Home Pittsylvania County The Pittsylvania County BOS Scearce/Warren Team Takes Control In Rocky Waters –...

The Pittsylvania County BOS Scearce/Warren Team Takes Control In Rocky Waters – Mike Swanson

The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors (BOS) is at a paradoxical, moment. After the June BOS meeting, the Scearce/Warren Political Machine AKA Clown Show (Scearce wore a clown shirt at a BOS meeting to mock his critics) AKA Warren Team (that’s what they called themselves) is now in control of the Board of Supervisors for the moment with a 5-2 majority voting block. Members of the team, especially Westover District Ron Scearce, have talked triumphantly over their recent wins, and yet also seem to be worried, as they are resorting to bullying tactics in their political campaigns and Scearce is taking a page out of his fear play book. At the same time, as the board reverts to their control, there are signs of chaos in county politics once again. For one thing, two weeks ago, there was an Electoral Board meeting that broke down into what was reported to be accusations of improper meetings and minutes of meetings not being recorded correctly, looking like more unusual business as usual in the county. All that made last week’s issue of the Chatham Star-Tribune in a lengthy seven page article and on Thursday the Electoral Board appointed a new Registrar.

The Scearce/Warren machine incumbent candidates lost in landslide elections last time, in 2021, and the gang is perhaps even less popular now than they were then, putting their 5-2 voting block in a precarious position for election day in a few months. They have a habit of doing extreme things to maintain any power they get that then blows back on them, which we saw in 2021 when they censured Supervisor Vic Ingram on silly charges just before the election and then their candidates lost by 20% margins.

There is also an open Virginia State Police Investigation, which started this year around New Years, into the county concerning the records of a Planning Commission meeting and the subsequent zoning of a solar farm project on Buford Road in the Westover District. This investigation has nothing to do with the current Board Chairman, Darrell Dalton, because it goes back to events in 2020. That’s when Bob Warren was Chairman of the Board and David Smitherman was the County Administrator. So, I mention that to simply note that if the investigation concludes that something criminal happened they were the ones at the top of the county government at the time. We can only wait and see how it ends.

People throughout the State of Virginia and all the way up in the Washington, D.C. area are watching what is going on in the county. One person attended a June 8 Electoral Board Meeting and stated that “I have been watching the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission meetings over some months and to see their electoral situation arise in those meetings, it’s a mess and an unnecessary conflict that’s really disruptive to the electoral process, but also just to the community.”

Solar farm blight, population loss, and embarrassing the county with their chaos antics is the legacy of the Scearce/Warren team.

Here is how the Scearce/Warren team got control again – for now.

At the June BOS meeting, Nancy Eanes was voted in to serve as an interim member of the board for the Dan River District as a new Scearce/Warren team member by Supervisors Bob Warren, Tim Dudley, and Ronald Scearce. Since Timothy Chesher resigned for health reasons that seat has been empty and is now up for election in November, so an interim member had to be appointed to fill it to finish this year out. Supervisor Vic Ingram voted against Eanes, saying that he had been informed that it was Chesher’s desire to have Eddie Hite fill that position, while both Supervisors Dalton and Tucker decided to abstain from voting, which cleared the way for the Warren Team to get their person in without any public conflict. Mr. Hite is now running for that seat and is more than qualified, having served as a past chairman of the Pittsylvania County Industrial Development Authority Board and a long-time banking executive at Virginia Bank & Trust, until it was bought out by another bank and he retired. Retirement didn’t suit him for long, though, as he is now working for the URW Community Federal Credit Union.

Nancy Eanes, however, had the distinction of having been tapped by former Joe Davis, when he was the Dan River District Supervisor as a Scearce/Warren Team member, to serve on the Department of Social Services Board, when the squad decided to remove Sherry Flanagan from serving as the Social Services Director for the county in 2018. At that meeting, her first one, she put in the motion to remove Mrs. Flanagan, following instructions. Hite just wasn’t one of the Warren Team’s friends. Eanes is now one of their insiders and is running for the November election to keep her seat.

