Guilty plea: Comer goes directly to jail
Michael D. Comer, the former treasurer of the Glenmore Community Association accused of stealing $465,000, pleaded guilty to four counts of embezzlement and one count of money laundering April 13, and immediately went to jail rather than remain out on $50,000 bond until his June 30 sentencing.
He faces 120 years in prison and a $510,000 fine if he receives the maximum sentence on the five felony counts, Judge Cheryl Higgins advised Comer in Albemarle Circuit Court.
He wrote five checks in the fall of 2008 from the homeowners' account to Glenmore Associates, the company that runs the gated community developed by Comer's late father-in-law, Frank Kessler, who also founded Real Estate III. That company became a franchise of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate last week.
"Glenmore Associates was going through some very difficult financial situations in the fall of 2008," said Comer's Warrenton attorney, Blair Howard. "Mr. Comer was using very poor judgment as he tried to right the ship. He betrayed the trust of the Glenmore Community Association."
Glenmore Associates, which owns the Glenmore Country Club, of which Comer was president, has issued two notes to the homeowners association totaling $443,000. It has repaid $300,000, and has promised to pay the balance by August.
Comer is ordered to pay the Glenmore Community Association $167K, which includes $12,000 for the audit and $9,000 in attorney fees.
Glenmore resident Ann Harrod is satisfied with Comer's guilty pleas. "I didn't think he had any choice but to plead," she said following the hearing. "The data was all there."
Attorney Howard notes that Comer has accepted responsibility for his actions, has been cooperative with authorities, and is remorseful. Says Howard, "He feels very, very badly."