"I did know it was going to be costly," King says. Still, he maintains, "I never endorsed the cost of the flight."
While on vacation in Kansas, Ramsey decided to return to the county as soon as possible "to be back here with the troops," King says, in the wake of Supervisor Ed Barber's arrest Dec. 29 on charges of sexually assaulting a minor.
King, a licensed pilot, says he approved of the decision and first contacted charter service Dominion Aviation at Ramsey's request Dec. 29. King's catering business is also based at the airport, and King leases space from Dominion. A Dominion pilot told him on Dec. 29 that the charter from Chesterfield to Kansas and back "could cost $20,000," King says, but he didn't inquire further. The details he left to Ramsey.
"I never gave it any thought," he says of the final cost of the flight.
King says he didn't question Ramsey about his decision to charter the jet. But as vice chairman who was soon to become chairman, why didn't he question Ramsey? "He's the leader, he's the one who should run the county," King says.
Supervisor Art Warren says Ramsey informed him during a phone conversation two weeks ago that King knew the price of the flight and didn't protest. Ramsey didn't return several messages from Style seeking comment.
"He told me that Dickie knew about the cost," Warren says of Ramsey. "How could you not know?"
Warren, however, says that it's not unlike Ramsey to absorb blame. "Lane has always taken responsibility, including responsibility for board members' actions," he says, adding that he wasn't informed of Ramsey's decision to charter the flight.
King says he phoned Supervisors Renny Humphrey and Kelly Miller the night of Dec. 29, but was unable to reach Warren. King then boarded the jet when it left Chesterfield County Airport at 4 a.m. Dec. 30 to pick up Ramsey.
At the board's Feb. 22 meeting, Humphrey, Miller and King expressed support for Ramsey's decision to charter the plane so he could return quickly just not the expense of the flight.
Given the circumstances, King says, Ramsey "was doing the right thing."
As for the cost, King says he wasn't in a position to question it as "the freshman board member who was thrust into that role as chairman." He became chairman when Barber relinquished his honorary title shortly after his arrest.S
Style Weekly's mission is to provide smart, witty and tenacious coverage of Richmond. Our editorial team strives to reveal Richmond's true identity through unflinching journalism, incisive writing, thoughtful criticism, arresting photography and sophisticated presentation.
We make sense of the news; pursue those in power; explore the city's arts and culture; open windows on provocative ideas; and help readers know Richmond through its people. We give readers the information to make intelligent decisions.