The Attorney General's Office has authorized Virginia State Police to investigate a complaint made against a Norfolk City Councilman. We were first to tell you public school parent Michael Muhammad filed the complaint against Councilman Tommy Smigiel. It is Smigiel's resources and access as principal of a Norfolk school at question here.
Late Wednesday, the special prosecutor assigned to the case confirmed State Police will begin investigating.
While prosecutor Michael Doucette has been looking into this issue for a while, because Smigiel is an elected official, he needed authorization from the Attorney General's Office to get VSP involved.
In July, we reported Doucette believed "this matter needs to be investigated in greater detail." Now, less than two months after making the request to the AG, that will happen.
The special prosecutor said he and State Police will conduct as thorough and fair of an investigation as possible.
Here's the situation they'll look into:
Michael Muhammad's son goes to the school where Tommy Smigiel is principal. Muhammad had a concern about his son, and went to the school. Muhammad said an exchange with Principal Smigiel escalated, and Smigiel called police.
Muhammad then filed a complaint with the school division, leading to a lengthy email chain we verified.
City Attorney Bernard Pishko wrote to the acting superintendent at the time, asking him to make a statement "dismissive of the allegations and supportive of school officials."
That led to questions--Should Smigiel have had access to Pishko if he only has that close relationship in his role as councilman, not as principal? Also, why did Pishko get involved at all if, again, he works with Smigiel in his role as councilman, not in his role as school principal?
When we first broke this story, Pishko said he intervened because he is the school board's lawyer. As part of that email chain, Smigiel wrote the accusation is false.
Doucette responded to our inquiry Wednesday stating that the investigation "should not be interpreted as evidence or belief in anyone's guilt."