Citizen says conflict issue unresolved

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Goldwasser wonders why county administrator was able to provide his own evidence for independent review.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — A Carroll citizen has expressed dissatisfaction with a court official’s opinion of the county administrator’s alleged conflict of interest, saying that the review raised as many questions as answers.
When Mike Goldwasser spoke at the Sept. 9 Carroll County Board of Supervisors meeting, he acknowledged that he’s raised this issue several times over the years about Carroll Administrator Gary Larrowe’s former ownership of a rental property.

The conflict question arose regarding whether Larrowe stood to benefit financially from a residential rental property on Airport Road, which he owned as a part of Vandalay Investments. Goldwasser questioned whether Larrowe would benefit from the property’s proximity to the nearby Wildwood commerce park development, a public project that Larrowe has been involved in as county administrator.
Larrowe has since sold his interest in the property.
Goldwasser came to the September meeting in reaction to a report that Dickenson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Joshua Newberry had reviewed information supplied by Larrowe about a real estate transaction involving that property.
Newberry, selected as an official from outside the county to review the evidence, found no conflict.
Goldwasser questioned why Larrowe himself had submitted the packet of information for Newberry to review.
“To me and to many others — and probably to many of you — this really raised more questions than it answered,” Goldwasser said during citizens’ time at last Monday’s meeting. “For one thing, it’s not an investigation when the administrator supplies the materials for the investigation of himself.
“I mean, I served on a grand jury once, and they didn’t have those who were charged present the facts,” Goldwasser said. “They had an investigator present the facts. It doesn’t mean there’s necessarily anything wrong with it. It’s just a peculiar way of doing it.”
He disagreed with the report’s characterization that the situation arose from a single land transfer, because at least three land transfers were involved.
“It makes us wonder exactly what information that was provided,” Goldwasser said.
Publicly sharing what was in the packet given to the commonwealth’s attorney could clear up some of these questions.
“Mr. Larrowe’s to be commended for finally getting around to doing this, but as far as satisfying any reasonable level of doubt, this has really accomplished nothing.” Goldwasser said.