Developer: Burfoot voted in favor of him, said 'I got your back, buddy'

13News Now Marcella Robertson has the story

NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- Developer Ronnie Boone, Sr. offered key testimony Thursday in the federal corruption trial of Norfolk City Treasurer Anthony Burfoot.

Boone, a developer and business owner, told the jury that while Burfoot served on city council he always voted in favor of Boone, always telling him: "I got your back, buddy."

Boone pleaded guilty in September to charges of bribery and bank fraud after an indictment alleged he secretly provided cash, gifts, and other things of value to Burfoot in exchange for Burfoot performing specific official actions and other official actions on an as-needed basis.

Boone stated he always paid Burfoot in cash, and it was always in a white envelope with no less than $2,500. He said he gave Burfoot thousands of dollars in cash and loans over the years, and treated him to dinner and drinks often. In exchange, Burfoot always voted in his favor on council.

Boone said Burfoot even made sure an NRHA commissioner Barbara Saunders who Boone said was "unfair" to him was not reappointed.

Boone told the jury there was one instance in which Burfoot broke his "got your back" pledge.

The owner of Greenies and The Thirsty Camel explained that when a competing restaurant in Ocean View petitioned the city to stay open until 2 a.m., he contacted Burfoot. Boone was concerned that the longer hours would hurt his business. Burfoot's vote was the deciding one. The councilman supported the extended hours.

"I was angry he had double-crossed me like that," Boone stated on the stand.

Boone added that he and Burfoot did not speak for months after the vote. He explained Burfoot's friend and treasurer's office employee, Keith McNair, reached out to him to reconcile the relationship between Boone and Burfoot.

In June of this year, the FBI executed a search warrant at Boone's office. Boone testified that, without prompting, he spoke to an agent on scene about the beach house he owned on the Outer Banks. Boone told the agent that he used the home to bribe Burfoot, offering him use of the house in exchange for Burfoot's support.

Boone kept the beach house a secret from his wife, realtor Judy Boone.

When the defense challenged Boone on his motives for providing that information to the FBI, saying the only reason he volunteered the details was to save himself. The defense claimed Boone, in fact, made up the story, sacrificing Burfoot.

Janelle Morris, Burfoot's girlfriend, also testified Thursday, Day Nine of the trial.

Morris told jurors she and Burfoot were "together" and had an intimate relationship at one point. Burfoot hired her to work in the treasurer's office, where still is employed.

Morris admitted she lied to the FBI about who hired her and the extent of her relationship with Burfoot because she did not want their affair to be public.

She also stated she and Burfoot had a conversation in the vault of the treasurer's office about the FBI because Burfoot believed his office was bugged.

In addition, Morris said she went to Ronnie Boone's beach house on the Outer Banks with Burfoot at least once. She said she considers Burfoot her "best friend."


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