Petersburg city attorney told to pay more than $1,000 for back water usage

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Petersburg City Attorney Joseph Preston is being told to pay up after 8News exposed he was not being billed his fair share by the city for water used at a restaurant he owned.

In July, 8News uncovered those water bills showing that Preston had only been paying $3.75 for water for more than a year.

Outside of the restaurant owned by Preston, Best Stop Carryout Fish Grill & Convenience Store, a for sale sign now sits, the doors closed for good.

Preston has owned the building for nearly a decade, but last March, Preston opened it as a restaurant. From March 2016 to this past July he’s been only receiving a $3.75 water bill, which is just the storm water fee amount. The usage rate should have been much higher.

When 8News first uncovered the issue, we learned that Preston’s water was inadvertently connected to his neighbors’ meter at Tony’s Disco Restaurant & Lounge, so all of Preston’s usage had been billed to Tony.

The city manager told 8News off camera that on Tuesday, they finished the calculations to determine how much Preston owed. That amount was $1,669.39.

When asked, Preston was unable to tell us how that number was reached. But a spokesperson sent us a statement that simply said, “the city has worked with the customer to rectify the issue with the meter.”

8News did stop by the City Attorney’s office at Petersburg City Hall. Someone in Preston’s office referred us back to the city’s spokesperson for any comments related to this issue.

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