Two state agencies investigate why Petersburg is millions of dollars in debt

Posted at 7:24 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 19:36:45-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- A day after Petersburg City Council voted to part ways with City Manager William Johnson and City Attorney Brian Telfair, CBS 6 learned two state agencies are investigating.

"The audits and whatever else they need to do will be done by the Auditor of Public Accounts in conjunction with any type of investigation with the Virginia State Police," says Petersburg Commonwealth's Attorney Cassandra Conover.

Conover got the approval for the investigation from both agencies just hours before Thursday night's City Council meeting, which was specially called.

The city is millions of dollars in debt.

"It may find nothing is wrong, it does not imply any wrong doing but things have to be cleared up," says Conover.

Thursday night, Treska Wilson-Smith made the motion and the vote was unanimous to have a forensic audit done on the city books.

That decision could be placed on hold while the other investigation is underway.

Either way, Wilson-Smith is looking for some answers.

"I'm hoping that it's going to show me more of what and where monies went...everything you don't see in a regular audit," she said.

A forensic audit has been something critics of the city have been calling on for more than a year.

The audit and any changes though will take time, which some, like long time resident Jerry Beard understands. "With in the next year or so, you'll see some changes, if honesty is there".

"Within the next year or so, you'll see some changes, if honesty is there," he said.

City Council will also have to make a quick decision on who will replace City Manager William Johnson when he leaves.