At the June BOS meeting, several people spoke during the Public Hearing of the Citizens portion of the meeting to either oppose or support Southside Investing’s proposed mixed use development to be off highway 58 between Brosville and Axton.

We’ll return to that topic in a moment.

Ron Scearce’s Moment of Triumph In Chatham

First, I want to note that two weeks before the June BOS meeting I saw Ron Scearce speak at a political meeting in Chatham. He was in a moment of triumph as he started out his speech celebrating his two vote margin of victory at the Republican mass meeting held the month before to carry that party’s ticket in the Westover Board of Supervisors race. In the end, the mass meeting had a very low voter turnout, with Scearce receiving only 34 votes himself to win. I personally know about a dozen people who told me that day that they were going to go vote against Scearce and simply did not show up, who then felt bad about it afterwards (probably were wary of going to Chatham for several hours on a Friday night) and have heard of several who did not want to be seen in public voting at the meeting. Such people will vote in November.

And Mr. Scearce in this Chatham speech did point to a few people who he saw, and knew that they voted against him, at the mass meeting in his talk, smearing them and their family members. He got into a mode in which he attacked his perceived enemies, ranging from the former director of social services to fire and rescue volunteers, seeming to think he was triumphing over them all. He said he looked forward to the new board member that would be coming to fill the Dan River Supervisor seat (who turned out to be Eanes). Interim Bannister District Supervisor Robert Tucker was in the audience and he looked at him as he said he expected no problems this time in that interim selection as there were last year, making it appear that they already had an understanding of what would happen. Scearce demanded that his opponent, Murray Whittle, who lost at the mass meeting to him by two votes, drop out of the election and endorse him and said that Ken Bowman’s opponent, Frank Fox, should do the same for him. Scearce praised Mr. Tucker, saying that he hopes he gets re-elected for Supervisor in the Bannister District, and also said he wants Ken Bowman to win, making clear that he considers them both part of the Scearce/Warren team.

Warren/Scearce Backed Candidate Ken Bowman Resorts To Scearce/Warren Team Style Tactics

During the Hearing of the Citizens portion of the BOS June meeting, several people spoke about the proposed 58 West mixed-use residential development for and against it. The zoning for it is slated to be up for vote at the August BOS meeting. Josh Jennings spoke in support of this project. He is running in the Chatham-Blairs District Supervisors race, along with Ken Bowman and Frank Fox. Jennings also told a story about how Warren Team member Ken Bowman told him to drop out of the race.

You can see this at the 1:11 mark of the video for the meeting.

According to Mr. Jennings, Bowman visited him two hours after he filed to run at his Guns, Gear, and Ammo store on 58 West.

“He asked me,” said Jennings, “he says I want you to step aside let me run, because you’re inexperienced, you don’t have enough background in order to do this. Well, anybody in the county that qualifies in that district has the experience necessary to lead that District as long as they’re willing to listen to the people. Second, I have had a business in that location in the Tunstall district for over seven years at this point approximate. I’ve had to augment it with gun shows outside of the area in order to bring in enough Revenue. Bringing these people in will help us not only augment the county coffers but bring in millions upon millions of dollars of incomes that could support businesses that are already here.”

“Additionally,” said Jennings, “Mr Bowman stated that why would anybody want to build anything in Axton because there is nothing here. Well, first I’m in Cascade, second Axton’s next door, but they’re both in the Tunstall District. We do not need another Supervisor that cannot look at the whole of the county instead of just one District. Every district is important every person is important without our people we cannot go forward into the future and lay these riches up for our children it’s only good stewardship to make sure that we bring good projects that think 30 years down the road instead of just 20 minutes down the uh the highway here.”

