Ahead of his July court date, a chef charged with embezzling from Virginia’s Executive Mansion in a recent Richmond Circuit Court filing requested information on his payment for catering services and about Gov. Bob McDonnell‘s family use of state goods.
The motion from chef Todd Schneider of Sarasota, Fla., provides insight into his possible defense against the four felony counts he faces as well as the potential for the exposure at trial of details about McDonnell’s family life in the state residence.
His requests seeks information about instances when Schneider submitted a payment invoice that was denied, went unreimbursed for services rendered, or “was told to pay himself or his catering company by ‘taking it out in trade,’ ‘the usual way,’ or in any other way.”
And it inquires about “state goods and resources that were consumed, provided to, or taken by family members of Robert and Maureen McDonnell.”
That section of the motion mentions several McDonnell children, cites specific episodes when they allegedly enjoyed real and perishable state property, and asks for information about gifts to the governor or his family from Star Scientific Inc. chief executive Jonnie Williams.
McDonnell’s connections to Williams have come under scrutiny in the wake of media reports revealing Williams spent $15,000 to cover catering costs at the June 2011 wedding of one of McDonnell’s daughters at the Executive Mansion.
Williams has given campaign contributions and other gifts to McDonnell, as well as Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who until recently was a shareholder in Star Scientific, a company suing the state over a disputed $700,000 tax bill.
The company is also the subject of a federal securities investigation.
Schneider, 52, last month turned himself in to Virginia State Police after a grand jury indicted him on embezzlement charges.
He was released on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond.
The chef joined the governor’s staff in April 2010, earning a $60,000 annual salary as executive chef until he left McDonnell’s employ in March 2012 after being placed on paid administrative leave in February of that year.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin Tuesday said declined comment other than to say the “motions made by a defendant in a pending criminal proceeding will be addressed by the appropriate authorities in court.”
Schneider’s attorney, Steven D. Benjamin of Richmond, also declined comment when contacted about the motion.
-Julian Walker, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot