Reston Spring

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Statement of Terry Maynard, Co-Chair, Reston 20/20 Committee at Board of Supervisors Hearing on the Reston Road Tax

 Statement of
Terry Maynard, Co-Chair, Reston 20/20 Committee
re FCDOT’s Proposed Reston Station Area Transportation Service District Tax
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Public Hearing
February 28, 2017

Good afternoon.  I am Terry Maynard.  I reside at 2217 Wakerobin Lane in Reston.  I am speaking on behalf of the Reston 20/20 Committee.  

The Reston TSD road tax proposal you are considering is a sham based on erroneous assumptions, defective logic, and inaccurate official public statements. 

The greatest fiction in this tax scheme is the foundation assumption that Fairfax County faces a $350 million “funding gap” for improving Reston station area streets over four decades.  Of that so-called gap, FCDOT proposes that $139 million should be paid by a Transportation Service District (TSD) tax on Reston station area property owners.  That includes an estimated $40-$45 million on owned residences.  That’s about $1 million per year in added homeowner taxes in 2016 dollars.
In fact, there is no gap.  In making this assumption, FCDOT implicitly declares that Reston homeowners must be taxed because:

  • The County cannot move any current tax revenues in its $4 billion budget to improve Reston’s streets.  
  • The County can’t use any future station area property tax revenues to invest in Reston’s streets.
  • The County can never raise the rates on any county-wide taxes that would help generate billions in future tax revenues. 
To insist on these assumptions is an outright falsehood, and FCDOT and you know it.

Moreover, the idea that homeowners should pay a special tax to meet a basic infrastructure requirement is ludicrous.  How many of you pay a special annual tax for improvements in public streets or intersections near your homes?  The answer is “None.”  No, our public streets are a collective County asset, not the funding responsibility of neighborhood homeowners.

If logic were actually applied, it would dictate that only those who benefit financially from the street improvements would pay for them.   Two parties benefit:  Developers through profits averaging over $1 billion per year on their Reston station area development, and the County through some $11 billion in future station area property tax revenues. 

Moreover, if Reston’s developers can’t afford an added $1 million per year contribution to their road fund out of the $45 billion in profits they will likely earn in the next four decades, they really shouldn’t be in business in Reston.  

Worst of all, this scheme calls for 87% of homeowners’ future taxes to be spent on building streets on the grid’s periphery that will generate more traffic and would otherwise not be built because adjoining development would not be profitable.  From homeowners pockets to developer profits.  That’s not even happening in Tysons. 

Homeowners, on the other hand, will not earn an additional penny and, contrary to official statements, they will face more congested streets under the RNAG plan as a result of your decision to lower urban traffic service standards. 

In one line, this taxation scheme calls for Reston homeowners to pay more for less. 

Yet the County continues to flog the proposal with inaccurate and incomplete statements. 

  • It “assumes” that the proposed tax rate will remain flat, but this is a teaser rate that will escalate quickly.
  • It rejects the need to invest in any additional bus service despite the planned doubling of Reston station area population and jobs.
  • It fails to acknowledge that any “sunset provision” in the scheme could be easily eliminated by the Board.

This entire endeavor is political theater to legitimize a Board-driven effort to create another tax revenue stream.  If this is approved, you will likely use the same bogus approach to create comparable tax districts in the dozen or so other County re-development areas identified in last year’s zoning ordinance amendment. 

Stop the phony political theatrics to justify a dishonest scheme.  Manage County spending rather than creating deceitful gimmicks to add to Reston homeowners’ growing tax burden.  Stop this unjustified and unfair tax now.

Thank you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Official Board of Supervisors Agenda Item for Reston TSD Road Tax Hearing, 4:30PM, February 28, 2017, Government Center

