PORTSMOUTH, VA. (WAVY) — There are several new reactions Wednesday night to a lawsuit against the city of Portsmouth.
On Monday, former Portsmouth City Manager, Angel Jones, filed a $5.35 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the city, allegedly bringing up claims of public corruption.
It also contains allegations against specific city leaders on what they reportedly did.
“It is a book of fairy tales,” says Portsmouth Vice-Mayor De’Andre Barnes who spoke to 10 On Your Side regarding the 42-page wrongful termination lawsuit. “There isn’t anything in there that is true.”
10 On Your Side pointed out to Barnes that his name is all over the suit alleging he is guilty of corruption while serving as a city councilman.
“There is nothing in it that is true. “
One of the allegations is former Deputy City Manager LaVoris Pace advised Jones, Vice Mayor Barnes accepted a bribe of $14,000 in exchange for supporting a city manager candidate.
“That is a lie,” Barnes shot back.
Pace refused to comment on the allegations, but it is clear that if this case goes forward, Pace will be a big part of it whether he wants to be or not.
He now holds a similar job in Norfolk.
He allegedly told Jones that Vice Mayor Barnes, Councilman Paul Battle, and Chris Woodard received bribes from former Councilman Danny Meeks in exchange for appointing him City Manager.
“That is a lie as well,” said Barnes. “I’ve never received anything from Mr. Meeks.”
There was also an allegation that Barnes rescinded his support for Meeks to support another candidate who would help pay his delinquent child support.
It reads that the person offered to pay Barnes’ child support payments of about $25,000.
Did he offer to do that, and did he do that?
“No. He did not offer to do that. I would not take any type of bribes from anybody if they offered, but that was never an option or on the table…never happened.”
Another claim, Barnes wanted Pace to be the city manager.
“Barnes approached Lavoris Pace,” it reads.
10 On Your Side asked Barnes if he ever approached Lavoris Pace to see if he would like to be city manager instead of Jones and he denied the claim.
“No. I did not.”
It is against the City Charter for city council members to hire or fire or be involved in either.
“There’s a lot of stuff in here. Is it all not true?” we asked.
“It is not true. It is a book of fairy tales,” Barnes calls the lawsuit politically motivated.
“It is called the “October Surprise.” It is what people use to get their candidates appointed or elected or to talk down about someone else.”
10 On Your Side spoke to his attorney Mike Joynes and e stated that Barnes thinks it is a weak case with lots of holes in the case.
“When we can do discovery, when we are able to get into folks’ bank accounts and get all of the ‘ins and outs’ of what they were doing, and how they were doing it, we think we can prove our allegations.”
Barnes says this is the politics part with Council elections are days away.
Councilmen Paul Battle and Chris Woodard are on the ballot.
Not on the ballot are Vice Mayor De’Andre Barnes and Councilman Mark Whitaker who are in the process of possibly being recalled from office.
It’s tough to do, but it’s been done before, and done before in Portsmouth.