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Martin seeks special prosecutor in Augusta County supervisors criminal investigation

Chris Graham
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Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Martin is going to seek the appointment of a substitute prosecutor to investigate criminal allegations against two members of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors.

The complaint, filed with Martin on Oct. 15 by Waynesboro resident Sheryl Helsel, which alleges that Supervisors Gerald Garber and Jeffrey Slaven tried to get her fired from her job with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services because she was planning to speak out on illegal impoundment fees assessed by the regional animal shelter, “is different than most of these conflict of interest matters, which only involve advice giving. This one alleges a crime,” Martin wrote in an email on Thursday.

AFP had called for Martin to recuse himself and seek the appointment of a special prosecutor in an article published on Wednesday, noting his close connections to the parties in the matter, which also involves a third supervisor, Scott Seaton, who Helsel was planning to meet with when Garber and Slaven allegedly met with two of Helsel’s superiors at VDACS in an apparent effort to get her fired.

We noted in the Wednesday article that Martin had spoken out against Seaton at an Oct. 12, 2022, Board of Supervisors meeting, insinuating that Seaton was tied to a controversial local business, Nexus Services, whose principals are facing a litany of local, state and federal charges alleging fraudulent personal and business activities.

Martin, in his email, didn’t address the AFP article or any of the points that were raised.

“Because I know many of the players personally, I am going to let someone else look into it,” Martin wrote in the email.

“This doesn’t change anything, and is no commentary by me on the strength of the allegation, just a decision to take this citizen’s complaint to someone who doesn’t know any of the parties,” Martin said.

Chris Graham on Martin’s decision to recuse himself from BOS investigation

Who should lead the investigation into the Augusta County conflict of interest case?
Nov. 1, 2023

Criminal complaint: Two members of Augusta County BOS engaged in ‘malicious maneuver of retaliation’
Oct. 31, 2023

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].