Below is the official Board of Supervisors agenda text for the upcoming Board hearing on the proposed Reston Transportation Service District (TSD) road tax.  A couple of early observations:
  • There is no "sunset" clause provision terminating the tax after 40 years as stated in Supervisor Hudgins' February newsletter.  
  • The item "assumes" the initial $.021/$100 valuation will remain unchanged throughout the 40-year period.  
Here's the full text:
 4:30 p.m. Public hearing concerning consideration of a request to endorse a funding plan for transportation improvements related to the Reston Phase I Comprehensive Plan Amendment (Reston Transportation Funding Plan). The proposed Reston Transportation Funding Plan addresses the $2.27 billion (in 2016 dollars) need for transportation infrastructure improvements to support the land use recommendations in the Reston Phase I Comprehensive Plan Amendment. The proposed plan allocates roughly $1.2 billion of the improvements over 40 years from public funds–Federal, State, local, and regional funds that are anticipated for countywide transportation projects. It also recommends that approximately $1.07 billion of the cost for these improvements be raised from private fund– sources of revenue that are generated within the Reston Transit Station Areas (TSAs): Wiehle-Reston East, Reston Town Center, and Herndon Transit Station Area and used exclusively for transportation improvements in the Reston TSAs. These private revenues would include developer contributions through actual construction, a transportation road fund that would collect contributions from new developments in the Reston TSAs, and a transportation service tax district that would allow the Board to levy and collect an annual tax from all property owners in the Reston TSAs. The proposed Reston Transportation Funding Plan includes initial rates for the Road Fund and Service District. These proposed initial rates, however, are subject to Board approval. Specifically, the Board will take a separate action to approve the Road Fund Guidelines and, following a separate public hearing, create the Service District. The initial rates included in the proposed Transportation Funding Plan are as follows:  Road Fund:  Residential per Dwelling Unit Rate: $2,090 Commercial per Square Foot Rate: $9.56.  It is anticipated that these rates would be adjusted annually, based on inflation.  Service District: Rate per $100 of Assessed Value: $0.021.  The proposed funding plan assumes this rate would remain flat during the life of the service district; however, the actual rate would be adopted annually by the Board of Supervisors. Property outside the Reston TSAs would be unaffected by the service district. More information about the development of the Reston Transportation Funding Plan can be found here: Questions regarding this proposed amendment may be directed to the Fairfax County Department of Transportation at 703-877-5600.
 We have discussed the absurdity of a TSD tax on Reston station area homeowners as well as the underlying fraud behind this financing proposal.  If you agree with us that this tax proposal is unwarranted and unfair, please do one or all of the following:

Analysis and Comparison of 2010 and 2015 Appraisals of Tetra Property by Members of Mediaworld Team

Summary and Questions from Mediaworld Team Members about the RA Board Meeting at which the Board Decided to Buy Tetra, January 22, 2015

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Reston Recall files Official Conflict of Interest Complaint against RA Board's Eve Thompson

As shown in the document below, Ed Abbott, Reston Recall, has filed an official conflict of interest complaint against Eve Thompson for failing to fully disclose her personal interests in businesses in and around Lake Anne Village Center.  The complaint notes the specific failures and her continued participation in matters pertaining to LAVC, including the undisclosed relationship between herself and her husband who presented a request for RA financing of dock improvements at Lake Anne.  If the RA Board does not address Reston Recall's request in a satisfactory matter, Reston Recall has the right to appeal to the Virginia HOA ombudsman. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

RA's Tetra "Independent Review" Contract and Key Offers

Below we offer Restonians the full text of the "independent review" contract RA signed with StoneTurn Group and the first and final draft contract offers it made to Mediaworld.  Separately we have commented on some key substantive differences between the final Mediaworld draft and the agreement RA signed with StoneTurn Group highlighting how prejudicial the Mediaworld offer was.  If you compare the two Mediaworld contract offers, you will also find that the first offer was even more prejudicial than the final offer. 

Also, although there are few differences in the scope of the proposed contract between the several offerings, StoneTurn Group answers to questions at the community meeting  yesterday suggested that Restonians would not be satisfied with the result of the StoneTurn Group effort.

Although we have been having some difficulty with the comments section, we welcome your thoughts in the comments section below on these contract alternatives.  If you are having problems posting your comment, please send them as an e-mail to and we will post them.  



Reston 20/20 Statement to StoneTurn Group at the Tetra Review Community Meeting, Februrary 9, 2017

Statement of
Terry Maynard, Co-Chair, Reston 20/20 Committee
To the StoneTurn Group
Re the Independent Review of the Tetra Property Acquisition and Renovation
February 9, 2017

Good afternoon.  My name is Terry Maynard, 2217 Wakerobin Lane, and I have been a resident of Reston for more than three decades.   I am co-chair of the Reston 20/20 Committee, an informal committee of Restonians interested in sustaining Robert Simon’s vision for our beautiful planned community.   In other community roles, I have served as a member of the Reston Citizens Association Board of Directors and its representative on the Reston Master Plan Task Force.  

