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Citizen complaint form names two Roanoke City Council members

Martin Jeffrey files complaint with state police

ROANOKE, Va. – WSLS 10 looked into why two Roanoke City Council members are named in complaints to state police.

We were able to get several emails between city officials. 

Martin Jeffrey ran for mayor in 2016. He said the conversations in several of the emails and actions from council members John Garland and Michelle Dykstra that concern him.

VIEW THE CITIZEN COMPLAIN FORM FILED BY JEFFREY AND OTHER EMAILS

He filed a complaint for various reasons to find out exactly what's going on. Jeffrey said he's not getting the answers he wants from city leaders.

"If you have some serious concerns and you're not getting the answers the only option you have is to go to the state police to get an investigation," said Martin Jeffrey. 

In this citizen complaint to state police, Jeffrey lists council members John Garland and Michelle Dykstra.

Some of the complaints against them include corrupt practices, using city resources and emails, abuse of power and misleading the city regarding their potential conflicts of interest for private interests.

Martin obtained emails showing John Garland asking about permits for the Hope Center located on 11th Street Northwest. 

"Councilman Garland who is directly involved in the emails that went out that clearly shows he initiated actions against a local nonprofit that involves questioning whether or not they should still be operating and then enlisting city staff people against that nonprofit," said Martin. 

John Garland says at first he was helping the Hope Center get up to code on their building. 

"They were upset that I was involved in discussions about code enforcement to get them to have the licenses and permits that they need to do what they were doing. I guess that was misconstrued as a threat because I bought a building across the street," said John Garland. 

When asked about the complaint against him, Garland says he's open to clear the air.

"I'm willing to sit down and talk about any of the accusations in there and explain them. And answer any questions or concerns they may have about any of them.

And Martin says there are some concerns about the recent purchase of the old Villa Heights mansion. The city sold the property to restoration housing, but Martin claims it will be used for other reasons.

"Councilwoman Dykstra is ultimately benefiting from that sale because the organization that she is executive director of, the Boys and Girls Club, is going to be the main tenants in the property. The property comes with $250,000 insurance money," said Martin.

But Dykstra said that is not true.

"There have been discussions about the Boys and Girls Club, which is my employer going into that facility at some point in time in the future. But there is no lease or contract in place. We don't currently have any any ties with Villa Heights," said Michelle Dykstra.

Dykstra said she is hoping this is not a distraction from all the good works leaders are doing to make Roanoke a better city.

Both Garland and Dykstra say they have not received any information from state police about the complaint. WSLS 10 contacted state police and they have the complaint but it has not been sent to the attorney general's office.