Personally, I like Ken Bowman and his wife Brenda, but am not shocked to hear that one of them tried to get Jennings to drop out. I heard a wise person once say that any person is heavily influenced by the five or six people that they hang out with the most in any given time. That’s why parents don’t want their children to hang out with teenagers that do or sell drugs. Good advice for the rest of your life is to always find wise mentors to learn from as you get involved in different things. Brenda, did a lot of good things when she was Chairman of the Board before Bob Warren took her seat. She introduced a code of ethics for the county BOS, that Bob Warren then removed once he became Chairman. But now that Ken is running as part of the Scearce/Warren team, it seems that he descended into using their playbook at this moment in the race. Warren is also heavily supporting Angie Harris as a candidate for Clerk of Circuit Court. Someone told me he has two huge Scearce and Harris signs sitting together on one of his properties with a Bowman sign next to them. Basically, a vote for Bowman or Harris is a vote for the Scearce/Warren team.

Jim Scearce, the brother of Ron Scearce, also spoke during the Hearing of the Citizens. He blasted the Commissioner of Revenue, something he has done several times in the past seventeen months, once threatening to make a recall petition against her for reasons that don’t seem factual or even rational to me. He also attacked Kell Stone, who is running as a competitor to Robert Tucker, who Ron Scearce is supporting, in the Bannister district. Kathy Ramsey is also running for that seat.

Jim Scearce tried to sue Vic Ingram and the BOS a few months ago over actions taken when Ingram was Chairman last year, claiming that he held an illegal meeting on what appeared to me to be nonsensical grounds (to have a meeting you have to have more than two people and Ingram only talked with Dalton on the phone). That suit got tossed out of court. I did a FOIA and found out it cost the county $2,284.76 to pay an outside law firm to handle it. In May, Scearce sent Ingram notice of another legal complaint filed with the Western District Court against him and the BOS again, this time for $250,000 in damages, alleging humiliation Mr. Scearce suffered from being removed from a BOS meeting late last year after he was cut off from speaking by Ingram when he was Chairman and escorted out of the room by deputies after he would not stop speaking. It was actually the second time he was kicked out of a meeting last year. Jim Scearce’s wife also used the Hearings of the Citizens period of the June meeting to try to argue for their case.

Ron Scearce Tries To Turn Rational Citizen Concerns Into A Fear Crowd

The most important economic development issue that the BOS is going to have this summer is a zoning hearing and vote on the mixed-use residential development on 58 West in the Tunstall District.

What is their proposed development?

As Southside Investing LLC explained in a press release, “The mixed-use community is proposed on 614.45 acres located just east of Martin Drive on the north side of Martinsville Highway (Route 58) within the Tunstall Election District. The location is ideally situated approximately 9 miles driving distance from the similarly transformative Southern Virginia Megasite at Berry Hill, VA and approximately 9 miles west of Danville, VA.”

“The project contemplates a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, apartments, a senior independent and assisted-living campus, hotel, day care center, community center and a retail shopping center anchored with a neighborhood grocery store. Additionally, by providing access to open space, recreational facilities, and convenient shopping, a critical goal for the community is achieved by making life as convenient as possible for all residents of western Pittsylvania County.”

The community is not going to be built with government assistance and the current real estate prices would put its townhouses in the ball park of $175,000 – $250,000 and its single family homes over $350,000. That’s not a low income price range. He anticipates that it would generate over $3 million in property taxes for Pittsylvania County with a projected 1,900 living units.

Most big economic development projects get some assistance from the government. Industries will play states off one and another to get more aid, but this project is going to be a pure private enterprise.

Many people in the county, and really the region, are excited about the prospects for this development, because a lack of housing is one of the biggest – if not the biggest – problem in the area. Debra Fugato with the Dan River Region Association of Realtors, told WFXR “someone that was paying 500 dollars a month for rent, now easily, for that same house, could be put at 1000 to 1300 dollars just for rent.” People’s rents are going up, because of a lack of housing. One friend of mine has recently had their rent jacked up from $900 to $1,200. Cardinal News reported that “according to a housing demand analysis conducted by Ken Danter, founder and president of real estate consultant The Danter Company, the region can expect to see 3,900 new jobs arrive by the spring of 2024. With those jobs will come a need for 1,536 more apartments and 234 more single-family homes — on top of a pent-up demand for 760 apartments and 606 single-family homes.”

