666K later: Comer arrested after Wintergreen discovery
One day after his arrest in Wintergreen's Mountain Lodge, missing Glenmore Home Association Treasurer Michael Comer appeared Tuesday morning by video feed in Albemarle District Court where a prosecutor argued that he was such a flight risk that he should remain without bond at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail.
"The likelihood of his appearing [at his upcoming preliminary hearing] is slim at best," said Albemarle Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford, noting the amount missing from the Association "has a value of over $400,000."
Comer's attorney, Charles Sipe, standing alongside Comer's wife, Kandi Comer, cited the fact that his client was not under arrest at the time he disappeared on July 1 and that although found with his passport with him, the fact that he hadn't fled the country should weigh in his favor. At the July 28 hearing, Sipe also noted that Kandi Comer has been "very forthright" with investigators, particularly in contacting police immediately after receiving her husband's call from a Wintergreen pay phone.
Dressed in jail stripes with rumpled hair and a beard apparently grown while on the run, Comer stands accused of embezzling as much as $666,000 from the Glenmore Homeowner's Association, which he served as treasurer. He said little throughout the proceedings other than answering questions with a quiet 'yes' or 'no.'
Albemarle District Court Judge William G. Barkley set Comer's bond at $50,000 and required that he turn in his passport. If he can come up with money or property to secure the bond, Comer will reside with his wife and two children at their home, which currently on the market for $1.35 million.
(One local real estate blogger notes that the house and another Comer-owned property are listed for $492,000 above their purchase prices from 2005 and 2008, a market-defying increase that, if realized, might chip away much of the alleged $666,000 Comer is accused of taking.)
Dressed in a bright pink linen shirt and khaki pants, Kandi Comer, a former professional golfer and daughter of Glenmore developer Frank Kessler, remained composed throughout this morning's hearing as two other apparent Comer supporters prayed aloud in the back of the room prior to the proceedings.
Following the hearing, and speaking on behalf of the family, attorney Sipe pronounced them "relieved" that Comer has been found. "They're going to use the next couple days simply to decompress," he said, "and see where we go from here."
Comer's preliminary hearing has been set for September 3 at 9:30am in Albemarle District Court.
–Last updated July 28, 11:18am