Casino Bill: Town Hall + $416K Donated + New Lobbyist + Hogs & Cowboys

MCLEAN, VA β€” State Sen. Dave Marsden’s (D-Burke) Senate Bill 675, which would make it easier to build a casino in Tysons, has not made an appearance since Fairfax County Board Chair Jeff McKay (D-At-Large) sent a letter to the leaders of the Virginia General Assembly on Friday explaining why the bill would be a bad deal for the county.

On Jan. 24, the Senate Committee on General Laws & Technology voted 10 to 4, with one abstention, to refer SB 675 to the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee.

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) told Patch on Friday that it was his understanding that the bill would be referred to the Senate Economic Development & Natural Resources Subcommittee. However, the bill never appeared on the agenda for the subcommittee’s hearing on Monday.

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A Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee staffer told Patch on Wednesday that the bill had not yet been referred to a subcommittee. Since it was not on the agendas for the regular 9 a.m. committee meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, the soonest it could be voted on or referred is next week.

Finance and appropriations does have a 4:30 p.m. hearing this Friday, but that hearing is usually reserved for when the senate is up against a deadline.

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The big deadline is “crossover” on Feb. 13. when each house must finish its legislation in order to hand it over to the other house.

Casino Bill Town Hall Hosted By McLean Representatives

Virginia Sen. Jennifer B. Boysko (D-38th), Del. Rip Sullivan (D-6th) and Supervisor Jimmy Bierman (D-Dranesville) will host a town hall this Saturday to discuss SB 675.

The meeting, which is open to the public, will take place 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at McLean High School, which is located at 1633 Davidson Road in McLean

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Comstock CEO’s Father Donates $416K To Candidates

Christopher Daniel Clemente, who is the father of Comstock Holdings’ CEO Chris Clemente, has contributed $416,068 to candidates running in the 2023 election cycle and currently serving in the general assembly, according to campaign finance filings reported by the Virginia Public Access Project.

C. Daniel Clemente is the president of Clemente Development Company, Inc., which is a completely separate entity from Comstock Holdings.

In October 2019, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved The View at Tysons, a mixed-use development adjacent to the Silver Line’s Spring Hill Metro Station. The project was being developed on a 1.8-acre site located at 8590 Leesburg Pike, which was purchased by Clemente Development and Khaled Juffali Co. of Saudi Arabia, according to the Washington Business Journal.

To make things even more confusing, the property that Comstock has indicated that it wants to build a casino at is the abandoned Exclusive Automotive Group lot at 8546 Leesburg Pike, which is adjacent to the metro station and The View at Tysons.

The two largest donations C. Daniel Clemente made were $205,000 and $100,000. The former was donated to Building a Remarkable Virginia Political Action Committee, which Comstock formed last September β€œto elect candidates committed to building a better Commonwealth.”

The latter donation was made to Virginia Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) the senate’s president pro tempore and chair of the Finance and Appropriations Committee, where SB 675 is currently awaiting consideration.

C. Daniel Clemente 2023-2024 Political Contributions

In the proffer statement included in the development plan that the county approved, Clemente Development was to provide an arts facility “to increase public access to the arts through provision of a venue offering reasonably priced arts performances, the Applicant will provide an approximately 20,000 square foot theater in the below-grade parking garage … to a theatrical, arts, dance, educational, entertainment or similar use.”

Much of the language in SB 675 that Marsden submitted on Jan. 17 contained updates to the parts of the Virginia Code that govern the awarding of casino licenses. Marsden told Patch multiple times that his preferred location was Tysons and the facility would include a conference center and performance space anchored by a casino.

Below is the section of the bill that addresses the non-casino portions of the project and throws in a hotel to boot. Marsden’s addition is underlined.

“‘Casino gaming establishment’ means the premises, including the entire property, such as a conference center, hotel, or entertainment district or large-scale concert venue, located at the address of the licensed casino, upon which lawful casino gaming is authorized and licensed as provided in this chapter. ‘Casino gaming establishment’ does not include a riverboat or similar vessel.”

While it appears that the county has already approved 20,000 feet of entertainment space for The View project β€” which is admittedly small for a casino β€” the developer would still need county approval to make that happen. The board of supervisors would have to approve a Conceptual Development Plan Amendment and the planning commission would need to approve a Final Development Plan Amendment.

New Lobbyist Worked For Casino Builder

Comstock Holding Companies recently hired its seventh lobbyist to advocate for its interests in Richmond. On Jan. 22, the company retained Matthew James, a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates. From 2010 to 2020, James represented the same district that current Speaker of the House Don Scott (D) represents.

From 2022 to 2023, James was a lobbyist for Newport-News- based construction firm W.M. Jordan, which is working with Suffolk Construction to build the HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk. The project is expected to break ground this spring, according to Virginia Business.

Who Went To See Hogs Vs. Dallas?

Building a Remarkable Virginia PAC reported to the State Board of Elections on Jan. 11 that it made a $39,185 payment to Visa for tickets and a suite at a Washington Commanders football game. The date of the expenditure was Jan. 10 and for a PAC fundraiser.

Depending on the opponent and the day of the week, Washington Commanders Suites rentals cost between $12,000 and $30,000, which doesn’t include catering, according to Commanders Suites.

The last home game the Commanders played before the start of the 2024 general assembly session was the 38-10 defeat by the Cowboys on Jan. 7, which was four days before the Visa was paid and five days before the PAC reported it.


Read all of Patch’s reporting on Comstock Companies’ plan to build a casino on Metro’s Silver Line in Fairfax County at Silver Line Casino.

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