CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) – Six prominent Republican office holders have withdrawn their endorsement and support for city council candidate Amanda Newins, a week after she was named in a lawsuit by her great aunt, alleging elder abuse.

Newins is a practicing attorney and listed as the vice president of the Chesapeake Bar Association.

Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan, Commonwealth’s Attorney Matt Hamel, Clerk of Courts Alan Krasnoff and three city council members issued the statement Friday afternoon.

Chesapeake police confirmed Thursday they are investigating the claims of abuse brought by Shirley Davis in her lawsuit seeking more than $890,000 in damages.

Here is the full statement from the six officials:

“Due to the lawsuit and a subsequent criminal investigation involving Amanda Newins, a candidate for Chesapeake’s City Council, effective immediately, we are withdrawing our support for and endorsement of Ms. Newins. We also encourage others who are like-minded and equally disappointed by these revelations to do the same.

We were also hoping for a meaningful response from Ms. Newins and our local party chairman, Nicholas Proffitt, but their silence has been deafening.

As elected officials who have spent years working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Chesapeake’s senior citizens, we cannot remain silent in the face of these allegations of persistent elder abuse.

At the same time, we are longtime Republicans, who will continue to support other candidates for city council and school board who have been endorsed by Chesapeake’s Republican Party Committee and share our values.”

Below is the full list of office holders withdrawing their support for Newins.

  • R. Stephen Best, Sr., Chesapeake City Council
  • Don J. Carey, III, Chesapeake City Council
  • Matthew R. Hamel, Chesapeake Commonwealth’s Attorney
  • Robert C. Ike, Jr., Chesapeake City Council
  • Alan P. Krasnoff, Clerk, Chesapeake Circuit Court
  • Jim O’Sullivan, Chesapeake Sheriff

Republican party chair Nicholas Proffitt responded Friday evening.

“This (statement) does not come as a surprise to me. Steve Best, Don Carey, Matt Hamel, Robert Ike, and Alan Krasnoff have never endorsed either Amanda Newins or the Endorsed Republican Ticket,” he said. “Furthermore, they have been actively supporting one of Ms. Newins and our endorsed ticket’s non-Republican opponents, whose campaign representative is the lead attorney in this lawsuit against Ms. Newins.”

Proffitt added that Newins still has the support of the Chesapeake Republican Party as a city council candidate.

The 13-page complaint calls for more than $890,000 in punitive and compensatory damages.

Bobby Davis had late-stage Alzheimer’s disease and advanced dementia in September 2020 when he and his wife Shirley, moved in with Newins, who was their caretaker.

Among the allegations: Newins demanded $1,000 a month in rent, and isolated her great aunt and uncle by withholding his cell phone and her hearing aids and glasses; Newins would punish her uncle by forcing him to sit at the kitchen table until he finished dinner, sometimes as late as 11 p.m.; Newins required that her aunt and uncle, who were in their 80s, to clean up the waste left behind by Newins’s four cats and two dogs.

The lawsuit also claims Newins had the Davises sign a power of attorney — that she then used to add her own name to the elderly couple’s numerous bank accounts; that Newins gifted the couple’s Kempsville home to herself worth an estimated $330,000; that Newins sold the Davises’ two vehicles and bought a BMW for herself; that she made withdrawals totaling $113,000 from two separate retirement accounts; that she used their credit cards for $31,000 for personal expenses and home improvements.

Newins responded Monday to the lawsuit through her attorney Alison Zizzo with this statement:

“We are disheartened to learn that a baseless lawsuit has been filed by an estranged family member against Amanda so close in time to an important election.  Amanda has the complete support of her family including her siblings, father, grandmother, cousins, her uncle’s siblings and other family, as well as his lifelong friends.

We are eagerly anticipating the opportunity for Amanda to represent to the court the actual facts in this matter.  We are certain that the court will find Amanda’s actions were not only appropriate but above reproach.   

Attempting to drag an opponent through the mud with unfounded accusations is certainly not a new tactic in politics but remains an unfortunate consequence of today’s American political system.”

Election day is November 8.

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