No criminal charges in Mayor Jones investigation

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael Herring said that the investigation of Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones has found that there was no criminal wrongdoing and no criminal charges will be filed.

Herring announced the findings of a joint investigation with the Virginia State Police into the Jones administration and reports of work on the mayor’s church on city time Wednesday morning.

The investigation raises “suspicion and concern about opaque governance” and calls into question credibility of many involved parties, but no probable cause for prosecution.

The mayor employing church members as executives for the city “smacks of cronyism,” but nothing in the Commonwealth’s criminal statutes prohibits such behavior.

Mayor Jones issued the following statement on the findings issued Wednesday morning:

“The report issued this morning found no criminal wrongdoing by me or members of my administration. More than 10 months ago, I requested an independent investigation into concerns raised about the separation between my administration and First Baptist Church of South Richmond. I cooperated extensively in the investigation to ensure any concerns were carefully examined and dispelled. After thoroughly reviewing my email, examining City and church records, and interviewing scores of witnesses, the investigation determined that no laws were violated. I was confident my administration strictly adhered to the law, and I am pleased, but not surprised, the Virginia State Police and Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney agree. Although the investigation took longer than expected, it was thorough and conclusive, and I am glad it is behind us.”

Jones asked the Virginia State Police to investigate in an effort to restore faith in his administration. The move came after an audit revealed the city’s public works director was managing the construction of the mayor’s church on city time.

The seven-month multi-jurisdictional investigation has included the FBI, Jones, and a lengthy review of documents.

In March, 8News found hundreds of emails to and from the DPW Director’s Emmanuel Adediran’s City account detailing the construction of the mayor’s new church, the First Baptist Church second facility, located at 6201 Ironbridge Road in Chesterfield County. Jones is copied on more than 100 of them. 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.

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of South Richmond. (PHOTO CREDIT: WRIC)
Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones is the senior pastor of First Baptist Church of South Richmond. (PHOTO CREDIT: WRIC)

Jones is the senior pastor of the church.

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

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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