Judges rule in favor of Virginia Beach city councilman amid challenge to where he lives

Posted at 10:42 AM, Jan 08, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - David Nygaard can sit on city council and cast votes, a panel of three judges ruled during a court hearing on Tuesday.

Still, the overall issue of where Nygaard lives will head to a two-day trial in February.

The first meeting is being held on Tuesday night. The judges ruled Nygaard's votes will count amid the ongoing legal challenge to his residency.

"The 60,000 citizens of the Beach district need to have representation," Nygaard said after the ruling. "That the injunction was denied - I'm relieved by that."

John Uhrin, who was the incumbent, lost in November and a subsequent recount to Nygaard. Amid the recount,Uhrin has challenged whether Nygaard is eligible to serve on city council in the Beach district, contesting Nygaard doesn't actually live in the district.

Uhrin filed an injunction, requesting that Nygaard not be able to sit on city council until the issue is addressed, but the judges ruled against Uhrin.

"There is a very real threat of irreparable injury to [Uhrin], and to the citizens of the City generally, if an individual who is ultimately determined by this Court to be legally incapable of holding the office is permitted to cast votes of public policy and otherwise to exercise the powers of office," an attorney for Uhrin wrote in a court document.

In response, Nygaard filed a court document containing his leases for two properties in the district. He says he was living in a duplex on 20th Street, but now lives in an apartment near the Convention Center.

“It's unfortunate that my predecessor filed motions to disenfranchise and discriminate against nearly 50,000 voters and over 60,000 Beach residents in precincts he never visited during the campaign," Nygaard said in a statement.

Nygaard's residency was also previously investigated by the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office. In an October letter, Colin Stolle said there was "insufficient evidence" that Nygaard was lying about where he lives.

Nygaard is confident he will prevail during a trial next month. "I'm confident because the facts are completely in my favor," he said.

John Uhrin did not attend Tuesday's court hearing.