Henrico school board member’s husband resigned from advisory board

Posted at 7:55 PM, Aug 13, 2013

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -- Joe Winston, husband of embattled Henrico school board member Diana Winston, held a prominent position in the Henrico County school division, while his promotional company did business with county schools.

According to county documents, Joe Winston was appointed by the superintendent in 2009 to serve on the county's Career and Technical Advisory Council. Winston also served as president of the council, until his resignation earlier this month.

On Monday, the Henrico School Board asked the Commonwealth's Attorney to look into a potential conflict of interest involving Diana Winston and her husband's company, TechnoMarketing.

Published reports show TechnoMarketing has done thousands of dollars in business with the school division since 2005, which predates Diana Winston's election to the school board in 2007 and Joe Winston's appointment to the council in 2009.

Diana Winston officially resigned from the school board on Monday, after allegations of an unprofessional relationship with school superintendent Patrick Russo surfaced last week. [BONUS: Click here to read Winston's resignation letter {PDF}]

Winston and Russo are close family friends, along with their spouses.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, CBS 6 obtained several emails showing friendly banter between Diana Winston and Russo. However, several emails were withheld by the school division because the emails were of a "personal" nature and not tied to county business. [Emails show ex-board member defended embattled superintendent]

Russo remains on paid annual leave, while the school board also looks into allegations of inappropriate emails involving his office.

Andy Jenks, a spokesperson for Henrico County Schools, says he's unaware if Joe Winston's resignation on Aug. 3 had anything to do with the ongoing investigation or internal review by the school board.

Jenks says Winston's role was to provide career and technical support to students, by creating contacts in the business community.

Diana Winston's resignation from the school board goes into effect on Aug. 21.