Virginia Beach, Va. - Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms has been placed on paid administrative leave from his position as President of Towne Financial Services Group, TowneBank announced Wednesday morning.
A statement from TowneBank says the bank will conduct a "thorough review of the facts and circumstances related to the media allegations concerning his votes on the Virginia Beach City Council."
It had been reported this week that Mayor Sessoms was voting on numerous projects that would benefit TowneBank.
Sessoms posted a comment to his Facebook page on Tuesday stating in part, "What has been best for Virginia Beach has always been a priority for me. I would never intentionally put Virginia Beach’s or TowneBank’s integrity in jeopardy."
The bank says they will not have any further comment until the review is complete.
Colin Stolle, the Commonwealth's Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach has decided to ask the Circuit Court to appoint a Special Prosecutor to review this matter due to conflicts that would violate the ethical rules of the Supreme Court.
He issued the following statement on Wednesday:
“As the chief law enforcement officer for the city of Virginia Beach, it is my responsibility to review any allegation of wrongdoing by local public officials. It’s important that any such review be above reproach to ensure the public has confidence that any resulting investigation is impartial. When I was made aware of the allegations involving Mayor Sessoms, I sought an ethical opinion from the Virginia State Bar based on potential conflicts that could arise. The Virginia State Bar ruled that it would be a violation of the ethical rules of the Supreme Court for me, or even my office, to be involved in any potential investigation. As a result, I will ask the Circuit Court to appoint a Special Prosecutor to review this matter.”
Stolle further provided a list of the conflicts in this matter that was sent to the Virginia State Bar, which included that his wife is an employee of TowneBank, his brother serves as a Board Member for TowneBank, Mayor Sessoms made financial contributions to his campaign for Commonwealth's Attorney, and the fact that the Virginia Beach City Council votes on budgetary supplements for the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney.
NewsChannel 3 is working to gather more information and it will be posted as it becomes available.