Charlottesville Breaking News

Reversal of fortune: Albemarle House goes on the block


For former billionaire's wife Patricia Kluge, the auctions, the lawsuits, and the loss of the winery bearing her name combined to make 2010 seem to be a very bad year, an annus horribilis as the Queen of England once quipped. Unfortunately for Kluge, 2011 may be worse.

Last year, Kluge put her jewelry, furnishings, and even her clothes up for auction in a bid to stave off creditors. Yet in December, she and her husband, a one-time state wine leader, lost their 960-acre winery to foreclosure, crushing the couple’s dream of bringing high-quality Virginia wine to the national market.

Now, another auction looms. Albemarle House, the mansion where Patricia Kluge once entertained kings, princes, and U.S. presidents in haute grandeur, has been foreclosed upon.

"That house was built at a time when an inkling of that style existed," says architect Dav...

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Heat is on: AG says Biscuit Run deal under scrutiny

Recently disclosed details of the Biscuit Run state park deal have prompted more than public outrage–- they may have prompted an investigation into the transaction that some allege was a government bailout of wealthy investors at taxpayers' expense.

"I can tell you and therefore reassure the public that the Biscuit Run matter is being reviewed by appropriate parties," writes Brian Gottstein, spokesperson for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, in an email. "I cannot say any more than that without potentially compromising an investigation."

As reported in the Hook's January 6 cover story, "Bad Men? New numbers show spiraling costs of Biscuit Run," the owners sold the 1,200-acre property to the state for $9.8 million in December 2009. Several months later, the Virginia Department of Taxation issued $11.7 million in tax credits, more than doubling the price. The former owners–- who include developer Hunter Craig and music mogul Coran Capshaw–- have appealed to the state to issue millions more.

Meanwhile, the new governor–- a Republican who initially endorsed the deal–- now appears to be distancing himself from something arranged by his predecessor, Tim Kaine, who heads the D...

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Volunteer fear: Graduation rapist convicted of stalking activist

news-kitzeJeff Kitze served 20 years in prison for raping and beating of his sister's roommate the day after she graduated from UVA Law School. PHOTO CHARLOTTESVILLE POLICE

Since his release from prison two years ago for the infamous 1989 graduation rape, Jeffrey Kitze has had a hard time getting a date. Returned to prison last year for unwelcome dating overtures, he was found guilty Monday, January 10, of stalking a Charlottesville woman.

Singles are often told that volunteering is a good way to meet people, and that's the avenue Kitze tried following his January 2009 release after serving 20 years for raping and beating his sister's UVA Law School roommate. Kitze donated time to the Virginia Organizing Project, but it was the attention he lavished on a fellow volunteer at a group called Food Not Bombs that resulted in the stalking conviction.

Wearing prison stripes, Kitze, 49, did not testify during the three-and-a-half hour trial, but...

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No show: New charges, but Huguely murder hearing delayed again

cover-laxmurd-huguely-insetHuguely won a continuance Monday morning. UVA SPORTS, CPD

Reporters hoping to catch a glimpse of George Wesley Huguely V, the wealthy college lacrosse player who became a striped-jumpsuit-wearing inmate, were denied another opportunity on Monday, January 10, as his lawyer won a third continuance in the case in which Huguely is charged with slaying his ex-girlfriend.

"Judge, I can say that both sides have been moving with diligence," declared Huguely lawyer Fran Lawrence. "There's just a lot of stuff that's still out there."

Lawrence noted that the defense team, which also includes Rhonda Quagliana, has yet to examine about 20 of the approximately 112 items arrayed in the case against their client, a 23-year-old whose previous spurts of violence went unpublicized until he allegedly erupted last spring in a fatal rage.

On May 3 inside an apartment on 14th Street, Charlottesville...

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No bail: Abshire pleads poverty in first court appearance

cover-abshire-court-insetEric Abshire made his first court appearance Thursday in the Orange County Circuit Court. Inset: Abshire at a November 3, 2007 vigil for Justine. PHOTO BY COURTENEY STUART/INSET BY JAY KUHLMANN

After spending nearly three weeks behind bars, accused wife-killer Eric Abshire was forced to wait seven hours past his scheduled hearing time before he was led into the Orange County Circuit courtroom at around 5pm on Thursday, January 6 for his first appearance in what appears already on its way to becoming a lengthy legal process.

Wearing handcuffs, leg shackles, and the orange-and-white-striped uniform of the Central Virginia Regional Jail, where he has been held since his December 17 arrest on first degree murder and perjury charges, the 36-year-old Abshire painted a bleak picture of his finances as he asked Judge Daniel Bouton for a court-appointed attorney.

Standing erect and speaking in a steady tone, the former...

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