Gloucester timeline Nov. 6, 2007: Newcomers Bobby Crewe and Gregory Woodard join incumbents Michelle Ressler and Christian "Buddy" Rilee in winning election to the Gloucester Board of Supervisors. They join incumbent Teresa Altemus and are expected to form a new majority voting bloc against Rick Allen and Louise Theberge.
November-December 2007: Altemus talks with Lacy Smith about becoming interim county administrator. Smith meets Ressler, Crewe and Woodard at an election-results celebration held at Ressler's home and attended by Altemus. Later, Rilee meets with Smith at Altemus' home, where Crewe also shows up. New Year's weekend, Altemus calls Smith asking how soon he could start.
Jan. 2-3, 2008: Altemus is elected chairwoman at the year's first supervisors' meeting. Ressler asks to put a closed session on the agenda. Another last-minute addition is a vote in which the supervisors take more control of how the School Board spends money. After midnight, following the closed session, the board announces it was relieving County Administrator Bill Whitley and County Attorney Danny Stuck of their duties and hiring Smith as interim administrator.
Jan. 3: Later in the morning, at a meeting of the Gloucester Rotary Club, outraged members unanimously vote to file a complaint with Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Hicks regarding potential violations of state public meetings law by the supervisors. About a week later, Hicks launches an investigation.
Jan. 17: The first of several town hall-style meetings is held in which residents demand answers of supervisors about the events of Jan. 2-3. During public meetings over the next days and weeks, some residents call for removal of some supervisors, others call for their resignation.
Jan. 24: Smith resigns. Assistant administrator Georgette Hurley is named temporary interim.
Feb. 1: Hicks issues a report saying the board played "fast and loose" with state public meeting laws, but that he didn't think the cost of prosecution was worthwhile.
Feb. 4: Chairwoman Altemus offers a public apology to Whitley and Stuck, and constituents. A day later, supervisors rescind vote on school funding.
March 11: A nine-member special grand jury convenes to investigate the supervisors, including whether public meetings laws were violated. The grand jury is impaneled at the request of Hicks and authorized by Gloucester Circuit Judge William H. Shaw III.
July 8: The special grand jury hands down indictments accusing Altemus, Crewe, Ressler and Woodard of misdemeanor charges of conducting county business in secret, unlawful warrantless search and computer trespass in the seizure of Stuck's computer.
July 29: Shaw recuses himself as judge because of his friendship with Sheriff Steve Gentry, who may be a defense witness.
Aug. 20: Circuit Judge Thomas Shadrick, replacing Shaw on the criminal case, "reluctantly" agrees to remove Hicks as prosecutor, saying there is a "perception of partiality.
Sept. 8: The Gloucester County Citizens for Accountable Representation submitted almost 6,000 signatures on petitions to remove Altemus, Ressler, Woodard and Crewe, from office, saying the four conducted county business in secret and had lost the confidence of residents.
Sept. 17: The petitions are sent to Circuit Court.
Sept. 18: Circuit Court Judge Westbrook J. Parker, who is Shaw's replacement on the civil petitions, removes Hicks from prosecuting the removal petitions against the supervisors.
Oct. 31: All misdemeanor charges are dismissed after a special prosecutor says there isn't enough evidence to continue the case.
Nov. 19: The civil petitions are also thrown out of court after a second special prosecutor says the documents are technically flawed.
Dec. 17: Parker orders the county to pay almost $125,000 in the supervisors' legal fees, but says $80,000 of it should be collected in fines from the 40 petitioners, saying they abused the court system.
January, 2009: First Amendment expert and Virginia Beach attorney L. Stephen Emmert agrees to appeal the petitioners' fines. Bills are introduced in the General Assembly that would make it harder for judges to fine petitioners, but would not be retroactive.
Feb. 12: Carter Borden announces he will seek Republican backing in a bid to unseat Altemus, who was ousted from the party's county committee the spring before.
April 29: Altemus announces she will run for re-election as an independent. The Democratic Party does not field a candidate.
May 7: Gov. Timothy M. Kaine signs legislation to protect future petitioners.
June 16: Parker enters an order into the court record formalizing the award of legal fees and fining the petitioners. The order had to be formally entered before an appeal can be filed.
Nov. 3: Teresa Altemus loses her bid for a fifth term on the Board of Supervisors.
Nov. 5: The four supervisors vote to have Gloucester County pay $343,000 of their legal fees. This includes $172,000 in fees in defense of the criminal charges.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times