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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

More on the Redskins Training Camp Money Woes

Posted By on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 at 7:49 AM

The city built the Redskins a $10-million training facility.
  • The city built the Redskins a $10-million training facility.

The city’s economic development authority still hasn’t figured out how or if it will come up with the $550,000 payment it’s promised the Redskins to compensate them for practicing in Richmond over the summer.

The Times-Dispatch reports the authority’s director said he had “nothing to report” on the financial discussions, though the city’s contract with the team calls for a meeting on the issue “no later” than Dec. 1.

Style reported in October that the training camp, which the authority built for the team using a $10 million loan from the city, has struggled to meet revenue projections.

The authority has failed to come up with projected sponsorships and struggled to lease office space at the facility.

The authority was scheduled to make a $1.9 million payment to the city on that loan this year. That hasn’t happened. Board members said at the time they still needed to discuss how and when they’ll begin repaying the city.

Complicating matters, sponsorship money from Bon Secours that was set to go toward repaying the loan could end up being transferred to the Redskins to cover the $550,000 payment they’re due, authority members said.

Redskins President Bruce Allen is scheduled to talk to the media on Wednesday.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Joe Morrissey is Resigning

But he's going to run for his seat again in a special election.

Posted By on Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 11:04 AM

SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist

Delegate Joe Morrissey says he's resigning his seat in the House of Delegates, but he plans to run for his seat in the special election triggered by his decision to step down.

"Let's let the voters decide and I'm looking forward to their verdict," Morrissey told a crowd of reporters in his office on Thursday.

That means Morrissey -- as his colleagues have feared -- could wind up commuting from jail in New Kent County for the coming General Assembly session.

Morrissey is serving a six-month jail sentence for a conviction of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Morrissey was granted work release by a judge last week after entering an Alford plea in the case, meaning he could have continued serving in the General Assembly from jail.

Morrissey's resignation is effective January 13, the day of a special election to fill the seat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Morning Links

Judkins is in court this morning, the city is moving on plans to launch a bike share program and more on Joe Morrissey.

Posted on Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 7:55 AM

A lawsuit the city’s finance director, Sharon Judkins, filed against the city auditor, Umesh Dalal, comes to court this morning for a motions hearing at 9 a.m.

Among other things, Judkins is asking a judge to let her introduce an amended complaint that adds the city as a defendant.

Judkins alleges Dalal defamed her and acted negligently when he released an audit questioning a $400,000 boost in her retirement benefits before she left the city.

In other news:

If Joe Morrissey is booted from the House of Delegates by his colleagues, it would be the first time that’s happened since 1876. [Washington Post]

Sheriff Mike Wade, who is overseeing Morrissey’s sentence, answered a lot of questions yesterday about how that’s working out. He also released a map showing Morrissey’s travels that day, as tracked by the GPS bracelet on his ankle. [Scrum]

The city is moving forward with plans to install a bike share program by September 2015. [Times-Dispatch]

Style sent a food reviewer to check out Stone Brewing Co.’s West Coast restaurant and give you an idea of what’s coming to Richmond. [Style]

A woman says she was shot at while chasing an alleged puppy robber. [Times-Dispatch]

VCU Health System accidentally gave CDs containing patient files to local art students. [WRIC]

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Delegate’s Stay

Joe Morrissey says he’s moving forward. The sheriff details the jail arrangements.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Henrico Sheriff Mike Wade answered nearly every conceivable question the public might have this morning about Joe Morrissey’s stay in jail. The state delegate is serving a six-month sentence for a conviction of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. A judge granted him work release so he can serve in the General Assembly and continue to practice law.

Where can he go?

His law office on Nine Mile Road and the General Assembly. And if he has any political events, he can attend as long as they’re submitted to and approved by the sheriff. During Wade’s news conference, Morrissey called Wade’s cell phone to inform him that he planned to leave his office.

Why was he allowed to go to church?

Because he’s a politician and it was a political appearance, Wade says: “I think being a politician, if you know Joe you know his biggest base is in African-American churches in his district,” Wade says. “Part of his job as a politician is to go out and meet constituents.”

When is he in jail?

He must report back at 7:30 p.m. and is allowed to leave again at 7:30 a.m. He’s being housed in a special work-release dorm at Henrico County Jail East in New Kent County.

Is he eating jail food?

Most work-release inmates eat their meals outside of the jail. Morrissey is allowed to stop at restaurants as long as they aren’t too far out of his way. After he attended a church service Sunday morning he went to a barbecue restaurant, but it was closed.

Does he get to go home for Christmas?

Yes. All work-release inmates at the Henrico Jail get 10 hours with their families on Christmas day.

Where’s he been in the past four hours?

