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Special prosecutor examining actions of former Virginia Beach city employee

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Posted at 4:57 PM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 17:00:52-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A special prosecutor has been appointed to examine the actions of a former Virginia Beach city employee.

Bob Matthias retired from the city on January 1 after serving as assistant to the city manager. In that role, Matthias oversaw the awarding of a lobbying contract to Principle Advantage Government Relations Group while also negotiating a potential job with the company, according to a copy of a city auditor memo obtained by News 3.

City Auditor Lyndon Remias conducted an investigation into ethical concerns raised by new City Manager Patrick Duhaney, according to the memo.

Matthias' actions are now being reviewed to see if he violated the Public Procurement Act. Matthias hasn't responded to a phone call or text message from News 3 seeking his response.

Remias notified Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney Collin Stolle about the findings of the investigation, the memo says. Stolle said he had a conflict of interest because he's worked with Matthias, according to a Commonwealth's Attorney spokesperson. The case is now being reviewed by the Commonwealth's Attorney of Accomack County, who will be a special prosecutor.

City code prevents certain city employees from being hired by a company contracted by the city for a year, according to the memo. Remias noted two emails sent from Matthias on behalf of Principle Advantage in December prior to his official city retirement.

Later, the CEO of Principle Advantage informed the city manager Matthias was not an employee and would not become an employee, according the memo.

The lobbying contract with Principle Advantage was originally supposed to last for three years, but was amended to one to end after one on June 30.

News 3 will provide updates as this story develops.