DC Area Media Are Failing The Citizens Of Warren County On Embezzlement Scandal

It's being called 'The Largest Embezzlement Scandal in Virginia History', yet no one is accurately reporting on it

It was two days ago when the message arrived in my inbox from Bria Lloyd, a journalist with WDVM, in Maryland.  Much like everyone else, she claims to be investigating the $21 million embezzlement and corruption scandal, in Warren County, Virginia, that has led to the felony arrest of former Warren County EDA Director, Jennifer McDonald, the suicide of Sheriff McEathron, with Mayor Hollis Tharpe resigning, in the middle of it all, after being charged with soliciting a prostitute.  In short, the entire affair is a Dateline NBC investigation waiting to happen.  

After watching Bria Lloyd's reporting, I noted some inaccuracies in the news piece she'd published, leading me to contact her so as to correct the record.  It was my organization, SuperfundResearch.org, that originally investigated the EDA scandal and published, over two years ago.  I'm the only person involved in the affair who knows the entire story, including information that hasn't been published. 

When news of the $17 million lawsuit, in Warren County, hit the stands, the revelations triggered many citizens to contact me and point out, "You were light years ahead of them all," which is not the first time this has happened, during my career.  

Previously, my organization investigated and nationally published the first ever article about the EPA's controversial Superfund Project - the 1,300+ massive toxic waste sites, in the US, that the EPA is not cleaning up - shortly thereafter followed by Nat Geo and Time Magazine.  A year earlier, I'd blown the whistle on the corruption at the Region 5 EPA that later led to the Flint Water Crisis.  In both cases, journalists subsequently buried my involvement, virtually erasing me from the history books.  

This is my lot in life, apparently, but I'm used to it.  I've consistently, for the last seven years, been years ahead of the media, on what now amounts to no less than a half a dozen massive incidents I have investigated and published, not because I have some form of gifted clarivoiance but because I know my business and I know it well. 

One look at the content of this media outlet and a reader will find many examples of original reporting on previously unpublished subjects, from the poisonous algea in Utah Lake to the existence of the Morris Operation, the nation's only permanent storage facilty for high-level, transuranic, radioactive waste from nuclear power plants.  

In fact, I started this media outlet for the sole reason of publishing news stories that local and national media refuse to publish, after becoming tired of begging no less than thousands of journalists, across the country, to write about important environmental issues.  

As with what usually happens, when the scandal broke in Warren County, about six weeks ago, I was unaware of what had occurred until citizens started filling my inbox with messages, "You were right!"  Since being hilariously vindicated is a phenominon that erupts in my life, at least once a year, I said to myself, "Here we go, again."  This time I had no illusions that the media in DC, Virginia, and Maryland would step up and correct the record, since every local media outlet in Warren County is now burying my original work.   

My father was a police officer.  He often told me, "cops don't do other cops," expressing that police officers will generally not report another officer who is violating the law.  The same concept is hard at work in the field of journalism, as well as every other walk of life, so when one asks a journalist to correct the false reporting of another journalist, they will not "do" one of their own, leaving the victim of false or suppressed news reports with nowhere to turn.  

The facts are that I am living proof that the Front Royal Town Council, the Mayor, The Board of Supervisors, The Warren County Sheriff's Department, the local FBI, the local media and the citizens knew that the IT Federal Deal was a massive and complex fraud scheme.  I can easily prove these statements, as well as can anyone else, since my name is mentioned so extensively throughout the now released Front Royal Police interviews with McDonald and her cohorts.  

Local media outlet, Royal Examiner. released the police interviews, filled with false allegations about me, but did not correct the record, rather dumping a web of lies into the public and leaving me to contend with the results, even though the town and media should have redacted my name.  This is in keeping with the four previous false news artcles Royal Examiner published about me, causing intense damage to my professional career, articles that have never been updated since it was proven I was right.  

