After it made national news last night, this morning’s Richmond Times-Dispatch print edition ran a 3-page story with this one-word headline in 2-inch type…
Virginia’s newly-defunct Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, and his wife, Maureen, are facing 14 felony counts of corruption, possibly 7-figure fines, and perhaps the rest of their lives in jail. They solicited a jaw-dropping array of cash and goods from a businessman named Jonnie Williams, whom they used to call a “family friend,” and whom they helped to make the former CEO of Star Scientific, thanks to their “friendship.”
But NOBODY in the media, nor anyone else in high places who’s expressed an opinion on this case has addressed the elephant in the room. So let this cat be the first to say it…
Maureen McDonnell’s personal relationship with Jonnie Williams doesn’t pass the smell test.
Their acquaintance seemed to begin well before McDonnell became governor back in 2009, because when she needed an inaugural gown, Maureen asked Jonnie to buy it. Only after a state staffer insisted it wasn’t a good idea did Maureen back down and not accept the dress.
But that didn’t stop Maureen from asking Jonnie to fund a $15,000 NYC shopping spree he accompanied her on, where she bought Oscar de la Renta, Louis Vuitton, Armani, and other designer clothes, shoes, and accessories.
Or to ask Jonnie to buy husband Bob a $6,500 Rolex.
Or to ask Jonnie to let Bob borrow Jonnie’s Ferrari while the McDonnell family was staying at Jonnie’s getaway at Smith Mountain Lake resort.
Or to ask Jonnie for $50,000 to help with expenses.
Or to ask Jonnie to pay sums totaling $25,000 to help pay for her 2 daughters’ weddings.
Or to go on numerous out-of-state trips alone with Jonnie, ostensibly to raise the profile of his company’s diet supplement, Anatabloc.
In fact, it seems every time Maureen needed anything substantial, she didn’t ask her husband, but called Jonnie Williams.
You must see where I’m going with this. Does it sound like the behavior of a faithful wife, or something else?
While Maureen lied to investigators about all this and earned herself an obstruction charge, Bob McDonnell has consistently professed innocence, and insisted he didn’t break any laws (like Mitt Romney paid “every penny” of taxes he owed, after loopholes).
It’s true Bob wasn’t the one always asking for stuff. But he does appear to be a totally willing dupe, accepting whatever perks Maureen got Jonnie to send his way, possibly in exchange for granting her quality time with Jonnie.
Those perks included $7,500 in golf outings at various country clubs (without Jonnie), where Bob and his 2 sons put 3 golf bags, 2 sets of clubs, 2 pairs of shoes, and 6 golf shirts on Jonnie’s tab in the pro shop.
Bob accepted the Rolex. He drove Jonnie’s Ferrari. He took a $70,000 “loan” from Jonnie to bail out a failing real estate venture he had with his sister, and didn’t pay back a penny until it came out in the press.
While governor, Bob McDonnell let another man pay a huge chunk of 2 family weddings.
Does that sound like the behavior of a responsible husband and father? Bob McDonnell let Jonnie Williams be his sugar daddy.
Virginia law is extremely lax on what gifts politicians have to report, and it’s easily circumvented. For that gaping loophole, Virginia taxpayers are footing about $750,000 in legal fees McDonnell ran up for defense in this while he was governor. He had to get pricey outside counsel because his own attorney general, Ken “Cuckoo” Cuccinelli, had to recuse himself because he’d also been on the take from Jonnie Williams, but to a much lesser degree.
The only person we haven’t heard the first peep from is Jonnie Williams’ wife. How were she and Jonnie’s kids doing while he was lavishing gifts on Maureen McDonnell? Or when he had to step down as Star Scientific CEO in September 2013 because he was in so deep with the whole McDonnell family? What about his own family?
Not a peep.
The McDonnells are supposed to be arraigned Jan. 31. Remember that you read it first at Cats Working when Maureen’s skeletons start falling out of the closet and her true her relationship with Jonnie comes out.