 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm

9 Responses

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  1. OK Anne, let’s summarize the Henrico GOP’s version of events:

    A meeting was called, but you don’t say what the main focus of the meeting was; only that it was not HOA fees, business partnerships, or marital affairs. You only say that Geary made them the focus. Then why the meeting?

    So far the Henrico GOP has done everything it can to bring Matt Geary down (or to give opening to a HoD seat for one of 2 or 3 certain members). Eric Cantor has done everything he can to bring Geary down. Even the man itching to be governor, Ken Cuccinelli has thrown his support behind Janis with the hope of pleasing the machine.

    But Matt Geary, a good public servant who made a mistake in his personal life, refuses to back down from a fight. And in 1 week, he’ll have the “R” next to his name on the ballot. Not only that, he’ll have the experience necessary to be Commonwealth Attorney, and the support of Henrico County. And Eric Cantor, Ken Cuccinelli, the Henrico GOP, and anyone else who put political machination above friendship and loyalty will be left exposed, vulnerable, and embarrassed. Perhaps Geary is forgiving, but I for one would “place a premium on loyalty.” Any reasonable person would.

    Finally, it’s not paranoia when all of your establishment “friends” are out to get you, sweetheart.

    Brett

    August 16, 2011 at 12:33 am

  2. I don’t know how many committees that Ms. Kellum has served on along with WWBT12 but the account above is in no way “Minutes” of the meeting. Has anyone ever read Robert’s Rules of Order? None of the other attendees are listed, the time and date of when the meeting began and ended and no other information but one person’s account of the meeting. Please do not call the above document minutes as it is on no way shape or form anything close to minutes. And why Ms. Kellum was taking notes. Is she the secretary for the committee? What is her official title – Chief story teller? I am just as upset at WWBT 12 for printing this fiction as I am with Ms. Kellum writing it. Did WWBT 12 do any fact checking? Why aren’t the names of the other people who were in the meeting listed or does Ms. Kellum speak for everyone. Don’t get me wrong. Mr. Geary made a human error in personal judgment – not professional. Unless everyone on the committee wants all of their dirty laundry aired in public, sit down, shut up and stop these childish games. There are more problems in the world that this.

    Robert

    August 16, 2011 at 2:50 pm

  3. For the record.. This account is not and was not ever described as official “meeting minutes”. It is a record of what took place, according to Ms. Kellum and the 12 member committee’s perspective.

    Ryan Nobles

    August 16, 2011 at 3:39 pm

  4. Interesting account!

    James Mark Nachman

    August 16, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    • Sounds like he did not explode or implode…they or she just thought he might….so under the circumstances sounds to me like he held his own. I am appalled frankly at how this is all playing out. Shame on you. Mr. Geary, please hang tight and my best wishes to you and your family. Mr. Nobles, if 12 members endorsed this release of the account of what happened that night, I would think then it would be okay to release their names, no? Do they also sign on to the adjectives and the dramatic prose she adds to her “notes” and “account”. Did I not read that Mr. Geary had already been visited by some of these members and pressed to get out of the race prior to this meeting? Would you have entered this type of meeting wanting to sit down and sip tea and have some crumpets? I was given sound advice years ago from a very good man, a very sound Republican, get out of it, forget it, take time with your family. Still I read and watch with interest….interest and exasperation. Unreal. I also find myself just screaming out for some honesty here. Or at least oh I don’t know the other side to the story…

      Laura Lee Harkrader

      August 16, 2011 at 11:28 pm

  5. It seems to me because of the painstaking detail in this letter, that someone had a recorder on during this “closed” meeting. I don’t know who these people are, but last time I checked, it was illegal to defame a person. If this is indeed fiction…sue them for all they are worth. Cantor and Co. Included.

    Ms. NoBologna

    August 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm

  6. […] Janis and the GOP Executive Committee’s accusations. Especially the ones that emerged from a controversial record of the meeting that led to Geary losing the support of the party leaders. Geary claims the […]

  7. Sounds fishy to me, like Geary is being railroaded for some other undisclosed reason that the GOP isn’t willing to admit. I totally believe what Geary is saying about “the machine”. The fact that the “GOP machine” was willing to dig up and accept anything they believed could be used as dirt to discredit him is highly suspicious. Their normal MO is to downplay anything and everything that might hurt a candidate, not throw him out, and sounds like none of his alleged offenses were particularly egregious. I find his statement in the above video more convincing than what I’ve been reading from the other side. When this story caught my attention, my initial reaction was WTF, something isn’t right here. I smell a rat, and it’s not Geary.

    Ginger Walters

    October 18, 2011 at 6:35 am

  8. I hope the Henrico County Government is proud of its members and their judemental behavior toward Mr. Geary. The sad reality is that they probably excuse themselves and completely justify their thoughts and actions. Pride and Arrogance are ugly sins to face, it is so much easier to blame the victim.

    Zat

    March 16, 2012 at 9:13 pm


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