Wow. What a difference a year makes. Last summer, Gov. Bob McDonnell and his family were whopping it up at Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams’ $4 million mansion on Smith Mountain Lake. (Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and his family cavorted there, too).
Williams even let the McDonnell’s drive his Ferrari home to Richmond, which is arguably more fun than taking his Jet Ski out on the lake. Williams provided other gifts, too: a $6,500 Rolex for Gov. Bob, a Bergdorf shopping spree for Virginia’s First Lady, $25,000 for two McDonnell daughters weddings, and tens of thousand more in loans to bail out McDonnell’s financially beleaguered real estate company.
But Friday, the ultra-generous CEO told investors that his company was cooperating in a federal investigation of McDonnell. And that as a result he did not expect Star Scientific to get mired in any criminal charges.
What’s so interesting about this is how the McDonnell camp reacted. From The Virginian Pilot:
“Apparently, the U.S. government has given Star Scientific a free pass for unspecified misdeeds in return for the testimony of Jonnie Williams,” Rich Galen, a private communications consultant to McDonnell, said in an e-mail Saturday.
” . . . Governor Bob McDonnell has had an 37-year unblemished record of military and civilian government service. Jonnie Williams has been in trouble with government entities since the earliest days of his business career.”
Misdeeds? “In trouble with government entities since the earlier days of his business career?”
With those words, the McDonnell camp seems to hinting that Jonnie Williams has been a slimy operator for decades (Williams has never been charged with a crime).
It’s enough to cause you to wonder why the McDonnells (figuratively) got in bed with Williams in the first place, eh?