Lynchburg City Council suspends special meeting agenda indefinitely

The agenda revolved around the city attorney’s involvement in pending litigation

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A matter revolving around the Lynchburg City Attorney will not be discussed in a special meeting after all.

10 News first told you about the special meeting called by Councilmen Helgeson and Misjuns last week, when the first attempt was made to call the special meeting.

The meeting never really ended up happening with no quorum from city council members. It was postponed to Tuesday ahead of council’s work session and regular session.

The city attorney, Matthew Freedman, was on vacation when the first meeting was called. He showed up to Tuesday’s meeting with a prepared statement over the allegations being made about him.

“Councilman Helgeson indicated the Alexander v. Faraldi lawsuit is strictly a private matter between two persons. I respectfully disagree. This is because the result of the lawsuit could potentially affect thousands of city voters. The city paid for the election and the lawsuit makes very serious allegations against the city’s registrar and electoral board who are deemed employees of the city under Virginia Law,” Freedman said.

Faraldi won the primary against Peter Alexander with 1,042 votes to Alexander’s 1,009, a margin of 33 votes, or 1.6%, outside the margin for a recount. Alexander is suing Faraldi in Lynchburg Circuit Court to have the primary declared invalid, arguing that the results do not take into account 125 absentee ballots. Faraldi’s attorney has said the claim has “no basis.”

On June 29, the day after the lawsuit was filed, Freedman called multiple council members and, according to Helgeson, asked whether the city should get involved

“We don’t think it’s wise for the city taxpayers to be defending one council member in a private suit. Now we’re seeing more items that are availed threats. The threat of censure, under threat of hostility...hostility is coming towards the minority who’s trying to have open and transparency,” Helgeson said.

Throughout Tuesday’s special meeting, the division between council members on the issue was clear. The majority of council voted 4-2 to indefinitely suspend the special session to stand behind the city attorney and his remarks. Vice Mayor Chris Faraldi was absent as he didn’t want to be apart of a conversation revolved around pending litigation he is named in.

Freedman pushed back at Helgeson’s and Misjuns’ characterization during Tuesday’s meeting.

“First, the city is not representing Vice Mayor Faraldi in the pending Alexander v. Faraldi lawsuit,” Freedman said. “Second, council members Helgeson and Misjuns are not attorneys, not qualified to speak on matters of law and not in charge of the law business of the city. I am.”

About the Author

Connor Dietrich joined the 10 News team in June 2022. Originally from Castle Rock, Colorado, he's ready to step away from the Rockies and step into the Blue Ridge scenery.

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