Possible Henrico abduction: Woman asked driver for help
Megan Metzger case: 3 suspects arrested
Son dies, father hospitalized after falling into Lake Anna
TRACK RAIN: Use CBS 6 Interactive Radar

GOLDMAN: Jones stadium deal violates Va. Constitution Article VIII

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Paul Goldman is a local lawyer who helped run Doug Wilder's historic campaign for governor of Virginia.

RICHMOND, Va. – Does the Virginia Constitution still count in Richmond? We shall soon find out.

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones has asked Richmond City Council to bless his sweetheart, backroom Shockoe Stadium deal with the Economic Development Authority.

But the terms negotiated in secret violate the plain meaning of Article VIII of the Virginia Constitution.

In the document submitted by the Mayor to explain the deal, the city pledged to “cooperate in the development of the South of the Broad Street Parcel, as defined herein, consisting of various parcels of land some presently owned by the City… ” (Emphasis added.)

The Virginia Constitution, approved by the people, wisely anticipated that certain elected officials would try to use public property to the exclusive benefit of their friends and allies. Section 9 of Article VIII effectively prevents Jones from selling public land to his EDA allies requiring the support of seven of nine City Council members for such a sale.

We know this had been his original intention. He couldn’t get the seven votes.

While his latest deal merely references “land some presently owned by the City,” we can assume he intends to lease the land to the EDA.

Section 9 anticipated his land grab by requiring the following in pertinent part:

“No franchise, lease, or right of any kind in use of any such public property or any other public property or easement of any description in a manner not permitted to the general public shall be granted for a longer period than forty years…Before granting any such franchise or privilege for a term in excess of five years…the city…shall, after due advertisement, publicly receive bids therefor.”

While the Mayor’s EDA deal summary paper doesn’t indicate a lease term, Mr. Jones submitted another document saying the Squirrels would be leasing, or have the right to lease, the Shockoe Stadium from the EDA for 30 years with two additional five-year extensions.


This means the EDA would need to have the right to lease the stadium to the Squirrels for the same period.

But as we discussed, Section 9 prohibits Mayor Jones and City Council giving the EDA such a 40-year right to use said city property WITHOUT FOLLOWING THE PUBLIC BID PROCESS IN THE CONSTITUTION.

I know, I know. Imagine, someone in Richmond who (1) actually reads the VA constitution and (2) actually thinks it matters. How retro dude.

Mayor Jones and City Council have two basic choices. They can do what the Mayor is demanding, the Council can “approve through an Ordinance the Shockoe Development Cooperation Agreement between the City of Richmond and the Economic Development Authority of the City of Richmond” submitted to Council.

But this violates the Constitution, causing the Ordinance to be voided upon being challenged in court. It would cost the city another $250,000 in legal fees. Do they care though?

Or there is option #2, admittedly the “road not taken” in Richmond to paraphrase poet Robert Frost: Doing it right.


Section 9 of the Virginia Constitution prohibits what the Mayor and City Council want to do, transfer said right or rights in public land without there required public bid process.

There are many other legal problems with the no-bid, sweetheart EDA deal the Mayor and City Council are still thinking about forcing on the people of the City. But first things first, Section 9 of Article VIII of the Virginia Constitution.

Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.


  • Bobby R.

    My questions aree (1) is ‘Hizzoner’ Jones simply not familiar with the Virginia Constitution (after all he was a delegate in the GA) or (2) does he believe he can hoodwink the residents/citizens of Richmond into turning a ‘blind eye’ to such blatantly illegal (as well as immoral) dealings. Reverend Jones needs to consult with the reference book-The Holy Bible- for guidance (that is if he is familiar with that book). Either way his actions as well as his moral, ethical, common sense of decency needs a ‘course correction’. I am appalled at the city council, as a body, for not rising and demanding (verbally and by vote) that this colossal boondoggle be struck down in a ‘New York’ second. I wiil not and cannot vote for or otherwise support any council member that does not vehemently oppose this ill-conceived idea and proposal.//blr//

    • Becky

      Mayor Dwight “Clinton” Jones is President/SERVES Venture Board.
      Charles Samuels, Pres, City Council, SERVES Venture Board.
      Ellen Robertson, VP, City Council, SERVES Venture Board.
      Cynthia Newbille, City Council, SERVES Sport Backers Board.
      Cathy Garciano historically SERVES Major Jones.
      WHO is LEFT to SERVE Richmond Residents/Tax Payers?

  • RVA Excapee (spelled the way RPS teaches it).

    Party Comrade Mayor Reverend Jones gives no more a fig for the state constitution or law than his Dear Leader in DC. The Party Comrades believe that their will is law. The purpose of elected office is power and the accumulation of wealth like an old time courtier.

  • Becky

    Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code (the U.S. Tax code) permits,
    under section 501(c)(3), certain organizations to be exempt from
    income tax.
    The COST of this tax-free status is that such groups
    ….ALL of the Mayor’s Consortiums, apparently running Richmond
    Government through him, are Tax Exempt/Non Profit Special
    Interest Party Donors/Lobbyists.
    Venture Richmond, Sports Backers, 2015 Bike Championships
    with Over-Ride Bikes Rule, Monroe Park Conservatory, etc…..
    The list is endless and growing. They are coming out of the
    woodwork, and every Democratic orafice to facilitate, bolster, control, manage, operate, and run Positively Richmond; their Way, without Tax Payer Say.
    DUH, Appears… Illegal.

  • Becky

    Bet you can’t guess who orchestrated and set up this this Democratic
    Illegal Scam, operating at local, state, and federal levels.
    Clue: Soros’ Media Matters, Soros’ Open Society, Soros Financed
    Human Rights Watch, The Joyce Foundation of Gun Control (Obama
    & Jarrett sat on its Board), Move On, Planned Parenthood, LGBT,
    etc., etc.

Comments are closed.