For every month that goes by in which there is a person looking for housing that they cannot find they end up choosing to live outside of the area. The reality is that if more housing doesn’t come to Pittsylvania County than it is likely to end up being built across the border in Rockingham County, North Carolina for the Megasite, while people’s rents just go up even more in the county and in Danville. Not approving this project or even delaying it is a risky proposition for Pittsylvania County. Some new housing is already coming to Eden, North Carolina with the renovation of downtown properties there into apartments on Washington and Monroe Streets. Rockingham County is in fact much closer to the Megasite than Danville is. So people who end up working at the Megasite and living there, instead of in Pittsylvania County, are more likely to do their shopping and dining in Reidsville and Eden, North Carolina instead of Danville too.

It is just a simple reality – Pittsylvania County is not the only place people can move to in order to work at the Megasite or in Danville. Decisions by the Board of Supervisors matter. It’s like the Danville Casino. The City of Danville is getting $1,136,134.39 in taxes for just last month’s casino revenue and Pittsylvania County is getting zero. The county surrounds the city and gets nothing from the casino, while multiple counties surrounding the Bristol casino are getting in the aggregate millions in tax revenue.

Instead of supporting the casino, the Scearce/Warren team members either did nothing or opposed it. Ron Scearce, and Supervisor Joe Davis, in fact tried to spread fear about. Scearce seems to think creating fear crowds is how to get people to vote the way he wants, because people who are afraid ask few questions and can be easily manipulated into believing anything. Ron Scearce went on WSET back when the casino was about to be voted on in Danville, claiming that even if the casino was approved, he doubted “whether Caesars will be able to hold up their end of the bargain when promising the creation of hundreds of new jobs,” making it sound like it was a flimflam proposal.

Well, it’s open and the promises are all being more than fulfilled.

Unfortunately, it looks like Ron Scearce has catered to fear tactics again over the proposed 58 development as a way to politically hurt Tunstall Supervisor Vic Ingram, who is not on the Scearce/Warren team, and has been their leading opponent for the past few years. Any zoning change like this is going to attract at least some opposition from a few people whose property is adjacent to it. That’s happening in this case, and many of them have reasonable demands, wanting to have a larger buffer for example is understandable, but Scearce has worked to try to rile the people up and turn them into a fear crowd.

He tried this sort of thing last year when Joe Cubas tried to get zoning approval on a property in the Westover District for an RV Park. Residents on Vandola Road were worried and had concerns about what it might mean for their neighbors, but rumors spread that had nothing to do with the reality about his plans, like that it would turn into a low income trailer park. Scearce even spread rumors of his own, claiming that Supervisor Ingram had some sort of relationship with Cubas when the two had never talked nor met each other before. He then smeared Cubas at a board meeting, implying that he was suspect because he had multiple LLC’s that he did business with. In reality, that is normal for people who own and develop multiple real estate projects. Supervisor Scearce, in effect, sent a message to all outside business people that Pittsylvania County may not be a place you want to try to do business at. This type of behavior is why so many business people have turned against the Scearce/Warren Team in the past few years – and have been trying to get rid of them.

Several people against the proposed 58 development created a private group for themselves on Facebook. I joined it to see what they were saying and just watched. One of the things they started to express worries about was a notion they got that if this project is accepted that it will be become a city and then there will be more cities created all over the county. One person also claimed that there would be a casino in it too and then more casinos would sprout up everywhere in the county. When another person explained that what they were saying was not going to happen (there is a limit to how many casinos can be built in the state and where they can go) they were kicked out of the group. I decided not to post anything or comment, because I figured they would do that to me too,

Then, after a few weeks of this, Supervisor Scearce appeared in the group. He did nothing to help calm the situation and instead let the fears grow. It seemed obvious to me that he was hoping that these people would decide to oppose Ingram and vote against him in November in support of a candidate who filed at the last minute to run against him, whose main issue is being against the development. Some in the group even started to call it Ingram’s development.

