Councilman Bill Moody files lawsuit against City of Portsmouth

Posted at 1:13 PM, Apr 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-21 18:04:22-04


PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Councilman Bill Moody has filed a lawsuit against the City of Portsmouth for a fine he received in January for allegedly violating the confidentiality of a closed Council session.

Moody was fined $1,500 for posting on Facebook about a discussion on the city's Confederate monument that happened during a closed-door session.

The post read:

"Was informed that our confederate war monument will be discussed in closed session tonight as it pertains to the Danville case. Appears that the issue of removing it is still in play."

Moody's attorney, Kevin Martingayle, said they have a problem with the rule that restricts what can be said to the public and  with the way the decision was made to discipline Moody.

Moody said he was appalled to receive a letter that was signed by Mayor Kenny Wright  and four council members informing him of the fine.

Martingale stressed the lawsuit is not about Moody making financial gains:

"We are not interested in creating a source of revenue for Bill Moody, that's not what this is about.  This is about getting everybody to settle down.  Let's get rid of a bad rule, and unconstitutional rule, let's not do that anymore each other and let's make sure we do meetings correctly. There's a way to do it, there's a way not to do it and the way that it was done in this instance is dead wrong"

Click here to read the complete lawsuit.

Moody paid the fine in cash but said he didn't think it was fair he was being disciplined for explaining to the public what council was talking about.

Martingayle said they are trying to get this issue resolved as quickly as possible and that the case could be in court within the next 10 days.

NewsChannel 3 reached out to the Mayor Wright who said he had no comment.

We also reached out to the Portsmouth City attorney late Thursday afternoon and did not hear back.

Previous Coverage:

Portsmouth city councilman Bill Moody fined for Facebook post: “I will not be muzzled”

Portsmouth residents unhappy following arrest of Mayor, fine of Councilman

Fines, future of Portsmouth city auditor voted on