RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A former Richmond city councilman filed a court order Thursday to have current 5th District city councilman Parker Agelasto removed from his seat.
In the court documents, Chuck Richardson says Agelasto moved out of his home in the 5th District in June 2018 and moved into a home in Richmond’s 1st District, where he still lives with his family. Richardson, who once represented the 5th District himself, accuses Agelasto of “neglect of duty” and “misuse of office.”
The lawsuit reads, “Agelasto at one time claimed that his move to the 1st District was ‘temporary.’ However, he later leased his former domicile residence in the 5th District, leaving him with no domicile in the 5th District.”
According to the lawsuit, Council President Chris Hilbert has asked the City Attorney to look into whether Agelasto’s move would have any impact on his votes in City Council, but no action has been taken since that request.
In a letter sent to Mayor Levar Stoney and City Council Thursday, Richardson said he wants a judge to clarify this issue so that the validity of Agelasto’s votes on things like salaries, schools and taxes cannot be challenged. He asked the judge to declare Agelasto unqualified to vote and unqualified to sit on City Council, ask Agelasto to show cause why he should not be removed, or suspend Agelasto pending a hearing and appeal.
Richardson says that when he was the 5th District councilor in 1985, the former city registrar told him he would have to vacate his seat if he moved out of his district to run for another office.
However, Richmond’s City Charter does not specifically say that a councilor must live in the district they represent.
§ 3.01. Election of councilmen; nomination of candidates.
A. At the time of the November general election in 2004, and every second year thereafter, there shall be held a general city election at which shall be elected by the qualified voters of the city one member of council from each of the nine election districts in the city, the voters residing in each such district to elect one member for said district for terms of two years from the first day of January following their election. However, beginning with the elections to be held in 2008, and subject to approval by referendum as called for by this act, council members shall be elected for a term of four years.
– Richmond City Charter
There are no hearings scheduled on this case yet. To read the rest of the court order and Richardson’s letter, click here.
8News has reached out to Agelasto for comment but has not heard back. In November 2018, Agelasto announced he would not run for reelection in 2020 to spend more time with his wife and children.