NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The “out of office” sign is up for Norfolk’s city treasurer. As of 5 o’clock on Monday, Anthony Burfoot is not allowed to step foot in his office for now.
Burfoot’s attorney, Andrew Sacks, tells 10 On Your Side he has filed several motions to stop the suspension. He also requested a hearing with the judge to discuss it and in the next couple of days, he says he plans to file a brief to allow Burfoot to get back in his office.
A Norfolk judge on Friday ruled in favor of a petition to suspend Burfoot.
A petition filed by Ronald Batliner called for Burfoot to be suspended until the appeals process is completed.
“I’m very happy for the citizens of Norfolk that the decision came back the way it is,” Batliner said Friday. “I’m sad that it came to it that I had to do this job because I hated that one of our politicians has fallen to the point where we have to get him suspended from office.”
The judge found Batliner’s argument more compelling and wrote that if he didn’t rule to suspend Burfoot, there would be a further erosion of Norfolk residents’ trust in government.
John Wesley Hill, who led the recall effort with the Citizens Recall Committee, said the judge made the right decision, and that he was “highly pleased.” Burfoot is fighting a losing battle, he said.
10 On Your Side spoke with Burfoot Friday. Of the days ahead, he said, “I’ll be here this weekend. I’ve got a lot of things to do: Make sure that my staff is set, able to function and do the things they need to continue to do to keep the office running smoothly.”
WAVY’s Erin Kelly asked Burfoot about what would happened if he weren’t able to get the judge to hold off on the suspension.
“You know, I have a very effective and efficient staff, so in my absence, they’ll be able to get things done. So, this is not anything that’s new. We understood this was a possibility, so we’ve been prepared for such a day and at the end of the day, like I’ve said once, I’ve said to you earlier, that, I will continue to fight.”
A jury in December found Burfoot guilty on six of eight federal charges, including wire fraud and perjury. Defense Attorney Andrew Sacks has filed several motions challenging the verdict and requesting a new trial.
Sacks said Friday that he plans to file a motion with the Norfolk Circuit Courthouse to stay the suspension, pending the opportunity to file paperwork with Virginia Supreme Court.
He said he respects the judge’s decision but believes “the black-letter law that governs all of us says that until certain events occur, this officer can’t be suspended.”
Batliner spoke to 10 On Your Side at city hall following the ruling:
Burfoot’s suspension is effective Monday, Feb. 20 at 5 p.m.
Under the suspension, Burfoot’s salary would go into a separate account and he would not receive the money unless he was cleared of his convictions.