$270K Donated By Casino Developer PAC To Candidates, Other PACS
$270K Donated By Casino Developer PAC To Candidates, Other PACS

$270K Donated By Casino Developer PAC To Candidates, Other PACS

RESTON, VA — Building a Remarkable Virginia, the political action committee formed by Comstock Companies, has donated a total of $270,900 to the campaigns of nine candidates running for the Virginia General Assembly in Tuesday’s election and two other PACs, according to the latest Virginia Department of Elections reports.

Patch first broke the story at the end of September that Comstock was planning to build a casino at or near the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station. The developer formed the Building a Remarkable Virginia PAC on Sept. 22 with $244,500 in donations, including $129,500 from its own employees, associates, and entities. Its stated goal was “to elect candidates committed to building a better Commonwealth,” according to state financial filing records.

Since its formation, the PAC received an additional $32,500 in donations from Bob Cochran ($7,500) on Oct. 23 and The Barnycz Group ($25,000) on Nov. 2. Cochran works for the engineering firm VIKA. His only other reported contribution was $100 on Jan. 11 to the campaign committee of Supervisor Dalia Palchik (D-Providence).

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The Barnycz Group is a Baltimore-based architectural firm that worked with Comstock on Reston Station’s large LED screen. It was also one of the 12 vendors whose combined $115,000 in contributions were reported when Comstock formed Building a Remarkable Virginia. In all, The Barnycz Group has donated $50,000 to the PAC.

On Thursday, Patch reported that State Sens. Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) and Dave Marsden (D-Burke) received donations of $85,000 and $24,000, respectively, on Oct. 23 from the Building a Remarkable Virginia PAC. Also, the VA Future Generations, which is a PAC associated with Del. Don Scott (D-Virgina Beach), received $41,000. These donations were included in the $250,400 total.

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Building a Remarkable Virginia also reported in its latest financial filling that it contributed $23,500 to Citizens for a Safer Virginia, which is PAC dedicated to electing conservative candidates that support local law enforcement. However, the address given in the report is the same as the A Safer Virginia PAC, which is associated with Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares’ campaign. Patch reached out to Miyares’ office to see if it was his PAC that received the donation. No response has been received.

Building A Remarkable Virginia PAC Donations – $270,900

In September and October, Comstock hosted fundraisers at Reston Station for Scott, Marsden and Surovell. If the Democrats win back control of the House of Delegates on Tuesday, Scott will likely be the new Speaker of the House. Democratic Caucus Leader Surovell is expected to become the next Majority Leader of the Virginia Senate.

In January, Marsden and Del. Wren Williams (R-Stuart) introduced similar bills in the Virginia General Assembly that if passed would give the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors the power to authorize a referendum for an upcoming election. Voters would then get to decide if they wanted to approve a plan to build a casino on one of the seven Silver Line Metro stations outside the Capital Beltway. Both bills were withdrawn a few days later.

If Marsden is re-elected, he told Patch in a phone interview on Wednesday that he would not reintroduce the bill he submitted in January. Instead, he was expanding the bill to include a conference center and performance space that will be anchored by a casino.

“The Silver Line was created for high density development and business owners paid a tax to build the Dulles Access Road and the Silver Line,” Marsden said. “They paid to have that done and if we can put in a conference center in an entertainment district, anchored by a casino and some hotels, it creates a tremendous number of construction jobs, good union jobs, to work in those hotels.”

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Read all of Patch’s reporting on the proposed casino at the Wiehle-Reston East Station at Silver Line Casino.

Marsden strongly advocated for two parcels of land near the Greensboro Metro Station in Tysons as the perfect spot for a casino.

“My conversations have been that Tysons is the preferred option,” he said. “It’s basic economics. It’s where something is located that is critical. Reston, to my way of thinking, puts us too far away from our potential Maryland customers.”

The same properties were the subject of a mixed-use redevelopment proposal Comstock made on Oct. 27, 2022 as part of Fairfax County’s Sight Specific Plan Amendment Process. Rather than pursue the proposal any farther, the developer opted to submit the nomination as a “placeholder” for future discussions with the county.

Surovell told Patch in an email that he had been a long-time proponent of bringing a casino to Northern Virginia in order to diversify Fairfax County’s tax base.

“Fairfax County has consistently asked the legislature to diversify its revenue sources and is facing a commercial property crash,” he said. “If Fairfax County does not diversify its revenue sources soon, Fairfax County residents will be facing significant real estate tax increases.”

Patch acknowledges that Comstock, its employees, associates, family members and others have a right to make donations to any candidate whose campaign they wish to support. They are also within their rights to create a political action committee to do so.

Patch is reporting this publicly available information; it is not saying that Comstock, its employees, associates, family members or any others who contributed to the Building a Remarkable Virginia did anything illegal.

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