State police to investigate Norfolk bribery allegations

Posted at 11:00 PM, Mar 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-26 23:28:37-04

Norfolk, Va. - Norfolk City Manager Marcus Jones said Tuesday night he has asked State Police to investigate a pair of city construction supervisors accused of taking nearly $40,000 in bribes from a plumber.

The only trick: Jones doesn't know who they are.

The city supervisors are described in federal documents made public last week as "Person A" and "Person B." Councilman Andy Protogyrou said Tuesday neither the FBI nor the U.S. Attorney's office has revealed the identities to city leaders. The only person named is the person facing charges, Norfolk businessman Andrew T. Zoby Jr.

"The manager, going to the state police, allows the state police to begin their investigation and hopefully we will receive those names quickly," Protogyrou said.

The charges were filed on Thursday, but until Tuesday, city officials repeatedly declined to answer any questions. NewsChannel 3 reported this week that even though the city knew the plumbing company was under federal investigation, it kept working with the company through at least last week. Again, the city refused to comment, but on Tuesday Jones said they have since ended ties with the company.

Jones said federal authorities asked the city to keep quiet about the case. But Protogyrou said once the charges were filed in open court last week, the city was free to answer some questions, but did not until Tuesday's council meeting.

"The transparency has been reached today," he said. "Unfortunately it is three days late."

Protogyrou has lamented repeatedly that the city has been too slow to address scandals, damaging the city's reputation.

Sources tell NewsChannel 3 one of the accused plumbing supervisors is no longer with the city, but the other one is still employed.

Lawyers who have read the charging documents written by Assistant United States Attorney Robert J. Seidel Jr. say it appears from the way the documents are crafted that Zoby is cooperating with the government, and that the real target is likely the unnamed city supervisors.

Zoby does not yet have a court date scheduled. His contracts with the city go back more than a decade.