Virginia is For Venditors


    Even a fellow raised at the knee of the self-proclaimed financial guru of the General Assembly can miss the concept of maintaining infrastructure. Delegate Purkey (R-Virginia Beach) often drones on about fiscal responsibility. Either it fell on deaf ears at home or a different tale of responsibility was told there.

    Based upon his history in the real estate development arena, Harry R. Purkey, Jr., P.C. looks to be a “do as I say, not as I do” or a “those who can, do, those who can’t, (make money off of those who can)” kind of guy. We’re talking about an attorney who was a member of the Board of Governors of the Real Property Section of the Virginia State Bar who could not manage to maintain a property sufficiently to avoid being charged with building code violations. That is putting the best spin on it.  

    At the height of the real estate boom, Harry Purkey Jr. was the name behind Thalia Creek LLC, a land development scheme on First Colonial Road in Virginia Beach. This is an area characterized by commercial properties, a large hospital complex, and numerous medical clinics. The specific property was an existing, aging, one-story office building on a site zoned for that purpose. It abutted a residential neighborhood. The Department of the Navy opposed rezoning and the development for good reason. But in the evaluation of the request, the noise issues associated with overflight were not considered worth factoring. Coincidental with the effort to rezone the property and gain approval to construct 26 condominiums, the LLC was cited for four building code violations (see Virginia Beach General District Court records) in the existing building: failures to maintain the roof, the exterior, the interior, and to correct hazardous wiring. Purkey delayed prosecution through four continuances and 10 months awaiting the final status of the development effort. In the end, it did not bear fruit. Apparently he recognized the writing on the wall and sufficient corrections were made to the existing structure to warrant eventual dismissal with no remedy for the tenants’ and neighbors’ complaints.

    Roll forward two years and the same pattern emerges. The property is allowed to deteriorate, likely in anticipation of its disposal. Again charges are laid against Purkey (failure to repair siding, fix a broken roof, and replace broken window panes) and again he gets a continuance until he obtains “Nolle Prosequi” and avoids conviction and fines. Or, as suggested before, he just didn’t know how to properly manage his property and the court recognized his amateur status (or his name). Today there stands a bright shiny new multistory medical clinic.

    There is no adequate remedy for the former tenants or neighbors. As Teddy Goodson reminds us, Virginia remains a caveat emptor state. And as I mentioned a while ago, the Attorney General’s office has taken a page from the benign neglect files and is ignoring the consumer fraud web pages where McDonnell remains Attorney General. So don’t think Super Cooch is on the job. Or that he’d defend the interests of a consumer against the likes of a Bob Purkey (junior or senior). Nor should you believe the hot air of the likes of Delegate Purkey. The fruit does not fall far from the tree.

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