Has Pete Candland Corrupted Ice Cream?

The short answer is “No.” Here at the Muckraker too many of us like ice cream too much to think it’s even possible to corrupt it. That doesn’t mean, however, that Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland hasn’t tried.

Our early readers will remember that back on April 18 we reported on Candland’s apparent unresolved conflicts of interest involving the firm QBE. In summary:

(1) Candland participated in Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) discussions and votes involving QBE, who purchased the building and 9 acres associated with the old Pace West Alternative School, and then leased the use of the fields on the property back to the county.

(2) Some people considered these transactions to be sweetheart deals for QBE, alleging that QBE got the property at a cut-rate price by making representations about perpetual restrictions on its use. QBE purchased the property for $1.4 million even though when QBE made its offer the property was assessed at more than $5 million and in the year the deal closed at $2.76 million. These offered perpetual use restrictions did not, however, make their way into the final legal transaction. Thus, it’s alleged, QBE paid a substantially lower purchase price because of perpetual use restrictions it did not implement, and whose absence will now enable QBE to sell the property for a much higher price.

(3) The County then leased back fields from QBE. These fields were then essentially allocated for the exclusive use of a sports league of which Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland is a member.

(4) At the time these deals were discussed and voted on by the BOCS and QBE, the CEO of QBE was (and continues to be) a person named Shawn Landry. At the same time, Landry was the president of Rise Up Prince William, which Landry described to the press as a nonprofit that he “and some of Candland’s other constituents formed to support Candland’s ongoing community service efforts.” As the Muckraker reported in April, a review of legal documents show that those “other constituents” consisted exclusively of Mac Haddow and Pete Candland’s father-in-law.

(5) From what we have been able to find thus far, Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland never recused himself from the discussions or votes involving QBE, nor even disclosed to fellow board members and the public that QBE CEO Shawn Landry was president of an organization that was supporting Candland’s efforts while Candland was voting in favor of QBE transactions. (If anyone has evidence to the contrary about disclosure or recusal by Candland on this, please send it to us at info@princewilliammuckraker.com. This is an important point, and we have tried to confirm it, but it is much harder to prove something didn’t happen then that it did, so we are more than willing to review evidence showing that Candland did recuse himself or at the very least disclose the conflict of interest.)

(6) Approximately 5 months after the last transaction involving QBE, Shawn Landry announced that QBE was hiring Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland as QBE’s Executive Vice President.

As far as we can tell, there is nothing illegal in all of this (although that would not be the case if it could be proven that Candland and Landry had conversations about Candland coming on board at QBE before Candland’s votes on the QBE transactions). In true Haddow-Candland cabal fashion, when not breaking the law, they fondly go right up to its boundary or bend it, if possible. Just as importantly, however, is that regardless of its legality, at the very least, in the absence of disclosure and recusal these transactions involving Candland and QBE fly dramatically in the face of Candland’s self-righteous public moralizing on transparency, accountability and public ethics.

What we completely missed at the time we first wrote on all this was yet another transaction involving Pete Candland, Shawn Landry, and the QBE property. A couple of days after our April 18 post, the Prince William Times reported that less than a month earlier Candland had announced on Facebook that he would be opening up an ice cream shop business called “Cookies & Cream” on the QBE property.

Now we’re all in favor of desirable new businesses opening in Prince William County. But here’s a situation where the sitting Gainesville Supervisor participates in sweetheart deals involving the county and a private business that is owned by a person who is running a nonprofit that “supports” that Supervisor’s “efforts.” Then, after those sweetheart deals for the business close with the county, the business hires the Gainesville Supervisor as its Executive Vice Presdient. Then, the Gainesville Supervisor also starts a new business of his own on that company’s property.

There are a number of dessert establishments in Haymarket, including Pickle Bob’s and Cupcake Heaven, who presumably pay market rates for their space. Now they’ll find themselves competing with a business owned by Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland that has essentially been subsidized by the county taxpayer through the sweetheart deals that QBE entered into with the County. Deals that this same Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland participated in while a Supervisor. Deals that this same Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland participated in while the CEO of QBE was running an organization that “supports” that Supervisor’s “efforts.” Deals that we believe ultimately led to Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland being hired as QBE’s Executive Vice President.

