Jewell calls for Graziano to step down as Council President

RICHMOND (WWBT) - Fireworks at Richmond City Hall. Councilman Marty Jewell is demanding Council President Kathy Graziano resign. He's also implicating the Commonwealth's Attorney in a political conspiracy.

Jewell's complaint with Graziano stems from a sexual harassment claim against her top aide, David Hathcock.

This week Hathcock cut a deal with prosecutors to have the charges dropped. Now, Jewell claims it looks suspicious that Graziano is proposing additional funds for the same Commonwealth's Attorney's office that cut the deal.

Michael Herring is seeking a $100,000 bump in his office budget. He says that request is not tied in any way with the deal cut for David Hathcock.

It has turned into a war of words between Richmond heavyweights.

On one side, Councilman Jewell, who did not mince words when it came to Kathy Graziano.

"I'm calling for her to step down as council president," he said.

Meanwhile, on the steps of the John Marshall Courthouse, Michael Herring sees things a bit differently.

"I think it is unwarranted," he said "I think it is ridiculous."

Jewell has never been a fan of Graziano, but now after a public fight over damaging claims against her top aide, Jewell is dragging Herring into his quest to oust the Council President.

It's just foolish how this whole thing's been handled," said Jewell. "And in politics you don't call people on it. They get away with it.

Jewell is doing exactly the opposite by calling out a budget amendment, submitted by Graziano, to boost Herring's budget by $100,000.

It's a move that looks suspicious given the high profile deal cut for Hathcock.

A visibly angry Herring called Jewell's claim ridiculous. "The fact is, I reached out to Councilwoman Graziano. She did not reach out to us."

Herring strongly denied any tie between Hathcock's case and the budget. He said his plea for new funding to give raises to prosecutors who are on average paid 16% lower on entry level salaries, is nothing new.

"The folks in my office need raises and this has something that has been going on annually, since I have been in office," he said.

A fight that now becomes even more difficult given this new, explosive political climate.

Meanwhile Kathy Graziano, the politician at the center of this controversy refused to talk about Jewell's comments only saying "I would not dignify those accusations with a response."

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