Charlottesville Breaking News
It was the case of a billionaire versus a farm manager, what a friend of the accused describes as a steamroller attempting to crush a gnat. But when the jury rendered its verdict on embezzlement charges October 27, the gnat– actually a towering former UVA linebacker– walked tall from the Albemarle County Courthouse amid grateful sobs from his daughter.
The 82-year-old patriarch of the family enriched by the Seagram liquor fortune, New York-based Edgar Bronfman Sr., had accused 52-year-old Michael Nemeyer of illegally enriching himself with bank accounts and credit cards that should have been devoted to Georgetown Farm, Bronfman's sprawling weekend retreat near the northwestern county village of Free Union.
Trial testimony indicated that after Bronfman announced his intention to sell the property about two years ago, Nemeyer expressed an interest in settling what he claims he thought were loans. That acknowledgement, says jury foreperson Ellen Schmidt, was a key factor in the jury's view that there was no criminal deception.
"When the owner said he was selling," recalls Schmidt, "Michael said, 'Well, I still you owe you money.' There was no evidence that he went out of his way to hide anything."
Yet the court file indicates that Nemeyer once penned a letter to the farm's bookkeeper (who separately stands accused) in the billionaire's name. And one of the exhibits introduced at trial was a letter Nemeyer sent Bronfman a...
The proposed Western Bypass, the resurrected $235 million road project that will cut a 6.2-mile swath from Forest Lakes South to the North Grounds of the University of Virginia through neighborhoods west of Route 29, will not include bike or pedestrian access. Yup. And that's a fact that frustrates advocates for alternative transportation.
"We implore you to focus not only on the roadway design," writes Len Schoppa with the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation, in an email to the Albemarle Board of supervisors, "but on design elements that impact the ability of this project to improve bicycle, pedestrian, and transit connectivity in our region."
"The Bypass RFP makes it clear that the Bypass will not allow bicycles or pedestrians," says County Supervisor Dennis Rooker, who has convened a task force to add recommendations in an addendum to the RFP in the hopes of getting a better Bypass, 55 percent of which lies in his district.
As Schoppa points out, the current RFP for the project includes few mentions of bicycles and pedestrians, no mention of public transit, and only vaguely touches on "the need for more trails."
"This is an understatement," says Schoppa, who says the project could be a great opportunity to assist alternative modes of transportation. "All community surveys of parks and recreatio...