As Reston 20/20’s co-chair, I am here this afternoon to encourage you to pursue a vigorous investigation and comprehensive report on what we believe is the greatest leadership crisis in the history of the Reston Association.   Never have so many people in Reston’s leadership on the RA Board of Directors and among its senior staff behaved so unethically if not outright illegally, demonstrated such complete incompetence in analyzing and managing the finances of a single RA project, and used secrecy behind a legal fa├žade to protect the guilty while so neglecting the interests of the community. 

The challenge ahead of you to try to uncover, digest, analyze, and present to the Reston community, not just the Board, a report in just one month detailing all the errors and misdeeds that have been reported, much less a course of corrective action, is daunting.  Still, the community needs you to detail the who, how, when, and why of all these events or we will continue to be ill-served.  A simple set of process improvement recommendations will be inadequate and a further waste of RA members’ money on the Tetra fiasco.  Moreover, your process recommendations will quite likely be ignored by the Board of Directors and RA staff in the end.

Reston 20/20 has been at the forefront of the effort to prevent and expose the ongoing fiasco dating back to at least April 2015.  Our blog has more than 40 posts about the evolving Tetra morass ranging from analyses during the referendum period of the financial hole it has now put the community in to RA’s prejudicial negotiations with Mediaworld for the independent review contract you now have.   Most of it is original; some of it we re-posted from other sources, including our op-eds that have appeared in RestonNow and the Reston Connection.  And we have testified before the RA Board and at its community meetings during the referendum period. 

I look forward to discussing any and all of our work with you at your convenience.  You will find in reading our products and in our discussions that we try to document our methods as well as our results, including any assumptions that we may have made, wherever we can.  Nonetheless, our analyses are based on publicly available information—including information we have requested and received from RA—and, as a result, are necessarily more limited than we would like.   

To get you started in looking at what we have done, I am giving you a selection of posts from the Reston 20/20 that shows a bit of the range of work we have done on the issues surrounding Tetra.  I hope you come to understand, challenge, and report on these issues and others.  Maybe most importantly, it includes a paper identifying the eight key issues that we believe ought to be addressed in your effort.  This issue paper was included in the RFP you received.  We think it should be the foundation document for your investigation and report. 

You have a challenging task ahead that is of vital importance to the good governance of our community.  I wish you the best in your efforts and offer to sit down to discuss the Tetra matter with you at your convenience. 

Thank you for your time and good luck. 

Attachments (in chronological order):

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Prospects for a thorough Tetra independent review don't look good after this afternoon's community meeting.

UPDATED:  We have included the video of the two-hour meeting at the end of this post.

This afternoon (and continuing through this evening), RA and its Tetra Review Committee held a community forum to provide StoneTurn Group (STG) community inputs about the continuing Tetra financial fiasco as a part of its just-initiated independent review.  STG was represented by Deidre Flaherty, a founding partner at STG.  Also at the table were Mike Sanio, VP, RA Board, and Eric Carr, Chairman of the Tetra Review Committee (but not a member of the Board).  

The meeting was lively, sometimes intense, and probably much different than STG was expecting.  The community members all agreed that they loved Reston and usually respected RA, but argued that the Tetra affair was terrible.  At the most general level, the 40 or so Restonians there clearly displayed the high level of distrust the community holds for the RA Board and its handling of the Tetra acquisition and renovation.  While VP Sanio repeatedly noted that the Board also wanted to understand what went wrong and correct processes to prevent the mistakes from happening in the future, community members highlighted that the Board and RA staff caused all the specific problems, that it was forced to take on the independent review by the community, and that the Board controlled the "independent review" process, including offering only a prejudicial contract to Mediaworld which would have done the work for one dollar.

Almost every Restonian who spoke challenged RA's handling of the Tetra affair and, more specifically, was skeptical that STG could pull of the kind of independent review the community (vice the Board) expected within the 19 days (February 28, 2017) and $45,000 budget allowed to investigate, analyze, draft, review, and publish a meaningful investigative product on the topic.  Flaherty was repeatedly challenged on how STG intended to provide a comprehensive report and, in particular, expressed concern that RA would extend the contract and add to its contract cost under this time and materials contract.

