News & Features » News and Features

Morrissey Settles House Swap Suit



Delegate Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico, has reached a settlement with a couple over a Henrico County home to which they all lay claim.
The setup is complex. The house at 8402 Franconia Road initially belonged to Janet and Oswald Roberts, who were in the midst of a move to a new home. They are connected to Morrissey through their son, Berkley Alexander.

Before winning a seat in the General Assembly last year, Morrissey had been out of the country, and says in court filings that he gave Alexander, a registered sex offender, power of attorney over his personal finances while he was overseas.

After Morrissey returned to Virginia, he accused Alexander of stealing $360,000 of his money, according to a lawsuit filed by Morrissey. The settlement says Alexander admits to stealing $60,000, although the question of the theft is ongoing.

The motives behind what happened next are contested, but the facts are not. In January 2007, Richard Knapp, an attorney who frequently works with Morrissey, prepared a deed that would transfer ownership of the Robertses' home to their son. Alexander confesses to telling his parents the transfer would only make him a joint owner, when in fact it resulted in their removal from the deed.

Four days later, Knapp prepared a document transferring the property from Alexander to Kenneth Stoner, a dentist and longtime friend of Morrissey's. Stoner and Morrissey testified in a court hearing that Stoner held the property because Morrissey owed him money.
Morrissey gave the Franconia Road address as his residence when he registered with the State Board of Elections to run for office in 2007. After he won the Democratic primary, he moved to another rental location in his district.

The Robertses sued their son, Morrissey and Stoner, alleging fraud on the part of Alexander and Morrissey. Morrissey sued the Robertses and Alexander alleging defamation. Although Alexander was a defendant in both suits, he is not party to the settlement, which was reached Sept. 26.

According to the agreement, Morrissey and Stoner will sell the house and split the proceeds with the Robertses. The delegate and the dentist get the first $100,000; the Roberts get the rest up to the assessed value of the property.

The Henrico assessor's office has appraised the home at $198,900, but under the terms of the settlement, private estimates may be used to reach an amount to which both parties agree. Any proceeds more than that will be split with 80 percent of the money going to the Robertses and 20 percent to Morrissey and Stoner.

The settlement stipulates that if Morrissey or Stoner later bring any claim against Alexander, $60,000 from the house proceeds will count toward satisfying it.


Add a comment