Lawsuit alleges Petersburg misappropriated over $100,000 in funding

PETERSBURG, Va. – Late Friday afternoon, the Petersburg Circuit Court Law Library committee filed a lawsuit that alleges funds from the law library have been misappropriated; the amount could be between $100,000 and $200,000.

Money taken in daily through court fees goes into a fund for the law library. Sources said that two years ago, in June 2014, the Law Library Fund was around $112,000 and it’s only grown since library operational costs aren’t that expensive.

The library was nestled within the circuit court building, but since its closure, the library has been relocated. Shelves for law books were installed earlier this year at the Petersburg Public Library, to make it easier for the public to access the law library’s resources.

Petersburg Library

But in the lawsuit, representatives claim that the shelves were never paid for and that the money being collected specifically for the Law Library is being used to pay general debt for the City.

"If anything, I think we know where the monies haven't gone,” said Cassandra Conover, Commonwealth's Attorney.

"It's for different departments, such as the Commonwealth Attorney, the Sheriff, the Law Library,” Conover explained.

Recently, several big bills have gone unpaid, but the court has continued to send the city money. There was a $14,000 bill for shelving and more than $1,500 for computer software.

"I sign off on a check each and every month and send it to our local treasury,” said Shalva Braxton, Clerk of Circuit Court. "If there are bills or anything that should be paid from that then of course they can do it [cover].”

"Well as a lawyer, I have a concern when I know monies are coming out to pay a certain thing and they're not being used that way or it appears that way,” Conover said.