Department of Public Works under investigation

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - At Richmond City Hall, an investigation is underway after accusations of a conflict of interest in the awarding of contracts in the Department of Public Works.

Within the last hour, Mayor Dwight Jones has released a statement confirming that the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office has launched an investigation into the city's Public Works Department. The department's facilities management operation is the focus of the probe.

Michael Herring said his office is in the early stages of their look into the allegations. He said that the main issue they are looking into is contracts inappropriately awarded to vendors because of conflict of interest.

According to the mayor's office, the investigation is addressing accusations of over-payments to vendors, tampering with purchase orders and potential favoritism in the selection of contractors. This is not the first time members of the Jones administration have been accused of steering city business to favored vendors.

In a statement, Jones admitted it was a problem.

"It is disturbing to me that we continue to uncover such misconduct within city government. It taints the entire operation of over 4,000 employees when a few bad apples continue to make headlines," Jones said.

The mayor also reiterated his commitment to rooting out those "bad apples" and said he welcomes rigorous audits of city business in the future.

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