City treasurer claims false endorsement

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Elections in most cities and counties in Hampton Roads will be held Tuesday, and there’s one campaign flyer floating around that’s stirring up a big debate.

Norfolk City Council Candidate Lionel Spriull, Junior said City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot endorsed his campaign, but Burfoot claims that is not true.

“I was irate,” Burfoot said. “I couldn’t believe that he would have done that.”

Burfoot represented Ward 3 on Norfolk’s City’s Council for 12 years. In November, he was elected to City Treasurer.

“I’ve worked hard in that ward for 12 years, and I’ve had the privilege to have a consistent block of voters who would come out and vote for me,” he said.

Friday Burfoot got a political flyer in the mail for Spruill — one of six candidates running for Burfoot’s empty seat. The flyer listed Burfoot as endorsing Spruill.

Burfoot said Spruill and his father, Lionell Spruill, Sr., a delegate from Chesapeake, met with him at his house last November. Burfoot said the two had questions about Ward 3 and any projects going on in the area. Burfoot said many candidates asked him for similar meetings, and he was always willing to meet with them.

In March, Burfoot received a text message from Spruill, Jr., asking Burfoot to endorse him. Burfoot responded to the candidate saying, “I’m not endorsing anyone. I’m on the sideline for now.”

The political flyer still went out in the mail last week.

10 On Your Side went to ask Spruill about the endorsement confusion, and his timeline is different from Burfoot’s. He said he did have the text message conversation with Burfoot in March. Then he and his father met with Burfoot at his house about a week after the text message, in April.

“He told my father and I that he would endorse me,” Spruill said.

Spruill claims Burfoot changed his mind. When asked about the November meeting, Spruill said it never happened. He also told WAVY News’ Liz Palka, he didn’t have any proof of the endorsement.

“Mr. Burfoot can question my integrity all he wants, ” Spruill said.

Burfoot said he was planning to not endorse any candidate for the May 2014 election, but this past weekend, he decided to endorse Rodney Jordan, the candidate he plans on voting for.

According to Norfolk Deputy Registrar Stephanie Iles, there is nothing in their code book about endorsement violation. Iles said endorsement is a personal matter.

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