Financial Ties with Dunbar Prompt Call for Chairman Sayre’s Resignation

By James Harrison

Last week, controversy erupted after newly-filed ethics disclosures showed House Candidate Cynthia Dunbar on the payroll of Sayre Enterprises, the company owned and run by embattled Sixth District GOP Chairman Scott Sayre.

Sayre faced accusations he violated RPV party rules in withholding delegate lists from his opponents and may have preferentially given them to Dunbar’s campaign – a charge he initially refused to deny five times, which culminated in a joint statement by Dunbar’s opponents. This comes following earlier accusations that Sayre rigged the nominating process to benefit Dunbar, an action which was overruled last weekend by RPV’s State Central Committee.

Now, those ethical entanglements have prompted his opponent, Jennifer Brown, to call for Sayre’s resignation.

Brown wrote in a statement:

“The fact that Ms. Dunbar was on Scott Sayre’s payroll is a conflict of interest which should have been disclosed under the RPV Party Plan — specifically Article VII. We have rules in place for a reason. Voting members of our official committees are required to conduct the business of the Party in good faith, with reasonable care, and diligence. In this instance, we have a Party leader who has shown time and time again that he is squarely behind Ms. Dunbar. This conflict of interest should have been disclosed in writing per the Party Plan. If we cannot trust him to follow RPV ethics rules, how can we trust him to run a fair convention? Mr. Sayre needs to resign.”

Graham Moomaw with the Richmond Times-Dispatch also weighed in with coverage of some of the ongoing controversies, including the financial ties first reported by Bearing Drift last week.

As things stand now, Sayre has not released the delegate lists, despite continued pressure from other candidates who continue to allege that Sayre has given other candidates the lists, putting them at a disadvantage.

Dunbar, meanwhile, faces a fresh round of criticism after she issued a vague and evasive statement which failed to disclose the amount she was paid by Sayre Enterprises or what specifically she did to earn the money. The financial disclosure form simply listed “research and development” as her role, which does not provide any real insight into what role she, as an attorney, played at Sayre’s manufacturing firm.

The convention itself will go forward without the rule-breaking plurality vote threshold removed by SCC over the weekend, though supporters of Sayre and Dunbar are expected to re-introduce it on the convention floor.

Perhaps the clearest summation of this saga was given by Mike Troxel, who won the weekend’s appeal removing the prohibited plurality language, in an interview with the Times-Dispatch.

“It’s almost like the swamp drained itself out of D.C. and right into the Shenandoah Valley,” said Troxel.

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