Answers by Flaherty to several questions from resident Ed Abbott, chairman of the Reston Recall Committee, concerning the scope of STG's work were not reassuring.  Specifically
  • Flaherty stated it was not STG's intention to identify people who were responsible for the financial and management disaster so they could be held accountable. 
  • In response to another question, Flaherty did not know if STG would make public the details of RA Board discussions held in Executive Session.  Sanio noted that STG would have access to anyone they wanted, but Richard Chew--a former RA Board member--pointed that Board members may not disclose the substance of Executive Sessions, even after they have left the Board.
  • Flaherty also said that STG would not be looking for conflicts of interest (COI), but would report them to her two points of contact (Sanio and Carr) if they were discovered in the course of their work.
  • Similarly, Flaherty stated that STG would not pursue violations of Virginia law, including the Property Owners Association Act, but would inform Sanio and Carr if they discovered any.  Carr noted that he would report any allegations of illegal activity reported to him.
Partially in response to these acknowledgements, Sanio read the statement of work deliverables which suggest that some of these concerns may be addressed.  Here is the text of contract's statement of deliverables:
1) reviewing the accuracy of budgets and other information provided in the referendum for the Tetra/Lake House Project by the Association to its members and the Board, as well as the process utilized to prepare those documents;
3) making such recommendations for revising, modifying and/or supplementing the processes, internal controls and governance procedures of the Association to ensure future large-scale projects are (a) accurately budgeted and (b) conducted in accordance with best generally accepted principles and practices for similarly situated not-for-profit organizations.
Restonians present at the meeting were not very encouraged by these contract requirements, several speakers noting Restonians need to know the who, what, how, and why of the many bad decisions made in the Tetra purchase and renovation process.

From the two hours of discussion we attended, it appears that RA members can expect little more than some process and procedure improvement proposals from STG as called for in its third task.  Many suggested that this would be just additional waste of money on a project that has already cost Restonians millions of dollars. 

In case the embedded version disappears again, here is the link to the video on

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The StoneTurn Group Tetra review contract is significantly less prejudicial than RA's final offer to Mediaworld.

A review of the last contract RA offered Mediaworld LLC to conduct a review of the Tetra fiasco shows that, in several cases, it is much more demanding and/or prejudicial than the contract it subsequently signed with the StoneTurn Group, which is now conducting the review.  Below we identify the key substantive differences between the two contracts (excluding the obvious financial and consultant vs. independent contractor distinctions) so that Restonians can see for themselves how prejudicial the deliberations with Mediaworld were.

All together, what this comparison highlights is that RA did not deal in good faith with Mediaworld in its negotiations.  It demanded a contract so restrictive and potentially costly to Mediaworld team members that that it expected Mediaworld to refuse to sign it.  That is eventually what happened.  

(The paragraph references listed below are the requirements of the Mediaworld contract draft unless otherwise specified.)

Para. 3.1(c):  This paragraph may be one of the most important in the Mediaworld draft.  It has no counterpart in the StoneTurn contract.  Specifically, it calls for Mediaworld's team members to each sign a confidentiality agreement as follows:
The Consultant shall ensure that all Consultant Team Members, including any replacements or additions to the Consultant Team Members, who perform any  Services under this Agreement adhere to all of the provisions of this Agreement as if such provisions were expressly binding upon each such Consultant Team Member, individually, and shall require that all Consultant Team Members, including any replacements or additions consistent with Section 3 Paragraph 3.4, infra, execute the Confidentiality  Agreement set forth as Schedule B attached hereto and return the executed  Confidentiality Agreement prior to the initiation of any work under this Agreement, which Confidentiality  Agreement shall become a part of this Agreement.
There is no Confidentiality Agreement requirement at all in the StoneTurn Group contract.  We have included Schedule B from the Mediaworld contract to show what RA expected the Mediaworld team members to sign.

