Candidate claims bribery in Va. Beach school board race

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach School Board candidate is making serious claims against some elected officials.

Kim Melnyk first made the claims on a radio show Monday. One of her opponents is speaking out about the accusations against him.

There are three people running in the Virginia Beach School Board – Princess Anne District race: Incumbent Bill Brunke, Kim Melnyk, and Frances Knight Thompson.

Melnyk would not do an on-camera interview, saying she didn’t want to get involved in the politics of the school board race. But she told 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings by phone that three elected officials — including Brunke, School Board Chairman Dan Edwards, and another person she would not name — offered her city committee appointments and even money, if she would drop out of the running.

By phone, Brunke strongly denied the allegations and said he was surprised and blindsided to hear about them.

Melnyk told 10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings by phone Brunke made the offer to her during a conversation after a meeting in July.

“We had a conversation mid-summer about four months or so ago, and it was a pleasant conversation, and during that conversation, Kim had suggested that she was going to consider dropping out of the race, but she would like to become more involved in different things in the city and different volunteer opportunities,” Brunke said.

Melnyk denies that she ever told him she would drop out.

10 On Your Side’s Brandi Cummings asked Brunke by phone, “Did she say that specifically to you?” Brunke responded, “You know, we’re talking about a relatively benign conversation that took place four months ago. I just don’t have a minute by minute recollection of exactly what words were used and where.”

Board Chairman Dan Edwards told WAVY.com he has met with all school board candidates to discuss ways they can serve the district, even if they don’t win. He said he never offered any appointments or money to Melnyk.

As far as WAVY News can tell, no agency is investigating Melnyk’s claims. The Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office said they have not received a complaint. The Virginia Beach registrar has not called back to comment.

Melnyck said she is not dropping out of the race and did not accept the offers. Election Day is November 4.

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