RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones has officially requested Virginia State Police to conduct an independent review of a recent city audit saying the city’s Director of Public Works spent part of his work day serving as Project Manager for the construction of First Baptist Church in Chesterfield.
The Ironbridge Road church is where Dwight Jones serves as senior pastor. His son, Richmond School Board member Derik Jones, is also a pastor at the church.
This comes less than 24 hours after Mayor Jones told CBS 6 reporter Mark Holmberg he didn't think an outside investigation was needed, despite the possibility there may have been a misuse of public funds.
In the letter to VSP Colonel Steven Flaherty, Jones wrote in part:
“I am asking that you evaluate the activities and records of the city’s Director of Public Works, Emmanuel Adediran, concerning the performance of his duties and any use of property and resources of the City in relation to his role as a volunteer project representative for the construction of a church building on behalf of First Baptist Church of South Richmond.”
"When we began to look at the fact that the audit had come up with new information and it would go on and on and on," Jones said, “we figured the best thing to do was try and get to the bottom of it."
“I welcome a third party, independent review that isn’t complicated by my role as Mayor and as Senior Pastor of the church in question,” Jones added.
The city audit said they received an allegation that DPW Director Emmanuel O. Adediran spent numerous hours during the City’s workday on visiting the construction site and attending meetings and phone calls related to the project.
"The investigator estimated that the Director spent at least 38 hours during the one and a half year time period. In addition, the Director conducted limited communications using the City’s email system related to the church construction," the report detailed.
In this letter to VSP the mayor wrote this matter was resolved.
“However, on January 12, 2016, the City Auditor subsequently raised additional concerns that we agree warrant further review.”
“We are anxious to take appropriate actions if any transgression is found, exonerate any employees wrongly accused, and put the questions to rest,” the mayor concluded.
This week the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that a senior city official resigned last year because of pressure to move a member of Dwight Jones' church into a high-ranking city position.
That issue was not addressed in this letter to VSP.
CBS 6 reporter Rob Cardwell asked the mayor how, as senior pastor, he did not know an assistant pastor was spending so much time at the construction site of his new church.
The Mayor’s response was short and to the point: “I don't talk about church business."