Major Developer John Shooshan Is Now Chair of Barbara Favola’s Fundraising Committee?!?

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    Wow, this is just brazen. Remember that the Arlington County Board (not “of Supervisors,” as Barbara Favola has been erroneously calling it for months now) has an internal policy against taking donations from real estate developers with business before the board. Well, John Shooshan is a huge developer, with tons of business in Arlington County. If that’s not a violation of the Arlington County Board’s rule, I’m not sure what would be. The reason for this rule, by the way, is to avoid any impropriety, or even the appearance of impropriety, by Arlington elected officials.

    In that context, what kind of message does having one of Arlington’s major developers as the chair of your fundraising committee send to citizens and voters? Also, do Democrats seriously think that Republican Caren Merrick won’t hit Favola hard on this issue, assuming – and this is a big assumption – that Favola manages to win the nomination over Jaime Areizaga-Soto?

    The bottom line here: given the fact that a major real estate developer, with business before the Arlington County Board (not “of Supervisors”) over the years, is serving as Barbara Favola’s Fundraising Committee Chair, it’s time for Favola – at the absolute minimum – to immediately step down from the Arlington County Board (not “of Supervisors”). Otherwise, this is going to be an ongoing issue, and a potentially serious issue – one we need like a hole in the head – this fall.

    • Within Arlington, I’m actually pro-development – we need more apartment housing. But statewide, it’s developers who are pushing terrible ideas like the boondoggle-rific Outer Beltway.

      Should a developer really be writing the fundraising emails for a candidate – and with their company & title listed on the email?  

    • Peter Rousselot

      There is both an ethical and a logical fallacy at the heart of the Favola campaign for Virginia Senate.

      All current County Board members(including Barbara)adopted their informal policy not to accept campaign contributions from developers because of concerns over the appearance of impropriety that accepting such contributions would raise. They all knew when they adopted this informal policy that accepting such contributions was legal under Virginia law, but they took this extra step anyway.

      Now, Barbara, while remaining on the County Board, has accepted at least a $25,000 contribution from John Shooshan–a major developer with past, present, and future business interests before the County Boar; has accepted numerous contributions from other developers, and has appointed Shooshan as her campaign’s finance chair. She defends this by saying that all of this is perfectly legal, and that the informal policy doesn’t apply because she is not campaigning for a County Board seat. Yet, she never used the legality of the contributions as a basis for refusing to join the informal policy against accepting them before now.

      Barbara is right on the law, but dead wrong on the ethics.  

    • JimWebster

      Criticisms of land developers per se is a legitimate form of political debate, but it goes too far in questioning the motives of Barbara Favola and the integrity of John Shooshan.

      First, Barbara could not have approved any Shooshan applications alone. Four other members of the County Board also had a vote.

      Second, as a former resident member of boards of the Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Association and the Ballston-Virginia Square Partnership, I had the occasion to listen to and question John about his applications for several of the Liberty Square projects. He was forthcoming and accommodating, and the projects that his company has put up so far are positive contributions to Arlington.

      Jaime’s campaign continues to push me more firmly into the Favola camp – to the extent of making a contribution today.