Para. 4.2:  This paragraph admonishes Mediaworld not to share any Confidential Information with third parties.  Again, no such paragraph exists in the StoneTurn Group contract.
Certain Acknowledgements and Agreements.  Consultant and Consultant Team Members shall not disclose to any third party any Confidential Information of the Association obtained by Consultant in the course of performing the consulting services.  The Consultant may, as appropriate and necessary, use Confidential Information in their review, research and in preparation of their draft and final report to the Association.  Neither Consultant nor Consultant Team Members shall use to his own advantage, or to the advantage of any other person or entity, any Confidential Information gained from the files or business or employees of the Association.
Para. 5:  This paragraph addresses ownership of the Mediaworld product, stating that it belongs to RA.  In part, it addresses a concern raised in earlier drafts of the Mediaworld contract in which RA claimed to own the "work products" (notes, e-mails, etc.) developed in the course of the contract.  (For more on this dispute, see the Reston 20/20 notes on the December 7 special meeting of the RA Board to address contract issues between Mediaworld and RA.)  No such claim is made in any shape or form in the StoneTurn Group contract.

5.1       Property of the Association.  All  deliverables, including the draft and final reports of the Consultant are the sole and exclusive property of the Association.  The Consultant hereby assigns to the Association all of the Consultant’s right, title and interest in and to all of the Deliverables, including the draft and final report.  The Consultant further represents that, to the best of the Consultant’s knowledge and belief, none of the Deliverables shall violate or infringe upon any right, patent, copyright, trademark or right of privacy, or constitute libel or slander against or violate any other rights of any person, firm or corporation, and that the Consultant shall use the Consultant’s best efforts to prevent any such violation.
5.2       Property of the Consultant and Consultant Team Members:  All work products, records, notes, e-mails and documents prepared or created by the Consultant and Consultant Team shall be and remain the property of the Consultant and subject to the confidentiality provisions contained in Section 4.
Para 10.11:  This paragraph requires Mediaworld to pay liquidated damages of $2,000 per breach or threatened breach of various terms and conditions in the contract as determined by RA.  The analogous paragraph in the StoneTurn Group contract (para. 9.11) calls for injunctive relief as determined by a court.  Here are the two paragraphs side-by-side:
10.11   Liquidated Damages.  The Consultant hereby expressly acknowledges that any breach or threatened breach of any of the terms and/or conditions set forth in Section 4 or 5 of this Agreement shall result in substantial, continuing and irreparable injury to the Association.  Therefore, in addition to any other remedy that may be available to the Association, in the event of a breach of Section 4 or 5 of this Agreement by either Consultant or Consultant’s Team, Consultant shall pay Liquidated Damages to the Association in the amount of Two Thousand Dollars per breach.  Such Liquidated Damages shall be deemed to be a genuine pre-estimate of the foreseeable damages incurred by the Association due to breach and shall be Association’s sole recourse for late breach of Sections 4 and 5 of the Agreement.
StoneTurn Group:
9.11 Injunctive Relief. The Consultant hereby expressly acknowledges that any breach or threatened breach of any of the terms and/or conditions set forth in Section 4 or 5 of this Agreement shall result in substantial, continuing and irreparable injury to the Association. Therefore, in addition to any other remedy that may be available to the Association, the Association shall be entitled to injunctive or other equitable relief by a court of appropriate jurisdiction in the event of any breach or threatened breach of the terms of Section 4 or 5 of this Agreement. The period during which the covenants contained in Section 4 shall apply shall be extended by any periods during which the Consultant is found by a court to have been in violation of such covenants.
Statement of Work, Para. 1:  The Mediaworld draft contract limits its access to people for interviews, including a specified list of individuals in Schedule C of the draft contract.  Given the terms of the contract, it is likely Mediaworld would have had to negotiate an amendment to the contract to interview anyone else or be found in violation of its terms.  In contrast, StoneTurn Group is not  constrained in any way, including meeting members of the community (such as Reston 20/20).  Again, we present the two contrasting paragraphs for your information.
The Consultant will conduct interviews with certain Association staff, Board members, committee members, and the contractors substantially involved in the Tetra/Lake House Project as designated and set forth in Schedule C to this Agreement.
StoneTurn Group
The Consultant will conduct interviews with all Association staff, Board members,
committee members, and other third parties substantially involved in the Tetra/Lake House Project as well any other individuals (including members of the Reston community), as the Consultant deems necessary and appropriate.
Schedule B:  This is the Confidentiality Agreement that each member of the Mediaworld team would have been required to sign, holding them "jointly and severally" responsible for any confidentiality breaches as determined by RA.  There is no such schedule and no similar language in the StoneTurn Group contract.