Northern Virginia Daily has taken another route, simply removing my involvement in the scandal from their reporting.  While false news can be corrected, media suppression is even worse because it has the effect of changing history and cannot be corrected.  These media outlets are removing my involvement in the McDonald affair because if they admit I exist, then they also admit that for the last two years they were aware and did nothing, essentially making them indirect accomplices to McDonald's crimes.  

In her message, Bria Lloyd asked me to contact her via e-mail.  I sent her my number and told her I would send more information over the weekend, so she would have some background.  On Sunday, I started sending some of the backround; some of my history, evidence of false news articles, and statements about what the local media was doing to my national career.  

All of the sudden I was blocked from writing to WDVM, with no explanation, as soon as they realized that part of my story would expose the corruption of other journalists, along with the fact that my story confirms that WDVM's previous reporting was now brought into question.  

Since my name was mentioned so many times in the police interviews, it would be hard for any journalist to cover the story without contacting me.  Nor, would it be easy for them to claim they weren't aware of my previous efforts, in 2017.  The result of the media's failure to report on my activities now means that yet another media outlet is publishing only part of the story, with the result of protecting numerous guilty parties, including local media outlets who spent years covering for McDonald.  

As this is happening, I am recieving hundreds of messages from citizens who are asking me to come back to Virginia to "do the job the other journalists aren't doing." Of course, I'd love to stand up and fight for these people, but the last time I tried - as the police interviews showed - the local leadership tried to frame me for a crime, as well as caused me to become the victim of repeated death threats and vandalism to my home and vehicles, eventually ending with being viciously and illegally chased out of my cabin, something people connected to McDonald stated was an effort to "chase the annoying pest out of Warren County."  

Of course, the matter was never investigated, as it turned out that the Sheriff in charge of investigating what happened to me was Jennifer McDonald's business partner, who later shot himself when he was exposed.  If did return to the area, at the request of the citizens, I would become a victim of relatiation, once again, and no media outlet for a hundred miles would step up to defend me.  I'd be left baren and naked, vulnerable to any baseless attack, which is a direct symptom of the lack of courage in the regional media and their willinness to protect their own kind.  

Even the Virginia State Police, who are more than aware of my involvement and communicated with me for over six months, have removed me from the investigation. My work is not only being buried by the media, it's being buried by the agencies investigating the affair, with the net result being that the citizens of Warren County will never get the full story about what happened and the officials and media who conspired with McDonald, either directly or indirectly, will never be held accountable.  

Over the last month and a half, I've written to numerous media outlets in the DC area, from NBC Washington to WDVM, asking them to contact me and listen to a piece of the history that is not being published, a key piece of the McDonald story.  It's not that they have contacted me and learned my story isn't true, it's that thus far, no one has bothered to speak to me or look at any evidence.  For how could WDVM - or any other media outlet, for that matter - deem my information to not be relevent without speaking to me, first, and looking at the evidence?

I'd written to several publicists in Washington DC, hoping to hire them to help advocate for me, but none of them write back to me, either.  As usual, the media status quo is protecting itself, just as it did in Warren County, as Jennifer McDonald, and everyone else, bilked the tax payers for tens of millions of dollars.  

As the Bria Lloyd saga winds down - she's not going to publish any corrections of her original story and WDVM doesn't care if their reporting is false - I received yet another message from another Warren County citizen asking me if there is one comprehensive resource for the EDA scandal, to which I could only respond, "No, there is not one single organization out there is that is telling the entire story and there never will be as long as my work is erased from history. I'm sorry."

We reached out to WDVM and Bria Lloyd for commentary on this Op-ed.  They did not respond.  Since this article was published, Bria Lloyd,has banned me from her Facebook Fan Page and removed my polite comments correcting the record. 

 


Matthew Berdyck is an experimental filmmaker, activist, musician, and US travel expert who has traveled 600,000 miles to over 2,500 cities, most notably known for his national environmental campaigns. His writing pieces on the subject of toxic waste have been read by millions of people in The United States. He is the founder of SuperfundResearch.org, an environmental activism and EPA watch dog group.  He founded Daily Independent Journal, in 2019, to expose the sordid underbelly of reality.