EXTRA! Mayor Denies Council Knowledge of ‘Hand-Gate’





Cape Charles Wave

April 26, 2014

In an emotional statement April 24 to Town Council, Mayor Dora Sullivan refuted claims that three Council members had known for more than six months that developer Patrick Hand intended to buy property on Mason Avenue resulting in the loss of 160 parking places that for years have been used by the public with the permission of the owner.

The mayor’s statement came in response to an April 24 Wave commentary by Councilman Frank Wendell, who is running for mayor in the May 6 town elections. “At the April 7 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, Mr. Hand explained that he had been working with the mayor, three members of Town Council, and some members of the Art Walk committee for six or seven months on his downtown project,” Wendell wrote.

Mayor Sullivan said that after reading Wendell’s commentary she called Hand, who told her, “I did not have a plan six months ago. Therefore I could not have spoken to Council.” She emphasized that Hand had said, “I never met with you or a single Council person, singularly or in a group, six months ago.”

The mayor also said that she had the minutes of the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, but not the recording. “There’s nothing on there,” she said. When Wendell told her she should listen to the tape, she replied, “I don’t need to — I talked to him.”

Sullivan also said that “what bothers me the most is that the citizens of this town are not capable or care enough to come and say, ‘Is that true, did you really say that?’  We are full-grown adults. Instead, we read what we read, and we believe it.”

Regarding the Wave, Sullivan said, “What if I never read the Wave? I’m dead in the water, because I’m being eaten alive, and I have no idea I’m being eaten alive.”

A transcript of Mayor Sullivan’s April 24 statement appears below, along with an audio file. Following that is a transcript of relevant remarks at the April 7 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting and an audio file, enabling readers to both see and hear the words of Patrick Hand, who states: “This project started with me going to a couple, three different members of Town Council.” When asked how long ago he started his project, he states “seven months, eight months.” [Read more…]