The undersigned, ______________________________an individual, (Undersigned Individual) as a material inducement for Mediaworld Ventures, LLC (the “Consultant”), to submit the undersigned’s name and resume as a Consultant Team Member pursuant to the Consulting Agreement (the “Consulting Agreement”), between RESTON ASSOCIATION  (“Association”) and the Consultant, does acknowledging said Consulting Agreement and agrees to be specifically bound by  and specifically agrees to comply with Sections 4 and 5 of the Consulting Agreement, which Sections are attached hereto as Exhibit A and incorporated by reference herein. 

The undersigned individual acknowledges and agrees as follows:  (a) that the undersigned is being granted the privilege and being permitted to perform services for Consultant and will be working on a contract project for which Consultant has been hired by the Association; and (b) that while the Consultant and the undersigned, as a Consultant Team Member, performs services under the Agreement, the Association shall furnish, disclose or make available to the Consultant and the undersigned Confidential Information (as such term is defined in the Section 4 of the Agreement) related to the business of the Association; and (c)  the undersigned will receive the benefit of providing valuable assistance to the Consultant by providing his or her knowledge and expertise to the Association in evaluating the operations of the Association and that the opportunity  is adequate and sufficient consideration for the undersigned’s agreement to join in and be bound with the Consultant to the same confidentiality provisions as the Consultant in Section 4 of the Agreement, which undersigned hereby acknowledges, and agrees to be bound by; and (d) the undersigned has consulted with, or has had the opportunity to consult with, independent, legal counsel regarding the undersigned’s rights and obligations under the Agreement and this Confidentiality Agreement and that the undersigned fully understands the Confidentiality Agreement’s intent, purpose and terms..

The undersigned individual during the term of the Consulting Agreement and this Confidentiality Agreement, and at all times thereafter, agrees that he or she will not disclose to others outside of the Board of Directors of the Reston Association or the Tetra/Lake House Committee, use for his or her own benefit, or otherwise appropriate or copy any Confidential information, except as otherwise provided in Section 4 and 5 of the Consulting Agreement.  In addition, the Undersigned Individual further agrees to retain in the strictest confidence any Confidential Information he or she learns in performing work for the Consultant unless and until such information has been made generally available other than by breach of the Agreement.    

            IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties intending to be legally bound, have set their signature and seal and executed this Confidentiality Agreement as of December ___, 2016.

                                                                                     Undersigned Individual

                                                                                    Mediaworld, Ventures, LLC

                                                                                    RESTON ASSOCIATION

Schedule C:  This schedule identifies the people Mediaworld may interview in fulfilling its contract.  As noted above, StoneTurn Group is unconstrained in whom it may interview in carrying out the contract.


List of Persons Identified By Consultant To Be Interviewed

1) Cate Fulkerson;
2) Larry Butler;
3) Robert Wood;
4) Other  Reston Association Staff, as requested;
5) Current Board of Directors members;
6) Ken Knueven;
7) David Harris;
8) Companies which conducted the two (2) Appraisals on the Lake House Property;
9) General Contractor which performed the renovations of the Lake House Property;
10) Land Use Counsel for the Association;
11) General Counsel for the Association.
12) The Design Firm utilized to develop plans for the renovations of the Lake House Property.

The Association will use its best efforts to make available the Board members and current staff in the list above, pursuant to an agreed upon schedule by which the interviews will be conducted.  The Association will assist but will not be responsible for whether or not interviews will or can be conducted with former Board members or former Association employees. The Association will also provide space for the interviews to be conducted, presumably, unless otherwise specified at the time, at the Association’s offices.  Consultant will use it best efforts to conduct any interviews, especially of Bpard members and employees of the Association at the Association’s offices.  Consultant will use its best efforts to coordinate the interviews in such a way as to minimize the impact of these interviews on the Association’s Board members and staff, including but not limited to insuring that the Consultant and Consultant’s Team Members, as necessary and required, are aware of the schedule of interviews and coordinate their schedules as necessary to be there for the designated dates and times of interviews to avoid the necessity of duplication of efforts.