Top Norfolk officials called to testify in trial of City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot

Posted at 4:22 PM, Nov 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-07 15:38:11-05

Anthony Burfoot

NORFOLK, Va. - The trial for the Norfolk City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot is about to get underway next week and News 3 learned the list of people who could be called to testify.

Dozens of people were issued subpoenas and many of them are high ranking officials.

The list includes former Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim. Chief Deputy Treasurer Amy Ortega, Real Estate Tax staffer Wendy Petchl and other Norfolk City Treasurer’s Office employees were also issued subpoenas.

Also on the list are Norfolk School Board Chairman Rodney Jordan, Norfolk City Council members past and present to include the Vice Mayor Theresa Whibley, District 4's Paul Riddick, District 5's Thomas Smigiel and District 7's Angelia Williams Graves, Barclay Winn and Andrew Protogyrou.

Also on the list are Delegate Daun Sessoms Hester, Pastor Kim Brown, Norfolk City Manager Marcus Jones, former city employee Barbara Zoby, Clerk of Courts employee Crystal Porter, the Clerk of Circuit Court George Schaefer, City Attorney Bernard Pishko, Assistant Director in the Planning Commission Lenny Newcomb, Steve Morales, Keith McNair and Shurl Montgomery.

The City of Norfolk and many of its leaders are about to be put under a microscope in federal court as the trial for Burfoot is scheduled to start Monday.

Lying, stealing and making personal gains at the taxpayers’ expense, that is what the federal prosecutors are accusing Burfoot of doing while in office when he served as Councilman, Vice Mayor and now Treasurer.

Complete coverage: Case against Anthony Burfoot

Federal officials said alleged schemes went on for years.

Burfoot is accused of taking almost a half a million dollars in kickbacks.

Federal prosecutors also said he got work done to his home, a free Mercedes and cash for the mother of his children among other perks.

News 3 reached out to Andrew Sack’s Burfoot’s Attorney who declined an interview with us Monday citing the start of the jury selection but previously told News 3 his client is completely innocent.

“Anthony Burfoot has denied and will continue to deny that he received cash payments from anybody to cast a vote.  It just didn't happen,” said Burfoot.

Federal prosecutors accuse Burfoot of lining his own pockets in exchange to making deals with developers and business owners like Ronnie Boone who just plead guilty to bribery of city officials and bank fraud. He pointed a strong finger at Burfoot.

Court documents outline how the federal government will call numerous witnesses who will detail their own corrupt dealings with Burfoot.

There will also be including several women who say Burfoot brought them to a beach house that they thought was his but in fact was owned by Boone, according to court records.

In documents federal prosecutors state they have video recordings of council meetings, along with bank, phone and other records as evidence for their case including emails.

Court records indicate they’ll bring up Burfoot’s prior testimony during a case in 2013 to prove he lied under oath.

“He is stunned by these accusations,” said Sacks.

75 potential jurors were brought into federal court this week and were asked a series of questions.   They are working to narrow down the jury pool.

Monday is the official start of the trial that could last several weeks.