Norfolk Councilman Paul Riddick testifies in Burfoot corruption trial

councilman-paul-riddick

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk Councilman Paul Riddick said in court Tuesday a developer came to him in 2010 to tell him he was asked to pay Anthony Burfoot money for projects.

Riddick says he couldn’t remember where he talked with Dwight Etheridge, but told the jury the conversation happened. Etheridge is the former owner of Tivest, a construction company.

“I told Etheridge he didn’t have to pay Burfoot one red cent,” Riddick said.

Riddick says he never told anyone else about the conversation, because he didn’t think it was a big deal.

Burfoot is accused of taking more than $400,000 in bribes and gifts.

Co-owner of construction company testifies in Burfoot corruption trial

Riddick says he was a friend of Burfoot’s back then and still is today.

Riddick, Burfoot and three other council members voted for the Midtown Office Tower. Riddick told the jury he supported the project because he thought it would bring up a lower-income community. The building would have been built in Riddick’s ward.

The first time Burfoot told anyone about the conversation with Etheridge was when he met with the FBI.

Gary Ellick, a former employee with Tivest, also took the stand Tuesday. Ellick says when he first started with Tivest, it was owned by Curtis Etheridge, Bruce Gordon, Recardo Lewis and Anthony Burfoot.

Etheridge says Burfoot later wanted out and Dwight Etheridge took his place.

Ellick told the jury he was with Dwight Etheridge many times when Etheridge gave stuffed envelopes of money to Burfoot. Ellick says Etheridge was not happy about paying the money, but it was needed to be done to keep the projects coming.

Ellick also told the jury that when the FBI began investigating Burfoot, he stopped by Ellick’s office and said people were trying to take him down and he didn’t know why. Burfoot also began to cry.

Recardo Lewis was the last witness for the day. He said he was a real estate broker and general contractor for Tivest. Lewis said he pleaded guilty for his part in Bank of the Commonwealth fraud scheme. He served six months of house arrest.

Much of Lewis’ testimony mirrored that of Dwight Etheridge. Lewis said Tivest would get information on jobs from Burfoot and in return Etheridge would pay Burfoot money.