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By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Todd Schneider
The former chef at the Virginia governor's mansion pleaded no contest Wednesday to reduced charges that he stole food from the first family's kitchen and was ordered to repay the state $2,300, ending a politically embarrassing case that was headed to trial weeks before the state's hotly contested governor's race.
Neither embezzlement charges against Virginia's former Executive Mansion chef nor ongoing federal and state investigations into Gov. Bob McDonnell's gift disclosures will be enough to weigh down the gubernatorial campaign of Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, political observers say.
Richmond's top prosecutor is looking into gifts to Gov. Bob McDonnell in an investigation requested by Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II.
A review of state records shows grocery costs at Virginia's Executive Mansion hit the highest levels in years in late 2011 and early 2012, the months leading up to the mansion's chef dismissal and the start of a criminal investigation into operations of the mansion's kitchen.
Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II moved to withdraw his office Wednesday from prosecuting embezzlement charges against the former chef at the governor's mansion, citing an unspecified conflict of interest in the ongoing case.
If you're feeling that those who govern Virginia or aspire to govern in coming months are less than forthcoming, you're not alone. Candidates in both parties and the governor they hope to succeed have had accountability about their finances and business dealings forced upon them the past five months by journalists.
The risk that an earthquake would cause a severe accident at a U.S. nuclear plant is greater than previously thought, 24 times as high in one case, according to an AP analysis of preliminary government data. The nation's nuclear regulator believes a quarter of America's reactors may need modifications to make them safer.
Mr. Schneider, who worked at the Executive Mansion from 2010 until his dismissal in early 2012, told investigators the first family had taken undisclosed gifts from a wealthy donor and from the kitchen, and that the governor required him and other state employees to work private and political events.
"It's been a very difficult situation but it's a beautiful day here in Richmond," said Mr. Schneider, smiling broadly. "It's time for me to move on, love life and love myself (and) make great food for people."