Prosecutors continue questioning Burfoot in corruption trial

A courtroom sketch of Norfolk City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot during his public corruption trial on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. Credit: Alba Bragoli

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Prosecutors hit Norfolk City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot hard Tuesday, questioning him on everything, trying to poke holes in his testimony.

The government began questioning Burfoot on his relationships with local developers — such as Gian Petersen and Ronnie Bonne, Sr. — and his previous business dealings as a private citizen.

Prosecutors are arguing that Burfoot traded political favors for cash and gifts.

Special coverage: Burfoot corruption trial

Burfoot repeated several times Tuesday that he has a right to have friends and to make a living outside of being a member of city council.

Prosecutors showed evidence of several instances where Burfoot did business as a private citizen and then, just days later, there would be a vote on city council for people who had just done business with him.

Burfoot told the court he did not feel it was necessary to disclose these dealings because he was dealing as a private citizen.

Burfoot first took the stand late last week, and the defense finished questioning him on Monday. Cross-examination could possibly  last through Wednesday.

Burfoot testified Monday that he worked with Petersen to facilitate a project for property on Hancock and Jason avenues.

The deal was that Burfoot, would deliver “ready to build” land to Petersen. He said Monday that he worked in his capacity as owner of Urban Restoration, Development, and Consulting, LLC to facilitate this project.

Petersen and Burfoot had reportedly reached a $120,000 agreement, but that agreement was never realized. Burfoot instead received two lots of land, which he later sold.

Prosecutors on Tuesday argued that Burfoot was voting on land while he was in negotiations with Petersen. During cross-examination, Burfoot testified that they were two different projects on the same lot.

Burfoot claimed Monday that he spoke with several Norfolk officials about the deal to ensure there was no conflict of interest.

Then the issue of appliances put into Burfoot’s home came back up. Dwight Etheridge said he paid $13,000 for the appliances, but Burfoot told the court Etheridge owed him $10,000. Burfoot didn’t disclose the information to city council before a vote for Tivest, because he said he didn’t think it was necessary.

Burfoot started a company in 2005 called Urban Restoration and Development. He told the court he is allowed to work as a private citizen and has a right to make a living.

Prosecutors pointed to the times he made business deals with either Tivest, Ronnie Boone or Tommy Arney just before a big vote. Burfoot never disclosed to council any of those deals. He told the court he didn’t need to, because once again he was acting in a private capacity.

Burfoot told the court he never told anybody to lie on his behalf. In fact, he became angry when his best friend Keith McNair told the feds he had a key to Boone’s beach house.

Burfoot said he did lie to everyone, saying he owned the beach house, but said he only did that to protect Judy Boone, because she didn’t know about it.

Prosecutors asked one final question: “After all of that you’re going to look the jury in the eye and say you didn’t sell your vote?”

“I have never sold my vote,” Burfoot said. “I did my job.”

Both sides plan to be finished by Wednesday. Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Thursday.

10 On Your Side’s Jason Marks will have full updates from Norfolk on air and online. Follow Jason on Twitter @jasonmarkswavy.