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Sources: Front-runner for Portsmouth city manager faces welfare fraud charges in Suffolk

Court records show Sunshine Torrey, who also is known as Sunshine Swinson, is facing two felony charges.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Sources told 13News Now that the person in the lead to become Portsmouth's next city manager is facing felony welfare fraud charges in Suffolk.

Other sources said businesswoman Sunshine Swinson, who also is known as Sunshine Torrey, was the front-runner for city manager after a closed-door meeting of Portsmouth City Council Tuesday night.

The sources told 13News Now she needed to undergo a background check before city council officially voted to hire her for the job. They added that the background check could take a few weeks.

13News Now was able to confirm the charges against Swinson in Suffolk on Wednesday. Court records list the offense date as June 5, 2017. They show she was arrested on Nov. 28, 2020. Her arraignment is scheduled for April 28.

It's the latest twist in the city's efforts to appoint a new city manager. Former city manager Dr. Lydia Pettis Patton resigned last year after felony charges were filed against several public officials and community leaders in connection with that summer's vandalism of the city's Confederate monument.

Then earlier this year, former councilman and mayoral candidate Danny Meeks almost became Portsmouth’s city manager, with city council approving his appointment... only to unanimously reject it less than 15 minutes later.

Meeks was not one of the more than 75 applications the city received for the position, and several council members voicing concern for his lack of qualifications for the job. City council then approved an extension of the application deadline, allowing Meeks another opportunity to apply.

Swinson and one of her businesses were featured in an installment of Friday Flavor in 2019: