Virginia Lawmaker Supporting Fairfax Casino Push Has Long Ties to Interested Developer

Posted on: November 28, 2023, 08:31h. 

Last updated on: November 29, 2023, 09:57h.

A Virginia lawmaker supportive of allowing residents in Fairfax County to consider a commercial casino development has a lengthy relationship with an area real estate developer who has expressed interest in building such a Las Vegas-style resort.

Virginia casino Comstock Clemente Fairfax
Comstock Companies CEO Chris Clemente poses with a project model. Clemente and his son, Nick Clemente, have reportedly been friends with the state lawmaker who is seeking to allow a casino project in Fairfax County. (Image: Virginia Business)

Del. Wren Williams (R-Stuart) in January introduced a bill to the Virginia General Assembly that sought to qualify Fairfax County as a permissible casino host.

If the bill had passed the legislature and had been signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors would have been authorized to field casino proposals and put a project referendum before voters.

The legislation, along with an identical bill in the Senate introduced by Sen. David Marsden (D-Burke), was rescinded just a week after being introduced. Williams and Marsden later reasoned the gaming legislation would be given more appropriate consideration during the 2024 session.

Williams and Developer Go Way Back

Patch, a hyperlocal news media platform, reports this week that Williams and the family that owns Comstock Companies, a regional real estate developer that has expressed interest in building a casino resort in Fairfax, have long ties. Michael O’Connell, the field editor for Patch in Northern Virginia, reports that Comstock Companies CEO Chris Clemente contributed $12,500 to Williams’ 2023 campaign.

Williams, 34 years old and a native of Stuart, essentially won the 9th district seat when he upset seven-term Republican Charles Poindexter in the Republican primary in June 2021. He easily won that year’s November election and assumed office in January 2022.

Williams’ 2023 campaign contributions included a $500 donation from the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, a contribution that, Patch reports, was authorized by Clemente’s son, Nick Clemente. The younger Clemente is a lobbyist working on behalf of the North Virginia Chamber who has financial administrative power over the organization’s political lobbying activities.

Ties Don’t End There

Patch adds that Williams helped Nick Clemente during his 2021 campaign for state office. Clemente challenged Democratic incumbent Del. Wendy Gooditis in the 10th district, which includes portions of Clarke, Frederick, and Loudoun counties.

Williams campaigned for Clemente and sang his praises on X.

It was fun knocking on doors yesterday in the beautiful fall weather for Nick Clemente in Northern Virginia,” Williams tweeted. “We had great conversations with many voters who hadn’t been following the election and weren’t going to vote or who feel forgotten by the Democrat party and are now considering supporting the Republican ticket.”

Williams continued that a vote for Clemente is a vote against CRT (critical race theory) in public schools. Clemente lost to Gooditis by less than 1,000 votes.

Comstock Companies

Comstock Companies dates back to 1985 and today bills itself as the leading real estate developer in the Dulles Corridor. The company says it has $1.5 billion and four million square feet of operating assets under management, and $3.2 billion in projects in development.

Comstock’s retail projects include Reston Station, Loudoun Station, Rockville Station, and The Hartford at Clarendon Station. The mixed-use developments include residential, office, retail, and dining space.

Comstock also developed the JW Marriott that overlooks Reston Row at the Silver Line Metro.