By Arlette Saenz
Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, liked to live large.
The couple was indicted in a federal court on Tuesday on federal corruption charges for allegedly illegally accepting dozens of expensive gifts and donations from a wealthy friend. The indictment alleges that the McDonnells used the governor’s position to try to help Jonnie Williams, the CEO of dietary supplement company Star Scientific, in exchange for lavish gifts and donations. The former governor, who left office earlier this month, maintains he did nothing illegal in his interactions with Williams.
Many of the indictment’s most shocking details focus on the activities of former Virginia First Lady Maureen McDonnell, who had Williams take her on a nearly $20,000 shopping spree and even asked him to purchase a Rolex watch for her husband.
Here are five of the most eye-popping details from the 43-page indictment:
1. THE $20,000 SHOPPING SPREE:
The indictment says “JW” (also known as Jonnie Williams) offered to buy Maureen McDonnell an Oscar de la Renta dress for her husband’s inauguration. After one of Bob McDonnell’s senior staffers objected, Mrs. McDonnell sent the following e-mail to the aide complaining about her family’s financial woes:
“I need to talk to you about Inaugural clothing budget. I need answers and Bob is screaming about the thousands I’m charging up in credit card debt. We are broke, have an unconscionable amount in credit card debt already, and this Inaugural is killing us!! I need answers and I need help, and I need to get this done.”
The indictment says Maureen McDonnell told Williams she could not accept the dress, but she would take him up on a “rain check.” Over a year later, Williams took Maureen McDonnell on a New York City shopping spree where he “spent approximately $10,999 at Oscar de la Renta, approximately $5,685 at Louis Vuitton, and approximately $2,604 at Bergdorf Goodman,” according to the indictment. The night of the dinner, Williams was seated next to Gov. McDonnell at a dinner in New York.
2. COUNTRY ROADS (IN A FERRARI):
In late July 2011, the McDonnell family spent time at Jonnie Williams’ vacation home on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. Before the trip, Maureen McDonnell called Williams “to ask whether JW’s Ferrari would be at the house” for her husband to drive, the indictment reads. Williams had a Star Scientific employee drive the Ferrarri from Richmond to Smith Mountain Lake.
Days later, “MAUREEN MCDONNELL sent an email to JW that contained no text but had an attached picture of ROBERT MCDONNELL driving JW’s Ferrari,” the indictment says.
3. BLING, BLING: A CUSTOMIZED ROLEX
In August of 2011, Maureen McDonnell asked Williams to purchase a Rolex watch, bearing the engraving ’71st Governor of Virginia’ on the back, for her husband.
“MAUREEN MCDONNELL told JW that she wanted JW to buy a Rolex for ROBERT MCDONNELL. JW subsequently bought a Rolex for ROBERT MCDONNELL,” the indictment reads.
Maureen McDonnell later gave the watch to her husband as a Christmas gift.
4. ALL A LOAN:
In May 2011, Maureen McDonnell asked Williams for a $50,000 loan while also telling him that she could help his company. She also informed him that the couple needed additional money to pay for the catering at their daughter’s wedding.
“MAUREEN MCDONNELL informed JW that she and ROBERT MCDONNELL were having severe financial difficulties. MAUREEN MCDONNELL asked JW for a $50,000 loan. MAUREEN MCDONNELL also told JW that she could help Star Scientific but that she needed JW’s financial assistance,” the indictment says.
Later that month, Williams wrote the couple a check for a $50,000 loan and a $15,000 check labeled as a “wedding gift.” When Maureen McDonnell deposited the $50,000 check in her personal bank account, the prior account balance was $4,798.
5. COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET?:
If convicted, the couple will have to turn over the following items to the federal government, according to the indictment:
The sum of not less than $140,805.46;
Black Rebecca Minkoff shoes;
Black Louis Vuitton shoes;
White Louis Vuitton shoes;
Cream Louis Vuitton purse;
Cream Louis Vuitton wallet;
Silver Rolex Watch engraved with “71s1 Governor of Virginia”;
Yellow Peter Som dress;
Blue Armani jacket and two matching dresses;
Two Gold Oscar de la Renta dresses;
Black Louis Vuitton rain coat;
Gold Oscar de le Renta sweater;
One pair of Amelia Rose earrings;
One Gear sweatshirt;
Two pairs of Foot Joy golf shoes;
One button-down Ralph Lauren shirt;
One white Peter Millar golf shirt;
One baby blue striped Peter Millar golf shirt;
One royal blue Peter Millar golf shirt;
One aqua Fairway Greene Tech golf shirt;
One white striped Ralph Lauren golf shirt;
One Ping University of Virginia golf bag;
One Ping Kinloch golf bag;
One Sun Mountain Notre Dame golf bag;
Two sets of golf clubs;
One Heather Mackenzie water color and frame;
Two iPhones; and
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