Greene supervisor accused of grand larceny

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GREENE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A member of the Greene County Board of Supervisors has been arrested on a felony charge of grand larceny.

Greene County Board of Supervisors

According to a release from the Virginia State Police, 62-year-old David L. Cox of Stanardsville, who is on the county Board of Supervisors, was indicted on May 23.

A second man, 55-year-old Richard W. Eppard, also of Stanardsville, was also indicted on a grand larceny charge.

Police say the two men were farming and harvesting hay on government property owned by the county.

According to a court motion obtained by FOIA, the alleged farming took place on a 202-acre lot in Greene County.

The lot is located behind Dairy Road in Ruckersville and is not accessible by public road.

Cox hung up the phone when called and asked for comment.

Greene County Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew Hardin said his office requested a special grand jury.

A letter from Hardin to Circuit Court Judge Dale Durrer said there is a conflict of interest for Greene County Attorney Thomas Lacheney.

Hardin said Lacheney would be representing both Cox and the county, from which Cox is accused of stealing.

"A special grand jury is a rarely-used investigative tool in Virginia where the special grand jury is composed of citizens from the community and they make their own decisions about whether charges are appropriate," Hardin said.

Court records show the alleged illegal farming took place since June 2013.

An investigation was begun back in March following an allegation that Cox and Eppard were farming on county property for personal gain.

The men turned themselves in to police on May 24.

Emails obtained by FOIA request between Hardin and Lacheney show Lacheney is calling for the case to be dropped, saying his investigation shows no supervisor has stolen, "the county's worthless weeds."

Chairman of the Greene County Board of Supervisors Bill Martin said Cox's position on the board will not be affected at this time.

In a statement, Martin said, in part, "Mr. Cox is presumed to be innocent and he is legally entitled to the benefits to that presumption."

The initial court appearance to set an arraignment date is June 11.

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