Norfolk, Va. – Andrew Zoby admitted in federal court he paid thousands in bribes to a pair of Norfolk supervisors in exchange for more city work. He said to make up for the bribes he paid, the city supervisors helped him submit and fraudulent bills to Norfolk.
Norfolk turned over 10,000 documents to the FBI as part of the investigation, and now we know what’s in those documents.
The invoices show Mike Brown, the city plumbing supervisor who has also pleaded guilty, sent Zoby to hundreds and hundreds of plumbing jobs. In some cases, we found Brown sent Zoby on jobs where there was no work to be done. But the city paid anyway.
The documents also show what City Manager Marcus Jones talked about when he acknowledged the bribery investigation last month. He said there needed to be more controls on agreements like this, and these records show there were few controls, if any. Some bills given to the FBI show large payments for relatively small jobs. Others show invoices for jobs where little, or nothing, was done. Zoby was sent on so many jobs last year, including jobs where his plumbers did nothing other that simply flush toilets — that the city spent the whole $250,000 set aside for him before the year was up. So, the city adden another hundred grand to the agreement, and kept Zoby working. Even though they knew he was under federal investigation.
Zoby had a pricing agreement with the city, meaning he agreed to charge certain rates. But an email included in the evidence shows not everyone in Norfolk knew about that agreement. So sometimes Zoby charged more than he was supposed to and the city paid anyway.