Arrest of Son Adds to Gov. McDonnell's List of Personal Problems

Wednesday, 10 Jul 2013 02:53 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's 21-year-old son was charged with public intoxication last weekend, police say.

The Saturday morning arrest of Sean McDonnell, a senior this fall at the University of Virginia, is the latest in a growing series of personal and legal problems for the Old Dominion State's Republican governor.

Sources told The Washington Post a "prominent political donor" gave $70,000 to a corporation owned by McDonnell and his sister last year — money the governor did not disclose as a gift or loan.

The donor, Jonnie Williams Sr., CEO of dietary supplement maker Star Scientific, also allegedly gave a $50,000 check to the governor's wife, Maureen, two years ago, according to the Post's sources.

The same sources told the Post that Williams allegedly gave a $10,000 check to McDonnell's eldest daughter, Jeanine, to help pay for her wedding last May.

The newspaper says the McDonnells are already under scrutiny for taking $15,000 from Williams for the catering of the 2011 wedding of another daughter, Cailin.

The payments were made as "McDonnell and his wife took steps to promote the donor's company and its products," the Post reports.

A spokesman for McDonnell would not comment on the payments, but said the governor had filled out legally mandated disclosure forms, according to the newspaper.

According to Virginia law, gifts valued at more than $50 must be declared, but gifts to family members are exempt.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch, which first reported the arrest of Sean McDonnell, said he was released without bail and must appear for a hearing in Charlottesville General District Court on Aug. 12.

A McDonnell spokesman told the Times-Dispatch the arrest was "a personal matter."

"This is a personal matter and is being addressed by the family," McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin said.

The Washington Post said the arrest came a day after the governor reimbursed the state about $2,400 for food and other items that Sean, his twin brother Bobby, and their sister Rachel, removed from the governor's mansion to take to their college dorms.

Last month, the Post said GOP Virginia Delegate David Ramadan had been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury as part of a federal and state probe into McDonnell's relationship with Williams.

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