FBI Continues Candland-QBE Investigation

The Prince William Muckraker has learned that last week FBI officials spoke with Prince William County Schools as part of the FBI’s continuing investigation into the role of Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland in county real estate transactions involving Candland’s former employer, the government contractor, Quality Business Engineering (QBE).

The Muckraker was the first to break the story of the original FBI inquiry on August 8, 2016.  Earlier, on April 18, 2016, the Muckraker was the first to publish a comprehensive post on the county’s transactions with Quality Business Engineering and the troubling involvement of Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland, who had close ties to the firm. At the time, our contributors built on an earlier and admirable post on Moonhowlings.net that had been the first outlet to raise questions about the Candland-QBE connections and the favorable terms QBE had secured in its deals with the County.

During its initial investigation, the Muckraker learned that Candland had participated in approving what critics have contended was a sweetheart deal transferring school system property to Quality Business Engineering.  The deal involved both sale and lease terms highly advantageous to the firm when considered against the property’s previously-assessed value and what Quality Business Engineering had initially proposed.  In return for restrictions on the use and disposition of the land, Quality Business Engineering negotiated a substantially reduced price for the property, only later to use a series of complicated maneuvers, including a boundary adjustment involving the Town of Haymarket, to have the restrictions removed.

At the time of his involvement in approving the transactions as Gainesville Supervisor, Candland did not disclose his relationship with Quality Business Engineering Founder and CEO, Shawn Landry.  The latter was then president of Rise Up Prince William, an organization that Landry himself identified as a nonprofit Landry “and some of Candland’s other constituents formed to support Candland’s ongoing community service efforts.”  Those other so-called constituents turned out to be Candland’s father-in-law, who was living in Pennsylvania, and Mac Haddow.

Critics have taken issue with Rise Up Prince William’s original status as a nonprofit, seeing it originally as nothing more than a political fundraising arm for Candland.  In July of 2013 Pete Candland publicized a cross-county walk he was doing to raise money for the new organization. Despite publicity in the newspapers and social media there was confusion among potential participants because there was no mechanism for signing up for the walk. Calls to local charities marketed as beneficiaries of the walk revealed that they didn’t know anything about it. They had simply been told they were going to get some donations from the event. Web searches turned up sites with Rise Up Prince William logos accompanied by Candland for Supervisor signs. To many people it seemed clear that the walk, if not Rise Up Prince William itself, was a primarily a campaign and publicity vehicle for Candland.

Candland claimed to have raised more than $10,000 as a result of the Rise Up Prince William walk, with most of it coming from an anonymous donor. A former Republican supervisor promptly revealed that the bulk of the money raised came from QBE’s Shawn Landry. Indeed, when the Muckraker received and reviewed the 2013 records for Rise Up Prince William we found that an anonymous donation of $10,000 had been received with an office address that matched that of QBE.  One possible line of the FBI inquiry could involve not only the activities of Rise Up Prince William, but also Landry’s alleged $10,000 anonymous donation.

Mac Haddow’s involvement in Rise Up Prince William is another troubling connection to the school transaction, according to sources.  Haddow is currently a principal at Upstream Consulting.  Previously, Haddow was investigated for alleged ethical misdeeds in the Utah legislature, and later went to prison for violating federal rules regarding conflicts of interest.  Observers of that time contend that Haddow and his spouse, Alice Haddow, were involved in a personal enrichment scheme that directed federal funds for their benefit.  Haddow, critics contend, plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to prevent his spouse from also being charged.

After his release from prison, Haddow went on to lobby the victims of Pan Am Flight 103 for the removal of sanctions on Libyan dictator, Muammar Khadafy, and to wreak havoc upon the Chantilly Youth Association.  Later using online smear campaigns to help elect Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland, Haddow obtained an unpaid staff position in Candland’s office that provided him carte blanche, and secured a job in the office with a benefit package in excess of $90,000 for his spouse, Alice Haddow.  Subsequently, Haddow also secured a job in Candland’s office for his son-in-law.

During his tenure with Candland, Haddow also fathered the smear blog, the Sheriff of Nottingham, which in addition to espousing pro-Candland positions, uses false stories and forged documents (tactics similar to those involved in Haddow’s earlier brushes with the law) to attack Candland’s opponents.

The Rise Up Prince William and office staffing connections of Candland, Landry, and Haddow not only intersected while Candland was voting in support of the county transactions with Quality Business Engineering.  Less than six months after the transactions were consummated, Landry hired Candland as the new Executive Vice President of Quality Business Engineering.  Then, on the same land transferred by the county, Candland opened an ice cream store, “Cookies & Cream.”

Critics allege that the Candland-Haddow-Landry connections in this real estate transaction involving government property are rife with conflicts of interest, and possible illegality, consistent with the types of personal enrichment schemes with which Haddow in the past has been involved.

After the FBI investigation was launched, Candland and Quality Business Engineering parted ways, with many observers confident that the separation reflected the troubling nature of the real estate transaction and the potential risks to a government contractor like Quality Business Engineering of an FBI investigation.


11 comments on “FBI Continues Candland-QBE Investigation

  1. -

    Glad to see you are back on the case! Hasn’t been the same without you. Candland and Haddow have been up to a lot since you’ve been gone.

  2. -

    This explains why Candland is suddenly so desperate for a deal on schools. He knows it’s coming out how he screwed over the taxpayer and the school system with his Landry-Haddow deal (that also got him land for his ice cream business). What a sleaze.

  3. -

    It’s a sign of just how useless the local press is that they have not run a word on this yet. They did a full article on Mark Wolfe’s bankruptcy, but not a word on Pete Candland being under investigation by the FBI for months. I know for a fact that the press contacted Candland and he confirmed the FBI inquiry. The old Potomac News would have taken their obligations seriously, but today’s local papers just seem to be afraid of whoever they think is the most powerful politician.

  4. -

    Thank you Muckraker! QBE has been bullying us in Haymarket and it’s about time it comes out how they colluded with government officials.

  5. -

    So the Sheriff of Nottingham cries crocodile tears on behalf of taxpayers over the plan to catch up school construction funding while QBE and Candland reaped the benefits of a sweetheart deal with the previous (Republican) school board! Is it too early to say “lock them up”?

  6. -

    Robin Hood, these are standard Mac Haddow tactics. He claims in things like his Sheriff blog that he cares about taxpayers, all the while making sure that his family members get funded off the taxpayer dime. It’s not completely unlike what he went to jail for and it didn’t surprise me at all to find out he was involved in a potential nonprofit scam and a corrupt land deal. Same old Mac Haddow from years back.

  7. -

    We don’t really have a local paper, do we?

    Don’t forget about the Gainesville Truth Squad. Whose baby was that? Lots of character assassinations came out of that electronic rag also.

  8. -

    He chose his blog name well. The legendary Sheriff of Nottingham taxed the Anglo Saxon underclass to support their Norman overlords. It’s what inspired my nickname. We have to stand up to them!

  9. -

    Good piece. Straight up reporting of facts and no smartaleck editorializing. Keep up the good work.

  10. -

    And now the master plan to overdevelop Haymarket for personal financial gain has started. Have you seen the new plans that QBE has in process? How can “Conflict of Interest” Candland even contemplate supporting his secret partners when he openly runs a business there?

  11. -

    I am outraged that this is going on and the voters in his district have no knowledge. Taxpayers have a right to know, we deserve better than this!

Comments are closed.