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Petersburg Mayor calls for treasurer to resign amid deep audit of government

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PETERSBURG, Va. --- Petersburg Mayor Samuel Parham announced a press conference at 4 p.m. Tuesday, but he said little about the forensic audit underway to ferret out any possible fraud within the city government.

Interim City Manager Tom Tyrrell previously said the forensic team was focused on nine areas of the city government, including the treasurer’s office.

"The treasurer is always going to be the subject of a forensic audit because that's where the money is," Tyrrell said.

Petersburg Treasurer Kevin Brown, who is in his second term, was interviewed Monday evening.

"I answered some questions upstairs and now they're going into my office to make sure that what I said was correct," Brown said, who showed confidence despite the circumstances.

"I don't have any reason to believe I am part of the blame," he said.

At the Tuesday press conference, the mayor said that "everyone is innocent until proven guilty."

He also called for the resignation of the treasurer.

"We really haven't had a discussion," Brown said, also adamant that he hasn't stolen anything.

Last August, CBS 6 reported that Petersburg's financial crisis involved more than $18 million of unpaid bills after historic over-spending that started in 2012.

"Petersburg didn't drive itself into the financial mess that it's in, into this crisis, it got here somehow, and we need to figure out how it got here so we can avoid that in the future, but also hold people accountable," Tyrrell said.

A former FBI Agent with 25 years of forensic audit experience heads the independent forensic audit team so Tyrrell said taxpayers should feel satisfied with whatever they find.

"We feel confident if we give a clean bill of health to a department or constitutional office then there's nothing there," Tyrrell said.

Tyrrell said he expects the team to finish reviewing the Treasurer's books Monday night, and the city will take whatever action is appropriate depending on the findings.

The mayor said he hopes to release the audit's findings as soon as possible.

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