Former Norfolk treasurer Burfoot appealing removal from office

Attorney Andrew Sacks, left, and City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot, right, outside of the federal courthouse in Norfolk on Thursday, Dec. 2, 2016. (WAVY Photo)

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Former Norfolk Treasurer Anthony Burfoot has been behind bars for nearly a year now, but his battle in court is not over.

Burfoot’s attorney, Andrew Sacks, is appealing Burfoot’s removal from office, and if Sacks wins then Burfoot could receive up to $150,000 in back-pay.

Two issues and two courts are involved.

First, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals alone decides whether to overturn Burfoot’s six felony convictions for corruption in office.

The Virginia State Supreme Court decides the pay issues. That court could decide whether Burfoot was properly suspended and removed from office. If he was not, then the escrowed pay from after he was suspended in February and then removed in April could come into play.

Where is Burfoot now? He is one of 1,400 inmates at the United States Penitentiary, Canaan in Pennsylvania. Burfoot is in the minimum security prison camp where he is with 160 of the 1,400 inmates.

Burfoot’s attorney Andrew Sacks says, “Anthony is doing a lot of reflecting on his life…he is not depressed…he is hopeful…I am sure people are visiting him…my staff…we get emails from him.”

On Tuesday, Sacks appeared before a State Supreme Court three justice panel, asking the court to take up Burfoot’s appeal.

He says that it was wrong for Burfoot to have been suspended and then removed from office. “The fact he was suspended and removed are important issues to have overturned. Money aside, he would still challenge that because he thought it was wrong the way he would be disciplined that way,” Sacks told us.

If the court agrees and sides with Burfoot he could get back almost $150,000 in pay he was denied, “If his suspension and or removal were not authorized by law, then compensation withheld form him because of that should be restored to him.”

Sacks spoke before the three justices about the Burfoot case for about 10 minutes. Only one justice asked questions. They took the case under advisement, and if they grant the appeal the whole court will then hear the case.

Sacks says of Burfoot: “He is in good spirits where he is, and for him the fight goes on…it’s a tough case because it’s hard for some people to have much sympathy for a public official who was convicted of these type of offenses. That is not what the law should be based on, sympathy or not, it should be based on objective black letter principles.”

Sacks says the State Supreme Court panel will announce the decision in a week or two. If the court denies it, the only other option is to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sacks wasn’t sure that would happen.