NEWS- Buckingham brouhaha: Party chair quits, sheriff sues PAC

Democrat Sheriff Danny Williams claims "malice" in a political ad about him, but the defendants stand by their information.

The heated Buckingham sheriff's race got even hotter last week when Sheriff Danny Williams, who's in a fiercely contested race against William G. "Billy" Kidd, filed a defamation lawsuit against the "Buckingham Good Government League," a political action committee that supports Kidd.

And in further fallout over the allegations, the head of Buckingham's Democratic Party has relinquished her chairmanship until December 1 rather than support Williams, the Democratic nominee.

Williams' lawsuit claims that an August 10 full-page ad in the Farmville Herald contained "certain false, scandalous, and defamatory statements." In particular, the sheriff was accused of mishandling confiscated drug money, spending too many county funds with campaign contributors' businesses, and that deputies have been intimidating– even threatening– citizens.

"In Virginia, it is illegal to willfully attempt to damage one's livelihood and reputation by false statements," says Michael Lafayette, the Glen Allen attorney who's representing Williams.

When the ad was first printed, Lafayette asked the PAC to print a retraction or provide proof of its claims. "Their statements are so ludicrous, of course they couldn't prove them," says Lafayette. Sheriff Williams did not return a call from the Hook.

"We endorsed Billy Kidd because we didn't like what we saw in the other guy," says Don Shumaker, chairman of the PAC and one of the defendants to the lawsuit. "All the facts– we stand behind them because they're a matter of public record."

Shumaker says allegations about Sheriff Williams drug money spending came from county records and a Board of Supervisors-authorized audit and that Buckingham Commonwealth's Attorney E. M. Wright is investigating citizen complaints of intimidation.

Christine Senger-Bryan has been chairman of the Democratic Party in Buckingham for four years. She says she's friends with both Williams and Kidd (who is also a Democrat but is running as an independent). 

Following the filing of the lawsuit, Senger-Bryan went on hiatus from the chairmanship. She explains that she wanted to avoid "mudslinging" over her decision to support a candidate other than the official Democratic nominee, Williams.

"My loyalty to my party and politics cannot outweigh my moral obligation," explains Senger-Bryan. The lawsuit was "the straw that broke the camel's back. I have evidence in my hand at this moment that shows [Williams] has not been honest."

While Williams has contended that he didn't know the proper procedure for appropriating drug money, Senger-Bryan says she has a January 2004 letter from the county administrator that outlined the proper procedures to Williams.

This is not the first time controversy has swirled around the Buckingham County Sheriff's office. In 2005, two people told the Hook about being strip-searched on the side of the road on separate occasions by Buckingham deputies. A drug-sniffing dog indicated a hit, but drugs were not found in either case. The Sheriff's office variously said the events didn't happen– or that the victims voluntarily took off their clothes.

In another incident, Tracey Banks claims that former Buckingham deputy Anthony "Tony" Lewis forced her to perform oral sex when he came to serve a warrant on March 23, 2005. She has filed a $700,000 lawsuit against Banks and Sheriff Williams, which may go to court in December.

Because they're considered public figures, elected officials rarely sue for defamation. Says Williams's attorney Lafayette, "A lawsuit is the last remedy. Frankly, if they hadn't published any more, we would have not sued."



I wish that every citizen in Buckingham could read this before election day next month. This article shows how corrupt and incompetent Sheriff Williams is. Buckingham County, sad to say, as I am a County resident, probably has one of the worst Sheriffs in the Commonwealth. The Sheriff has fouled up his finances, by writing checks to individuals for $25,000 and not following procedure in terms of spending drug seizure funds, he has had one of his deputies demand oral sex from a resident, spent massive amounts of taxpayers' dollars with political supporters, stripsearched residents on the side of the road (that came out clean, after a dog suspected them of having drungs, mind you), and is now suing a PAC, composed of county citizens who want to spread the TRUTH, for $3.5 million!!! What in the world is the Sheriff thinking?!

