Arrest warrants issued for Council member

michael reis


Patriot Publishing

Pulaski Town Council Member Michael Reis has been charged with three Class 1 misdemeanors and one Class 3 Misdemeanor relating to alleged ethics violations while serving on town council. According to these Warrants, at some time on or about January 2021 and through April 2024, Reis allegedly violated Virginia Statues related to ethics and conflicts of interest.

The charges stem from Reis’s relationship with the Calfee Community & Cultural Center, where his wife, Jill Williams, serves as Co-Executive Director.

Williams also serves as the “Principal Consultant” for Wide Angle Strategies LLC, which is involved in the proposed renovations set to take place at the Calfee CCC. Information obtained by a FOIA request reveals that Wide Angle Strategies could have profited handsomely from Calfee’s receipt of a proposed $1 million dollar federal EDA grant.

In addition to serving on the Pulaski Town Council, Michael Reis serves as the Registered Agent for both the Calfee CCC and Wide Angle Strategies. According to Forbes, “A registered Agent is a person or entity you have appointed to handle necessary government, tax and legal correspondence about your business.”

Reis is charged with violating the Code of Virginia statute 2.2-3103, which the arrest warrant specifies as, “Accepting any money, loan, gift, favor, service, business or professional opportunity that reasonably tends to influence him/her in the performance of his/her official duties.”

Reis is also charged with violating statute 2.2-3109 of the Virginia Code. According to the arrest warrant, Reis violated the statute, “while being an officer or employee of any governmental agency of local government, hav[ing]a personal interest in a contract with the agency of which he is an officer or employee.”

The third violation that Reis is accused of is a breach of the Code of Virginia Statute 2.2-3115 which specifies: “That while being an officer or employee of a local government who has a personal interest in any transaction or which he is an officer or employee, fail[ed] to disclose the existence of the interest.”

A video focusing on the potential conflict of interest between Reis’s role on council and Jill Williams’ employment as Co-Executive Director of Calfee CCC and Principal for Wide Angle Strategies, was widely viewed on You Tube in the Summer of 2023. The video features a meeting of the town council that was held on Sept. 6, 2022. In the clip, Reis brings up the idea of funding for Calfee CCC.

“We got a request from the Calfee Community and Cultural Center for money in order to match an EDA grant of up to a million dollars,” said Reis. “The United States Economic Development Agency has a program where they will grant a million dollars, as long as there is a 20% match. So, the request is the town provide $100,000 and the county provide $100,000 to be the 20% match for that million dollars, which would put them much, much closer to having enough funds to get a contract and start construction.”

“I think we should make a motion to approve, assuming we get the matching and the grants and all that kind of stuff,” said Reis in closing.

No vote was taken on the matter at that Sept. 6, 2022 meeting of the town council.

The video, listed as Pulaski Town Council – Michael Reis Conflict of Interest Calfee Project, can be found on You Tube at

The video shows excerpts from an email dated May 2023 from Calfee CCC President Mickey Hickman to Pulaski County officials, who inquired about Reis’s potential conflict of interests.

The email reads: “It is my understanding that when CCCC matters require a vote of the council, he (Reis) abstains from that vote. I see nothing unusual about the role of Michael Reis that should cause any concern about the CCCC.”

The video then shows a form titled State and Local Statement of Economic Interests, which bears the signature of Michael Reis. Under a section labeled business interests, Reis confirms that he or a member of his immediate family could profit up to $250,000 from his affiliation with Wide Angle Strategies LLC.

After seeing the allegations made in the video, Pulaski County Supervisor Dirk Compton brought his concerns to Pulaski County Commonwealth’s Attorney Justin Griffith. Compton was named as the Complainant in the case but Griffith, because of his own concerns about the appearance of a potential conflict of interest, sent the investigation to the Tazewell Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to investigate. Tazewell consented and after an investigation led by the Virginia State Police, Tazewell Commonwealth’s Attorney Katie Asbury filed the charges against Reis.

Jill Williams made a presentation asking for Calfee CCC funding at the Sept. 20, 2022, meeting of the Town Council. When the vote was taken on funding, on Oct. 18, 2022, Reis abstained and all other council members voted in favor of the funding. The Town’s pledge letter committing $100,000 in required local matching funds was recently renewed by the Town of Pulaski Administration. A new vote was not taken, as no new members of council had been elected since the original agreement was made.

Thereafter, the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors agreed to contribute the $100,000 in matching funds to Calfee CCC, as long as all monies went directly for construction/renovation and not be used in any way for salaries or payroll.

“Because of the County’s stipulation here, we will not be requesting the up to 10% grant admin fees allowed with the EDA request,” Williams wrote in an email to County Administrator Jonathan Sweet. “We were originally planning to request 3-5% to pay a firm (perhaps mine, if selected in a competitive procurement process).”

The Pulaski Board of Supervisors had agreed to provide matching funding for the grant with certain stipulations but that vote was held before newly elected members of the board had taken their seats. To provide these matching grant funds to Calfee CCC, this new board of supervisors must again vote on the matter.

Michael Reis gave this statement about the charges against him.

“On Friday, April 19 I was formally charged with 4 misdemeanors related to my service on Town Council.  Unfortunately, due to the state of our criminal law, I am still in the dark about the details of any alleged violations of law except the most general accusations of conflict of interest.  What can be said is that I have always put the interests of the community ahead of my own. If anything, my family is in a worse position financially due to public service.  Fortunately, I have excellent legal representation and the resources to challenge the sufficiency and accuracy of these charges (once I find out what they are). I am appreciative of the support from family and friends, though explaining to my children that I am threatened with jail has been a difficult time as a parent.

“While I do not know the particulars of the charges, I do know that they were instigated and enabled by certain people in our community who care more about their public image than the public trust, who use their position, power and influence to discourage public involvement in matters affecting the public and who hide behind the very same laws I am accused of breaking.  During the past year I have learned that many more people than I have been bullied and abused for raising issues of public importance.  Regardless of the outcome of these legal matters, I will continue to ask questions and speak out on matters of community importance and to use my time and effort to support others who are unfairly targeted for doing the same.”

Class 1 Misdemeanors are the most serious class of misdemeanors with punishments that could potentially include a 12-month jail term and as much as a $2,500 fine or both.

Reis was summoned to appear in Pulaski County District Court at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 8.