As much as we like ice cream, this ice cream leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The only question we have now is this. With a lucrative job as Executive Vice President of QBE, with getting paid more than $40,000 a year by the taxpayer for being Gainesville Supervisor, with having enough money to open a presumably profitable ice cream shop, is it possible that Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland will finally stop requiring the taxpayer to reimburse him for his lunches or for his trips of 4 miles? Or will we instead now be paying for him to eat lunch at Cookies & Cream?

[Editors Note: We corrected a few typos in the first draft of this post, involving a confusing reference to Pete Candland’s hiring date which was supposed to be a reference to our post and his Facebook post, and several times where we referred to Candland as CEO or Executive Director instead of Executive Vice President.]


15 comments on “Has Pete Candland Corrupted Ice Cream?

  1. -

    I really can’t believe at least one of the local papers hasn’t done a story on the potential conflicts of interest involving Candland and QBE. The public should know about these relationships.

  2. -

    I was thinking the exact same thing as you Muckraker. If he’s got money to open an ice cream business then why are we paying for $10 lunches a couple blocks from his house or for his mileage to a charity event he’s running. Damn sure better not make us reimburse him for so much as one scoop at Cookies & Cream!

  3. -

    When Candland asked me to vote for him so he could bring prosperity to the western end, I didn’t realize that he was going to take my prosperity and put it in his pocket. Shameful.

  4. -

    I can’t believe that Candland would think it’s okay to vote positively on selling a property below market to a business that then hires him and then, in addition, lets him open up a business on said property. That just stinks to high heaven and is up there with a former supervisor’s donation to his wife’s charity. Didn’t take long for Candland to become corrupted, did it?

  5. -

    Wow. I can’t wait for the election cycle. Pete is gonna have a hard time getting re elected with haddow anywhere near him.
    Whoever runs against him is sure to win.

  6. -

    Does the county pay for Candland’s health care? If yes, then why isn’t QBE paying it?

  7. -

    Here’s the board action on the lease agreement showing that Candland voted on it and you’ll see if you watch the tape that he didn’t recuse himself or disclose anything about QBE, Rise Up Prince William or Shawn Landry.

    LeaseFields1” width=


  8. -

    I was surprised you didn’t comment on this when you first wrote on it back in April. I thought it was hilarious that only a couple of days after you reported on the QBE/Rise Up Prince William connection the Prince William Times wrote an article about Candland opening an ice cream shop there. Keep up the good work.

  9. -

    How does Candland possibly justify throwing rocks about county supervisors voting to send money to nonprofit service organizations where their relatives volunteer but has no problem at all voting on sweetheart deals for friends that run organizations devoted to him where he then gets to line his own pockets by getting a job with them and running a business on the county property he voted on? He’s seems to have no ethics when it comes to lining his own pockets.

  10. -

    Is it just me or does this all sound eerily similar to what Mac Haddow went to jail for? Candland helps push through a deal involving government assets to benefit a company run by someone who runs a nonprofit that supports him, and then later gets paid money by that same individual’s company and then opens a business on that company’s property.

  11. -

    I’m a big fan of how you incorporate document evidence where it exists. As a county employee I’ve followed Candland’s Sheriff blog and I’ve noticed how they base almost all their attacks on “birdies” or that people are “saying” or “they’ve heard reports.” I’ve been around for some of the things like this they said about Peacor, Stewart and Nohe and they were absolutely made up. Nothing at all like what they said happened. They completely lied about almost everything in every one of those incidents. We like your style.

  12. -

    Muckraker please, please, please, oh please start referring to Candland as Pete “MiniMac” Candland. That’s perfect.

  13. -

    Yes, call him MiniMac, MiniMac, MiniMac, MiniMac!

  14. -

    Branding is critical pls refer to Candland as “Prime Rib Pete” although I like Mini-Mac, both fit Candland.

  15. -

    QBE isn’t paying for Candland’s health insurance because that would cost QBE more money. Since Mac does all of Pete’s deals, why would Big Mac Haddow make QBE insure Pete MiniMac when they can have the taxpayers pay his health insurance and Big Mac can pocket the difference?
    It seems to me that MiniMac Candland is following right in BigMac’s footsteps and is too blinded by the money to pay attention to the consequences.
    Everyone on their swim team is talking about it, whenever Candland or his family come to an event everyone begins to whisper, it’s getting harder for them to walk around town without the community stares. I feel sorry for the family members that didn’t ask for this negative attention, Candland is a very selfish man for putting his family through this.

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