Here’s a picture showing his movements Tuesday morning, as tracked by the sheriff department and the ankle bracelet it's requiring Morrissey to wear.

HENRICO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Henrico County Sheriff's Office

What does his ankle bracelet look like?

Again, a picture:

NED OLIVER
  • Ned Oliver

Is he required to wear a jail jumpsuit?

No, he must report to jail at night in the clothes he plans to sleep in. Wade says he recommends sweat pants.

If he’s changing clothes in his office, who washes them?

That’s up to him. Wade figures someone’s probably doing it for him. He says he gave Morrissey permission Tuesday morning to go to his house to pick up more clothing.

What if he doesn’t have 12 hours’ worth of work to do in a day?

Morrissey can generally do what he wants while he’s at one of his offices -- as Wade says, the jail has no way to stop him from wasting all his time on Facebook if he wants.

***

Morrissey also spoke to Style on Tuesday in a short phone call:

How is he handling the jail sentence?

“It’s just another life experience,” Morrissey says. “You go on, you move forward. I don’t want to sound cheeky or smart-alecky, but it doesn’t change my life. I’m a pretty focused individual. Things will go on and I will have my day.”

When will he decide whether to resign your seat in the House of Delegates?

Thursday.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Joe Morrissey, in His Own Words

Posted By on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 1:41 PM

A member of New Kingdom Christian Ministries embraces embattled Delegate Joe Morrissey during a church service Sunday. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • A member of New Kingdom Christian Ministries embraces embattled Delegate Joe Morrissey during a church service Sunday.

State Delegate Joe Morrissey is serving a six-month sentence in Henrico County Jail for a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Prosecutors alleged he had sex with a 17-year-old receptionist at his law office.

But because a judge granted him work release and he’s employed as a politician, he was able to leave jail to make a public appearance at a Highland Springs church in his district on Sunday. Here’s what he told the congregation and reporters.

Morrissey on why he attended church Sunday:

It's good to be back here at New Kingdom Christian Ministries. You know, it's a gorgeous morning. So was yesterday. I woke up in New Kent County at a facility called the Henrico County Jail East. And at about 4:20 I had breakfast, then I got on the road at 5:58 and I saw the sunrise and I was absolutely convinced that God is good. God is good.

Now, I got to my office at 6:25 - 6:30, and I had several messages. There was even a reporter there waiting. And several of those messages were from pastors and said 'Joe, why don't you come to church to speak.' One of those was Pastor Young, who invited me to come here.

I've actually been to New Kingdom so many times I think that pastor's put me on the tithing program. But he said, 'Just come and talk to the folks.' I said, 'Ok.'

Morrissey on why he didn't go to trial:

Continue reading »

Open Book

A councilman proposes publishing a register of every payment the city makes.

Posted By on Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 11:28 AM

City Councilman Jon Baliles has introduced legislation that would require city administrators to publish the city’s check register online. It would offer an open accounting of whom the city pays and why.

“It’s definitely a win for transparency,” Baliles says.

The School Board recently implemented a similar measure. Administrators update a searchable database of expenditures twice a week. A recent search of the database reveals the schools’ music departments spent $187 on Christmas music from a sheet music supplier this month, and another $47 for “happy music.”

The database also lets the public delve into reimbursements for specific employees, showing, for example, that Superintendent Dana T. Bedden was reimbursed $2,000 in moving expenses, and that shortly after his hiring, the district paid $2,000 for him to fly to China to attend an education summit.

“Governments that take a proactive lead in disclosing payment-register information hold themselves accountable to constituents,” says a memo attached to Baliles’ proposed ordinance.

The proposal would exclude payroll and personnel payments, but include reimbursements for travel and the like.

Council staff members say implementing the ordinance should cost the city nothing. The measure is schedule for a public hearing at council’s Jan. 12 meeting.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Political Prisoner

Sheriff explains the terms of Delegate Joe Morrissey’s daily work release from jail.

Posted By on Sun, Dec 14, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Delegate Joe Morrissey speaks to reporters Sunday after attending a church service in north Richmond. - SCOTT ELMQUIST
  • Scott Elmquist
  • Delegate Joe Morrissey speaks to reporters Sunday after attending a church service in north Richmond.

Henrico County Sheriff Mike Wade confirmed Sunday that Delegate Joe Morrissey will be allowed to continue his political activities as part of a work release program at the jail.

That includes making public appearances and speaking to the media, Wade said: “That’s part of his job as a politician.”

Morrissey is serving a six-month sentence for a charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. That didn’t stop him from attending a church service Sunday morning, at which he was greeted with whoops and cheers.

Afterward, he spoke to the media, addressing bipartisan calls for his resignation from his colleagues in the General Assembly.

