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Hampton restaurant owner threatened with legal action in letter by Councilman Chris Bowman after public calls for his resignation

Restaurant owner Randy Bowman confirmed Monday that he got the letter on Friday after calling for the councilman's resignation at an event earlier in the week.

HAMPTON, Va. — Many have called for Hampton Councilman Chris Bowman to resign from City Council following a report about his meet-up with a prostitute in a hotel last year. Now, the councilman is demanding reparations from one man in particular, according to a letter obtained by 13News Now.

Business owner and 2022 Hampton City Council candidate Randy Bowman confirmed Monday that he received a letter threatening legal action on Friday after calling for the councilman's resignation at an event earlier in the week. The two men are not related. 

An attorney for Chris Bowman confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

RELATED: 'He has to step down' | Hampton NAACP calls for councilman's resignation amid scandal with prostitute

Randy hosted a Hampton Democratic Committee meeting at his restaurant, Soul-N-The-Wall, last Tuesday. There, the letter said Randy demanded Chris' "immediate resignation from Hampton Council." 

That was as Randy shared he would return a $100 campaign donation that Chris sent him in 2020, the letter said. Which he did during Wednesday's council meeting, as well as call for Chris' resignation once again.

Now, the councilman wrote that he is seeking an in-person apology from Randy or else he "will seek legal options," claiming that he is "sleep deprived" and has "incurred emotional distress" from what Randy said. 

"You have slandered me by making a harmful verbal statement about my occupation and damaging my reputation," Chris wrote. 

Randy told 13News Now that he has no intention of apologizing to the councilman. 

“As a politician, any arena that you’re in, you should welcome any comments, be it negative or positive, and I think he needs to be removed from office,” Randy said. "A city leader is like a GPS you’re supposed to take us to an unknown destination for great things. He took Hampton’s name into a hotel and now Hampton is tarnished behind his actions."

He also believes he's the only one who spoke up that got a letter from Chris -- and he's ready to take on the legal threat. 

“Bring it on. I have someone that has stepped up. A very high powerful attorney that will do this pro bono that is actually drafting a letter to send him to let him know that I have my constitutional rights and I will practice them as long as I am in Virginia, in Hampton," Randy said. "That is my duty and I welcome it.”

13News Now reached out to Councilman Bowman for comment, but he referred us to his attorney, Carter Phillips.

When asked if they’re looking into legal action against those speaking against Bowman, he said right now they’re focused on the upcoming hearing in the extortion case where Bowman will testify.

“He’s written a letter of apology, which is a step in the right direction and he’s gonna testify against this guy who took his money in a few weeks at the hearing, so that’s what we’re really focusing on now,” Phillips said. “I can’t see beyond that right now.”

Randy, who has run for city council before, said there is no political animosity between the two men who share the same last name.

"When we were in the streets and when I see him, or when I used to, we would say we're brothers from another mother because we share the last name. Different pigmentation, same last name," Randy said.

The day after the meeting at Soul-N-The-Wall, Councilman Bowman shared an apology letter addressing the 2022 meet-up at a City Council meeting. 

“I want to formally apologize to the citizens of Hampton, city staff, family members and my fellow members of City Council for my poor behavior approximately one and a half years ago," Chris' statement began. "Let me tell you, it is not pleasant to go from being a well-respected person in the community to being censured by the City Council on which I am so privileged to serve." 

You can read the full apology here

During Wednesday’s meeting, half a dozen community members called for Bowman to resign. Randy Bowman was among those calls, too. 

"I urge you to remove your name badge and step down immediately," Randy said. 

In a criminal complaint in court, detectives wrote that Bowman said he paid a woman, whom he met online, $200 for oral sex. That was in March 2022. He then said he came back out to the parking lot where he learned his phone and several other belongings were missing out of his car.

Days later, Bowman said he received calls from a man, saying he had his phone and demanded $5,000 in cash or else he would release the phone's contents to the public. Police wrote in the complaint that Bowman was concerned about the man releasing the information, so he met him at a location and gave him the $5,000.

The man, according to the court record, then ran off with the cash and Bowman's phone.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, 13News Now obtained a letter Mayor Donnie Tuck wrote to Bowman in March of this year. It referenced concerns from multiple women about Bowman, ranging from complaints of inappropriate touching to standing too close and sending unwanted messages.

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