Virginia Beach Den of Thieves, a/k/a City Council
The City of Virginia Beach, Oceana,
The NAVY, BRAC and MONOPOLY
The Board Walk, Baltic, Mediterian, Hotels, Utilities, Monopolies all.
Get out of Jail Free Cards,
Pass Town Center Get 65 Million
Pass Pacific Avenue at 31st Street get 15 Million
One could ask what the game of MONOPOLY and the city of Virginia Beach have
in common. Before I go into that let me provide you with some background on
Rumor had it that MONOPOLY was first invented in Virginia in 1904 by
Elizabeth (Lizzie) J. Magie. But Magie did not call it MONOPOLY, she called it The
Landlord's Game. Naw you say, as I did until I found that Lizzie had it
patented in 1904 and took the game to Parker Brothers - more on this later. The
game Magie developed had forty spaces, four railroads, two utilities, twenty-two
rental properties, and spaces for Jail, Go to Jail, Luxury Tax, and Parking -
sounds like MONOPOLY to me. The game was Magie’s way to teach the
single-tax theory. Lizzie, a Quaker, was a firm believer in the single-tax
theory's basic tenet, that a person's taxes should be based on the amount of
land that he owned, a popular idea around the turn of the century. Lizzie’s
game spread through word of mouth. Its Rules were relayed from one group of
friends to another and boards and game pieces were homemade.
Magie kept up with the changes, that wider play made in her game, by adapting
the rules to allow improving properties, naming the properties, and giving
players higher rents if they owned a monopoly. In 1924, Magie attempted to
interest George Parker in purchasing the rights to her improved game, but was
turned town on the basis that her game was too political [socoalist].
MONOPOLY, as we know it, came into being in 1934, the height of the Great
Depression, when Charles B. Darrow, an unemployed engineer from Germantown,
Pennsylvania - near Philadelphia, created the game on an oil cloth on his
kitchen table. All the while Darrow was dreaming of fame, fortune, and summers
spent on Magie’s Virginia shore, which explains the game's Virginia Beach City
street names [some legends claim it was the Jersey Shore and Atlantic City].
Patent office and Parker Brother records seem to bear out the former is true.
Darrow showed the game to the executives at Parker Brothers.
It appeared to the brain trust at Parker that the game was doomed to failure
and they rejected it. Can you believe that they rejected the game due to what
they saw as  52 design errors  was too complicated and  would take too
long to play.
Lets not forget that this was the ‘great’ depression and Mr. Darrow, as
many other Americans were unemployed at the time. Darrow needed to make ends
meet. Darrow visioned that the game would lead him to fame and fortune, swimming
pools and movies stars. This exhilaration of wealth and fortune inspired him to
produce MONOPOLY on his own.
With help of a printer friend Darrow produced and sold 5,000 handmade sets of
the game to a Philadelphia department store. People took to the game.
Parker Brothers got another shot at selling the game as demand for MONOPOLY
skyrocket and Darrow found he couldn't keep up with all the orders. It’s not
quite clear who went to whom but in1935 Parker Brothers bought the rights to
Monopoly for an undisclosed sum. Parker Brokers went on to produce the game
under their brand label and MONOPOLY became the best-selling game in
Legend has it that course materials found at University of Pennsylvania’s
economics department s as well as the campuses of Princeton and Harvard shows
that Magie’s game was used as a teaching tool. This would appear to give
weight to the rumors that Darrow was exposed to THE LANDLORD’S GAME while
attending classes at the University of Pennsylvania and reinvented Maggie’s
Now that I’ve told you this interesting story you’re asking yourself what
does this have to do with BRAC, the NAVY, and Virginia Beach. As stated
previously, Monopoly [Magie’s version], was originally intended to be a
teaching tool on money management and taxes. It was intended to show that
property/assets, if carefully managed, provided rewards and if abused had a
powerful and painful bite. The failure to learn the economic lessons are that is
a part of Monopoly results in your losing the game and your play money. If you
over extend yourself in this board game by having no reserves, big hotels that
fail to produce revenues to pay your bills you end up losing it all. Yes you can
have houses and hotels and utilities everywhere but if you don’t have the
reserves or income stream to pay your obligations you lose it all.
In the real live Monopoly game the Virginia Beach Den of Thieves, a/k/a City
Council is playing, when they lose, its not play money nor their money or their
debt, its our money and our debt. Mayor Depends, Vice Mayor Pine Box, Mr. Brain
Freeze, Madam Medicine Ball, Mr. EPA Got Ya, Mr. I Lost the Shipyard, Mr. I Got
All My Family Jobs with the City, and Mr. I Got a Job in Sandbridge Now have not
done well with Monopoly.
The Den of Thieves got greedy, and use/used tunnel vision when they play(ed)
Monopoly. They looked at an income steam that was being produced by OCEANA and
said to themselves, after the city manager, the city attorney’s office, the
planning department staff and planning commissioners and their builder friends -
who provide The Den of Thieves, the city manager, the city attorney’s office,
the planning department staff and planning commissioners trips, dinners,
expensive gifts, and interest in far off land developments at discounted prices
- whispered into their ears, we don’t need to address the NAVY’s concerns,
there is nothing the NAVY can do, they just have to take our rude abusive
The Den of Thieves said we’ll build the hotels too high and in the flight
paths, we’ll change zoning to allow tall hotels and Condos in flight paths,
noise and crash zones. The Den of Thieves said we’ll build houses, shops and
malls in flight paths and crash zones. We’ll build houses and shops close to
the bases where the noise is intolerable. What can the NAVY do? We’ve got the
Monopoly - we make and change the rules at our will and pleasure or for the
pleasure of the developers of hotels, condos, malls and town centers the ones
who give us wonderful gifts.
The Den of Thieves finds nothing wrong with city officials taking trips to
far off expensive places - trips paid for by people looking and getting into the
pockets of the city. They say there is nothing that can be done we’ve got the
The real MONOPOLY holders, the ones that provide the city’s real income
stream, not the pie in sky hotels, convention centers, and town centers, via
BRAC announced they have had enough of the Den of Thieves and are taking their
board pieces somewhere else. They are taking the real income stream with them.
The ones with the pie in sky hotels, convention centers, and town centers have a
board filled with mortgaged property, and the income stream to pay off the debt
is about to go south, somewhere called Cecil Field. This move is going to cost
Virginia 15+ billion dollars and Virginia Beach is looking to be hit for 5+
It looks like Den of Thieves has lost the game.
The Den of Thieves should have invested their energies in taking care of
their long time friend - Oceana - not building debt to benefit cash strapped
private ventures that have questionable income streams.
Who won this 40+ year game of MONOPOLY? It does not appear to be the Den of