Reaser Removal Case to Begin with Signature Certification Review

During a Circuit Court hearing this morning in the case to remove Vice Chairwoman Atoosa Reaser (Algnokian) from the School Board, Commonwealth’s Attorney Buta Biberaj said that the signatures on the removal petition will be reviewed for certification by the county Office of Elections and Voter Registration before moving forward.

“We need to figure out what the allegations are and that the facts support it,” Biberaj said. She also told Judge James A. Fisher that the petitions were drafted and signatures were collected without the knowledge or guidance of her office. 

The petition, organized by the group Fight for Schools, amassed 1,859 signatures. The signers are required to be registered voters in the Algonkian District.

Similar to the petition filed to remove Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling), the petition alleges that Reaser had knowledge of a sexual assault scandal in the school district, and was involved in a private Facebook group where members compiled lists of parents opposed to the district’s racial equity efforts. Involvement in that group, petitioners charge, is a violation of open-door meetings laws for elected officials. 

In response to Biberaj seeking certification of the signatures, Fight for Schools Executive Director Ian Prior said that the group had a process in place for verifying participants’ eligibility.

“We have thoroughly reviewed and verified those signatures and we have fulfilled the legal obligations to have access to the court process,” Prior said.

Reaser is the third School Board member to face a removal petition in Circuit Court. Former Leesburg District representative Beth Barts, who resigned amid turmoil over the sexual assault scandal that sparked threats to her family, was the central target of the removal effort. The petition to remove her is now moot.

To remove an elected official in Virginia, a petition must be signed by the number of registered voters residing in the official’s district equal to 10% of the votes cast in the election that appointed the official. Once a petition is filed, it is prosecuted by the Commonwealth’s Attorney. Biberaj is the subject of a removal effort involving members also involved with Fight for Schools, including Prior. 

Judge Jeannette A. Irby disqualified Biberaj from prosecuting the case against Barts, stating that the public may never trust that due process was delivered in the case because of the conflict. 

“We do wonder, however, why Ms. Biberaj is now concerned with verifying signatures for Ms. Sheridan’s and Ms. Reaser’s removal when there was no apparent attempt to do so with those signatures submitted to remove Ms. Barts,” Prior said.

County Supervisor Juli Briskman (D- Algonkian) attended Monday’s hearing, along with about a dozen supporters of Reaser. Briskman said that she thinks the majority of Algonkian District residents support Reaser.

“I trust the system will not allow an extreme minority to exploit a process designed for extraordinary cases of official misconduct to reverse the will of our constituents and to move forward with an alternative agenda, which is to thwart the board’s equity work,” Briskman said after the hearing. “I was encouraged to hear that the commonwealth’s attorney will seek verification of the signatures on the bogus petition.”

Fight for Schools reports that it has collected over 25,000 signatures during its county-wide effort to remove School Board members and that it also met the threshold to file removal petitions against Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge) and Denise Corbo (At-Large).

During the hearing, Reaser’s attorney, Julia Judkins, suggested that because Reaser is a member of the Virginia State Bar that judges may recuse themselves from hearing the case. Fisher said that there is no legal basis for recusing himself from the case. Neither party objected to him scheduling court dates for the case.

There will be a review and status hearing for the case on Dec. 14 at 9 a.m.

11 thoughts on “Reaser Removal Case to Begin with Signature Certification Review

  • 2021-11-29 at 11:58 am

    I agree wholeheartedly with Julie Briskman that the underlying petition is bogus. Neither Atoosa Reaser nor Brenda Sheridan engaged in a rape coverup. That was a shameful canard put forth by the Stumpin for Youngkin crowd. Their game of treachery has lasted long enough. The people of Loudoun realize what’s going on. Shame on everyone behind this misguided recall effort. Happy Hanukkah Loudoun!

  • 2021-11-29 at 12:02 pm

    The fact that Reaser is a member of the state bar is both amusing and distressing.

    Reaser is an attorney in name only. She doesn’t litigate any cases and doesn’t serve as an attorney in an official capacity. In fact, were she to give legal advice to her fellow board members, that is a potential violation of her ethical commitments to memorialize legal service agreements. Thus, it is amusing that anybody consider her a real attorney to begin with.

