Lawmaker accuses mayor of sidestepping law to land Redskins

Posted at 12:15 AM, Nov 14, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-14 08:53:27-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - House Delegate Manoli Loupassi ( R )-Henrico is a Washington Redskins fan, but he's not a fan of the deal Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones struck with the team.

Loupassi made it clear in a letter to Jones Tuesday morning, accusing him of circumventing city law in order to bring the Washington Redskins training camp to Richmond.

“And it's astounding to me. It’s astounding to me that [he] would do that, “ Loupassi said.

Loupassi’s concern is that the city is leasing the Westhampton School property on Libbie Avenue and Patterson Avenue to the Bon Secours Richmond Health System.

Loupassi says that if the property been “sold” rather than “leased”, the money would have gone to Richmond Public Schools for repairs or new construction, as dictated by law.

“What they`ve done is that they`ve structured this as a lease so they didn`t have to sell the property and they didn`t have to give the money to the children. And, instead they are giving it to the Redskins,” Loupassi said.

In the letter, copied to all Richmond City Council members, Loupassi describes the schools as “aged, obsolete…too expensive to maintain and difficult to learn”.

Monday night, Richmond City Council Member, Chris Hilbert voted against the Mayor’s deal.

“That`s just too high of a price to pay and our children deserve better,” he said.

But, a source with the Redskins say they are helping the kids by refurbishing some of Richmond High School’s athletic fields.

And, Richmond City Council member Marty Jewel insists the city has the money to take care of the kids.

“The city is not in bad financial shape, we`re capable of building more schools. We`re building now,” he said.

The mayor could not be reached for comment about Loupassi’s letter, but released a statement about the passing of the resolution by Richmond city council Monday night:

 “Last night’s City Council discussion and vote is a good first step and a demonstration of support of the Washington Redskins Summer Training Camp concept. I look forward to continued public input, discussion and improvements to the details of this plan in the coming weeks.”