Morrissey, who prosecutors say had sex with the 17-year-old receptionist at his law office, said he hasn’t decided whether he’ll resign.

If he doesn’t, Democratic lawmakers have promised to do everything in their power to have him expelled. If not, through the jail’s work release program, he could work in the state legislature during the day and spend his nights in jail.

Morrissey was granted work release by a judge, but the terms of that release are granted by the jail.

Wade says Morrissey submits a list of his planned activities to the jail for approval, and under the terms of Morrissey’s work release, he can go to whatever events or meetings are necessary for his job.

“That’s why he has to wear the ankle bracelet,” Wade says.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Work Release

Delegate Joe Morrissey will sleep in jail at night and serve in the General Assembly by day.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 3:03 PM

joe5.jpg

Delegate Joe Morrissey entered an Alford plea Friday in underage sex case against him, meaning he admits there are sufficient facts to convict him but he denies his guilt.

He’s been sentenced to 12 months in the Richmond City Jail, with six months suspended, and he’s been granted work release so he can serve in the General Assembly in the coming session.

Morrissey had faced upwards of 40 years if he had been convicted of the felony charges against him. He ended up pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Police said Morrissey engaged in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old receptionist in his law office. In his defense, Morrissey said he thought the woman was 22 and said he never engaged in a relationship with her. He said the evidence against him was planted on his phone by a jealous hacker.

This will be the second time Morrissey has served time in jail while he held public office. He was the city’s commonwealth’s attorney at the time and did a five-day stint in 1992 after a court house fight with an opposing lawyer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dwight Jones Sitting at a Conference Table with Two Dogs

Or, put more boringly: city employees pose in pet calendar.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones sits in his conference room with two dogs. Rachel Day, a recent VCU graduate, donated her services as a photographer for the fundraising calendar.
  • Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones sits in his conference room with two dogs. Rachel Day, a recent VCU graduate, donated her services as a photographer for the fundraising calendar.

The city’s department of animal care and control put out a 2015 calendar to raise money for medical costs in its shelter.

The result is, among other things, a photo of Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones grinning while he sits at a conference table with two pit bulls.

“I believe there is something for everyone in this calendar,” Jones said in a statement. “I’m collecting a few that I will use as holiday gifts since being at a conference table with Pit Bulls is definitely a first for me. We joked during the shoot that the dogs were at City Hall to discuss the number of fire hydrants needed in the city.”

The calendar also features police, fire and other city officials, the statement says. The calendars are $10 and available at animal care and control’s offices at 1600 Chamberlayne Avenue, any city police precinct, Carytown Bicycle Company and the department of public utilities office at City Hall.

Samuels Out as Council President; Clear Path for Mosby

How her ascendancy could be seen as a coup for the mayor.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 10:05 AM

Michelle Mosby
  • Michelle Mosby

City Councilman Charles Samuels says he's no longer seeking reelection by his colleagues to serve as council president for another two-year term. The move paves the way for first-year Councilwoman Michelle Mosby to take the spot.

"Yesterday I informed my colleagues on Richmond City Council that I am withdrawing my name for consideration as Richmond City Council President," Samuels, who represents the Fan, said in a statement. "I have also spoken with Councilwoman Mosby on her expected nomination and installation as Council President in January and congratulated her."

Mosby has been lobbying for the position for months, according to multiple sources. Councilman Chris Hilbert is expected to become vice president.

Though the position largely is symbolic -- the president mainly is responsible for setting the agenda and presiding over meetings -- Mosby's rise could be seen a coup for Mayor Dwight Jones. As a council member, Mosby has supported all of Jones' major legislative proposals. Samuels has been more of a swing vote, but notably opposed Jones' proposal to build a ballpark development in Shockoe Bottom.

Mosby's rise in city politics has been quick and unexpected. Though she handily beat incumbent Councilman Doug Conner in the 9th District, her election was a surprise to political observers.

"Bluntly, I didn't see her coming," Jones' senior policy adviser, David Hicks, said at the time. "The election was what it was, but knock on wood, I try not to get caught by surprise too often, but this is an instance in which I was."

Since then, she's chalked up some successes. The first piece of legislation she introduced, which prevents the city from asking job applicants for certain positions whether they've been convicted of a felony, passed easily and advanced one of her major policy initiatives: To make it easier for ex-offenders to rebuild their lives after a criminal conviction.

Mosby also has experienced some missteps. CBS-6 reported in September that Mosby hired a man living with her as her council liaison, a position that pays between $23,000 and $60,000 a year.

Mosby told the station that she and her liaison aren't romantically involved and don't share a bathroom.

“I have a problem with the fact that everyone wants me to help 23,000 people I don’t know, but I can’t help a friend I’ve been knowing all my life? How fair is that?” Mosby told the station.

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