How about spending county money on "his charity"? He bought a log splitter and mauls for his firewood program with county funds (in his financial staements made public). No matter how good the charity, his budget is supposed to be for law enforcement, not buying votes. Suppose we let every county official spend our tax dollars on their own charity, how long before we go broke?

Anna, what accident was this? Who was the deceased? Who was the deputy? Where did it take place? When? Enquiring minds would like to know.

Okay, here's the scoop on the accident. March 7, 2007, 9:30 am on Route 20 in Albermarle County. Deputy Myron Gordon passed a vehicle and hit an oncoming car head on. Killed the male driver. Name unknown. Do know that he was married with two children. Charges were not filed until March 27, 2007. In May, went to Circuit Court, where he was found quilty of Reckless Driving. Was given special permit to drive for work!!! Was not given admin. leave, desk duty, etc. Was back in work in two days. He is the resource officer for the Middle School. No newspaper reported this. Go to, then under Case Information, General District Court, Albermarle County, case number GT07004295-00, or you can search by name. Again, final dispostion was a MISDEMEANOR RECKLESS DRIVING. I am sure the poor man in C'Ville who had the wreck last week is hoping for the same outcome.

Here's the question? How do we as citizens get these facts out to other citizens without getting a law suit filed against us? I know many people who are actually afraid NOT to vote for Danny Williams, even though they support Bill Kidd. Every thing he is doing now (the Sheriff) is the same stuff he griped about 4 years ago with Sheriff Shumaker, and now he files a law suit because people speak out against him. We should all be afraid, very afraid if this man stays in office. Again, how do we get other people to read and see the truth? Blessings to the now former Chair of the Democratic Committee for standing up for herself and her beliefs. I wonder if the Sheriff will file a law suit against her, saying it was Politically motivated?

Thanks Anna. I had no idea a Madison County sheriff's deputy was involved.

I hate the system. A Charlottesville Wrecker driver is soon facing 2 counts of involuntary manslaughter for an accident he had. But a cop gets off with a slap on the wrist. Wonder why Jim Camblos didn't go after the deputy for involuntary manslaughter? No wonder so many people are starting to hate cops.

Danny Williams has evidence that would have exonerated me when two of his deputies falsely charge me with assaulting them after they assaulted me without cause. When I initially made a formal complaint against these officers, Sherriff Williams did nothing. While awaiting trial, these deputies changed their stories three times and Sherriff Williams still did nothing. He is corrupt and condones his officers’ misconduct time and time again. He should never be in a position of power.
It is ironic that Mr. Williams wants to sue PAC; I could sue due to his officers violating my fourth amendment rights, entering my home without a warrant or my consent, falsely charging me with a crime that never happened and physically hurting me.

i am a former resident of buckingham county and am interested in knowing who won the sheriff election???

Quote:"he has had one of his deputies demand oral sex from a resident..."
You will now produce the evidence you have to prove that he told the deputy to do this. Otherwise, this is slander.
Quote:"one of the worst Sheriffs in the Commonwealth"
Considering all of the federal indictments in the commonwealth against sheriff's departments, while under Danny Williams, Buckingham has none - this is a stunningly ignorant statement!
Quote:"spent massive amounts of taxpayers' dollars with political supporters"
Massive?? No. When George W. Bush does it it is massive, but that is alright with you, isn't it?
Quote:"...who want to spread the TRUTH"
But who lied instead.

Evelyn, there's a new sheriff in town! Williams was voted out of officee.

W. G. "Billy" Kidd, Jr. 2,914 votes 56.20%

Danny A. Williams 2,268 votes 43.74%

Hooray for our new Sheriff: W.G. "Billy" Kidd!!!
Time for honesty, fairness, and transparency in the Sheriff's Office!!!

I believe there is evidence of the sex crime that was committed against a buckingham female resident. Semen can be tested and matched to it's rightful owner.

God Bless everyone and God Bless America!

We have a new Sheriff, Billy Kidd :)