    It is also distressing because Reaser is supposed to understand the Constitution and as a previous guardian ad litem (child advocate in domestic cases), she is supposed to try to protect children. Yet, Reaser was a moving force behind the unconstitutional suspension of Tanner Cross. How can you swear to uphold the constitution when you are actively violating constitutional rights of your employees? And Reaser is aware of citizens who are banned from SB meetings despite them constituting no ongoing threat and without tailoring the ban in any way – both are constitutional violations. Reaser constantly lies about “death threats” even though she know none of the emails received meet the legal definition of a “true threat”. And finally, but most importantly, she sat indifferent as LCPS admins released a rapist into the halls of an LCPS high school. And then backed the incompetent LCPS Superintendent when he knowingly and erroneously claimed that Title IX “prevented” LCPS from protecting students from such student rapists.

    This woman is not competent to be a dog catcher, much less in a position of responsibility over Loudoun students or employees.

    • 2021-11-29 at 7:53 pm

      Searching the Virginia State Bar directory fails to find anyone by the name of “Atoosa Reaser.”

  • 2021-11-29 at 1:02 pm

    So Briskman calls the petition bogus without waiting for her friend to verify the signatures. Briskman also talks about how the minority should be able to undue the will of the majority. She ignores the procedures set by the state while also ignoring if a violation of the law has been committed by another friend. She is a political hack.

    There’s no way Biberaj should be handling this case. As the original judge mentioned, there is no way the public would know her true intent.

  • 2021-11-29 at 1:51 pm

    Supervisor Finger Lady Briskman and Buta are divisive and toxic to our community.

    When Finger Lady ever be held accountable for her participation in the secret facebook hate group?

  • 2021-11-29 at 4:40 pm

    County Supervisor Juli Briskman (D- Algonkian) attended Monday’s hearing, along with about a dozen supporters of Reaser. Briskman said that she thinks the majority of Algonkian District residents support Reaser.

    Well Ms. Briskman a removal does not require a majority, it requires 10% and there are more than that number in her district who have signed the petition. Given the exposure of her actions it is doubtful she will maintain the same level of support of her constituents.

  • 2021-11-29 at 4:59 pm

    She and Atoosa are the extreme. Bogus school board member and bogus supervisor.
    And I trust my supervisor when asked by the principal at Algonkian Elementary School to stay across the street during back to school nights, but no, I trust my supervisor not to use a Bull horn at the Naacp rally at Ridgetop Circle, but no, and I trust my supervisor not to use a bull horn at the Miller Drive voting location even after being told to put it away but I don’t trust Juli Briskman. Talk about white women’s privilege, yikes!

    • 2021-11-30 at 10:23 am

      Sort of like Glenn Youngkin, future governor for all Virginians, holding a victory rally outside the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration offices. Talk about white men’s privilege, yikes!

  • 2021-11-30 at 10:20 am

    In my opinion (from two terms of experience on this school board) this is a complicated case. Members of the school board (other than the Chairperson) have significantly less responsibility individually compared to the authority of the board while in session. Mere knowledge of or a charged failure to bring an issue forward is more of a personal ethical issue (in my opinion) unless it is an imminently impending crime which applies to the bar not the school board. The participation in any group with two other school board members discussing school board issues (if this was done) seems to land on individual school board member’s responsibility to my recollection as we were instructed NEVER to do this at the beginning of every term by the general counsel. The decision (again in my opinion) to transfer a student from one high school to another instead of to Douglas which was set up precisely for troubled students and students in trouble would fall on the Superintendent and the full board not an individual school board member. I am disappointed by this entire school board for lots of reasons. As a community there has to be a minimum of competence to qualify to represent Loudoun caring for ALL the children but with this group I don’t see it but to individually going after members instead of the Chair and Superintendent seems a bit unfair. 🙂

  • 2021-11-30 at 3:43 pm

    Why would anybody or organization need to inform or receive guidance from Biberaj’s office for petitions? Especially since this elected official isn’t impartial. ” She also told Judge James A. Fisher that the petitions were drafted and signatures were collected without the knowledge or guidance of her office.”

  • 2021-12-30 at 7:33 pm

    Signatures verified for both Reaser and Sheridan with plenty extra.

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