Scearce told one member of the group that Supervisor Vic Ingram, who retired from the Sheriff’s department as a detective and has a private investigators license, was launching an investigation into their family. They posted in the group that he was doing a PI investigation into them.

To convince them of this Mr. Scearce forwarded to them a FOIA request that Ingram did with the county asking for a “list of calls for service to Axton Lodge located at 4261 Martin Drive” or any calls involving its owners and their family members in the past 5 five years. Ingram explained in their Facebook group that at multiple community meetings for the proposed 58 development residents expressed concerns that the new development would tax the Sheriff’s department, overload EMS calls, and cause traffic problems so he was doing his due diligence on this. There had been a shooting at the location in 2017. He also requested information on the calls of service in the area, the ABC license information for the Lodge, and the previous operation of AC Furniture from Sheriff Taylor. “Hank Gritt” replied to the comment I saw Ingram make in this group on Facebook and then soon I could no longer see the group (not sure if I was kicked out of the group or if it got too hot and out of control and shut itself down) – my assumption was Ron Scearce or Jim Scearce decided that they didn’t want people to see that they were actively working against an economic development project this important for the county by behaving like this. I did a FOIA request for email discussions among the board members about Scearce’s actions. The county informed me that they could not fulfill that request within the normal five day period, making a seven day extension, saying that the IT director who has access to the emails was gone during the July 4th week. Scearce then took it upon himself to thereby answer the FOIA request himself on his Facebook page, blacking out parts of the emails he decided to post, putting his own spin on it.

Now Supervisor Scearce did a Facebook post this Saturday saying that “I do hope this project is eventually approved.”

So, that’s a good shift to see, but it all has the feel of fear theater that Scearce played with people in the Tunstall District to make them think he is their advocate, while the 58 development zoning happens anyway, playing politics to try to find people in Ingram’s district to vote against him, similar with what he did with the RV Park and Cubas last year. Cubas gave up on the county and went to Danville to find a spot for his RV Park. It is projected to bring in $1.7 million in tax revenue to Danville annually if completed. That would be more lost tax revenue to the county thanks to the Scearce/Warren Team.


Mr. Scearce often complains on Facebook that I do not ask him questions before I make my posts and states therefore that I am not a reporter. I have never claimed to be a newspaper style reporter and mostly comment on the reporting of others. If I was working for a newspaper I would be someone writing an editorial column. I try to provide links and evidence to the things I do write about when I can, because I actually want my posts to be resources where people can go to see where I am getting my information from and learn more. The area newspapers need to be supported. The more news the better.

However, there is a second reason I do not ask him questions. I have seen him or his brother complain that anything they do not like published by any of the newspapers is “fake news.” Last year, after one reporter for the Chatham paper interviewed Jim Scearce for a story he claimed that she did not report what he said and twisted his words, trying to ruin her credibility. I believed her story and not him, as I attended the meeting that she was reporting about. They operate where if anyone talks to them they attack them unless they say exactly what they want, supporting whatever claim they make – and they have made many false claims over the past few years. When Bob Warren was Chairman of the Board he also launched an attack against the editor of the Chatham newspaper at the time in an official county Chairman’s statement of his own, in one instance, and the county public relations department even put out a false press release on September 28, 2021 to try to discredit his reporting when it was completely accurate. I do not consider the Scearce brothers or Bob Warren to be sources of information or even people that can be trusted at face value.

To give you an example of how they behave – Jim Scearce made this comment on Facebook just recently about a story in GoDanRiver.com: “Aah the Register and Bee, another fine example of a purveyor of Fake News. When a News organization picks and chooses which facts to leave out of a story they are actually enemies of the citizens they are supposed to be informing. Our founding fathers knew that a free and honest press was essential to a free nation. We no longer have an honest press in our nation!”

Here is the story that provoked Mr. Scearce – read it and judge for yourself (really, I couldn’t figure out what he got worked up over, maybe you can figure it out):