Mayor Jones responds to ‘Churchgate’ allegations

"If we find out that something's not right, we'll take action"

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones was in the hot seat as he delivered his final State of the City address Thursday evening. In addition to countless snow removal complaints, the mayor also had to face more questions about a recent abuse of time report.

On Thursday, 8News revealed hundreds of emails that showed more ties between City Hall and the mayor’s church. 8News Investigative reporter Kerri O’Brien questioned the mayor about those email’s following Thursday’s address.

“The matter has been turned over to the state police and we’re waiting for their report,” Mayor Jones said. “When we have something to say, we’ll say something.”

8News found hundreds of emails to and from the DPW Director’s Emmanuel Adediran’s City account detailing construction of the mayor’s new church in Chesterfield. Jones is copied on more than 100 of them.

8News Investigator pressed Jones saying, “Mayor from those emails it’s clear you knew the DPW director was doing work and construction on the Church on city time.”

Jones simply answered, ” When we get a report, we’ll talk about it.”

Jones refused to elaborate on what he knew or didn’t know. But the emails obtained by 8News through a Freedom of Information Act request show Adediran conversing about church specs, estimates, kitchen fixtures, even vendors during city hours.

Several emails titled “weekly construction meeting” suggest Adediran, who is listed as a project manager, was a part of 10 a.m. weekly conference calls. The mayor was copied on those emails.

The DPW Director’s time spent on the church project goes well beyond the 38 hours the City’s auditor first estimated.

“If we find out that something’s not right, we’ll take action,” Jones insisted.

Virginia State Police confirm to 8News that they will begin an inquiry into the nature of the allegations and will then determine if an investigation is warranted.

Council members say they’ve confirmed the city auditor is continuing to investigate these latest emails.

“I think we need to wait till we get to the conclusion of the matter and at that point as a body, as council, then we make a decision based on what the information brings us,” Council President Michelle Mosby told 8News.

Meanwhile, the mayor told a packed room during Thursday’s State of the City that this won’t be what he is remembered for.

“My legacy will not be determined by news articles or editorials or interviews, my legacy is the voice of the citizenry.”

Click here for complete RVA Churchgate coverage.

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