Joe Morrissey, who last week won the Democratic primary for the 74th District House of Delegates seat, says he no longer fights with fists. But he's putting plenty of fight into his legal efforts to resist parting with his assets, according to Thomas Roberts, the attorney representing Garien Wycoff.
Wycoff, a building subcontractor who was beaten by Morrissey in a now infamous July 3, 1999, dispute, won a $1 million court judgment against the once-pugilistic former prosecutor, a judgment that Morrissey has not yet paid off.
Morrissey says Wycoff's attorney secured a court hearing on the matter within days of the June 12 primary in an effort to electioneer him out of the race.
Now Morrissey says he just wants to continue with plans for his company, TLC Residential Inc., to open a group home for the mentally retarded at his former Varina estate, located on 7.5 acres at 8700 Osborne Turnpike.
Morrissey calls the plan "the most purposeful thing I've ever done" in pursuit of helping others in need.
Roberts agrees that Morrissey has been purposeful only in his deception. After the Wycoff judgment, Roberts says Morrissey employed various schemes to hold on to his Varina home and other properties.
In the wake of the judgment, Morrissey stopped paying his mortgage and the Ohio company that held the note began foreclosure proceedings. Morrissey then used an irrevocable trust he created in his daughter Angela Schaefer's name to purchase the property. The purchase occurred through a company then calling itself Crestar Mortgage Inc.
Crestar was no relation to the national bank; rather, it was a small company created by Ernest L. Hazelwood Jr., a Morrissey associate. It was also staffed by other Morrissey associates, Roberts alleges, including a man named Berkley A. Alexander, who also makes an appearance on the state's sex offender registry.
That same Alexander now identifies himself as an employee of a company called JDM of Virginia LLC. Neighbors who contacted Style say Alexander represents himself as an employee of Morrissey and JDM. The Virginia State Police sex offender registry Web site also lists Alexander's place of employment as JDM of Virginia.
JDM of Virginia, according to Richmond Behavioral Health Authority records, owns TLC Residential.
Morrissey, in court two weeks ago, told an administrative hearing judge considering Wycoff's petition that he is sheltering assets to avoid payment. Morrissey said he used his daughter's trust to buy the house so "that eventually, when I came back from Australia, I'd be able to live out on my farm and that that house would be protected."
Other properties buildings in downtown Richmond and acreage near the Varina estate were similarly moved from Morrissey's direct control by purchase or other means, and placed under the protection of friends.
Asked to explain his motives in securing his Varina property, Morrissey says in an unofficial court transcript obtained by Style that he acted so "it wouldn't be seized by Mr. Roberts."
A decision in the case could take months, attorneys say. S