The state commission that oversees the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program has decertified the Capital Area ASAP in Richmond, fired its executive director, and suspended its 12 board members after it was determined through an investigation that there were “serious problems” with the manner in which the local program was being managed.
According to several board members of the Richmond ASAP, which include local law-enforcement officials and court authorities, they received hasty notification of the commission’s actions with no explanation. They were invited to attend the VASAP’s quarterly commission meeting, which took place on December 4, to learn more.
Board member Irving Wright, clerk of the Richmond General District Court’s traffic division, said that the board members were “totally in shock” and were “all disappointed.” He said that as far as he knew, no one on the board knew what was going on.
Statewide VASAP Executive Director Debra Gardner confirmed the commission’s actions, which included the removal of the Capital Area ASAP’s certification. That program serves Richmond, Ashland, and the counties of Hanover and Goochland. She said the commission had taken over the Capital Area’s program pending further action.
The ASAP program provides educational and substance-abuse services to drug and alcohol offenders who were referred to the program by the courts. A total of 24 ASAP programs statewide are overseen by the Virginia commission.
One source with knowledge of the investigation says that the Capital Area ASAP refused to conduct a timely investigation of complaints against Executive Director Reta Moore by some of her employees and outside contractors.
The commission learned of the complaints through a recertification process that involved interviewing employees of the Capital Area ASAP, according to an anonymous source. The complaints were forwarded to the Capital Area program’s chairman, but he declined to conduct an investigation because no formal complaints had been filed.
After state commissioners were advised, they voted to hire an outside consultant to investigate the complaints. The source said a thick report was compiled by the consultant after all of the Richmond program’s employees were interviewed.
Among the Capital Area ASAP’s board members are Hanover Sheriff Stuart V. Cook, Goochland Sheriff James L. Agnew, Hanover Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramon E. “Trip” Chalkley III, Goochland Commonwealth’s Attorney Claiborne Stokes, former Richmond Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Matthew P. Geary, Richmond traffic Judge Thomas O. Jones, and Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Dana G. Schrard.
According to board chairman Dr. Jon Moss, the board didn’t act immediately because only sketchy details of the allegations had been provided in informal conversations with a board member.