Tangled in Tapes: How Scott Seaton’s Secret Recordings Shook Augusta County Supervisors
Written by: Sam Orlando
AUGUSTA COUNTY, VA - In an unforeseen move, the Augusta County Board of Supervisors has censured Wayne District Supervisor Scott Seaton. The decision came without public notice, leading many to believe the action was a punitive response to Seaton's recording of the Board's closed sessions. The censure, while not directly implicating any legal wrongdoing by the Board, has stirred up anxieties and anticipation: does Seaton possess taped evidence of illicit activities within the Board's operations?
Seaton has affirmed to various media outlets that he possesses recordings of years of closed session Board of Supervisor meetings, yet he has been reticent when questioned on their content and distribution. After Wednesday's Supervisors' meeting, it was evident that several board members harbor significant apprehensions about these recordings. Seaton did not return Breaking Through's requests for an interview.
The tapes, many speculate, could contain damning revelations concerning corruption within the county government, the unjust collection of animal fees, issues surrounding the public demand for body cameras, and possible mishandling of sexual harassment complaints, items that have been the subject of serious and at times emotional discussion at the public meetings.
The censure arose following Seaton's admission of recording closed Board sessions, an action he equated to "writing it down and putting it in my notebook." Despite the members recognizing the legality of Seaton's actions, the resolution of censure emphasized concerns about secrecy, "unprofessional" conduct, and a breach of trust.
Though the censure doesn't explicitly address Seaton's allegations, it comes in the wake of his three-month-long endeavor to rectify illicit animal fees that have been assessed on pet owners for decades. The resolution asserts that Seaton's actions may "impair the county’s ability to negotiate business agreements between the County of Augusta and outside entities."
The majority of the Board voted for the motion, removing Seaton from the boards and commissions he served on until the end of his current term. This move happened alongside his bid for re-election in November, facing a challenge from local businessman John R. Higgs. Mr. Higgs owns a winery in Fishersville. Breaking Through was unable to reach Mr. Higgs, as his campaign appears to have no web or social media presence.
Given these unfolding events, the Augusta County's governance is under severe scrutiny. The existence of the tapes - and the majorities extreme reaction to their existence - points to a lack of transparency and potential malfeasance within the Board, placing a spotlight on the inner workings of county leadership. As the county holds its breath, the looming question remains - what exactly lies within the recordings that Supervisor Scott Seaton holds?