Augusta County Prosecutor Timothy Martin will investigate a contract used by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney earlier this summer to remove parts of eight of Richmond’s Confederate monuments.
In August, Richmond City Councilmember and candidate for Stoney’s seat Kim Gray called for investigation into the contract. The contract paid $1.8 million to NAH LLC, which has ties to Devon Henry who, in 2016, donated $4,000 to Stoney’s campaign for mayor.
Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin declined to investigate, noting that Henry had previously donated money to McEachin’s husband. As a result, Martin was called in, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Stoney’s spokesperson Jim Nolan told The Virginia Star in an email, “Contractors locally, regionally and up and down the East Coast were contacted. The city received a written proposal from only one firm that was willing to do the work and assume the risk it would entail.”
Nolan added, “In fact, NAH was not initially contacted by city or administration officials but was referred to the city by another vendor that had turned down the work. Politicians who refused to act sooner could learn a thing or two from the courage shown by this black-owned firm and the crew that did the work in the face of white supremacist threats.”
Without consulting the city council, Stoney used emergency powers to remove the monuments before the Virginia General Assembly had authorized local jurisdictions to remove their Confederate monuments, according to reporting by NPR. “Our mayor had already made the decision to remove them and started doing that prior to our vote,” Gray said in a virtual campaign stop. She also criticized Stoney for spending $1.8 million to remove the monuments.
“The size, scale and number of monuments removed in Richmond is not comparable to other cities, which have largely removed smaller monuments,” Nolan told The Virginian Star. “But consider that New Orleans paid more than $2 million to remove four statues. Dallas paid roughly $450,000 to remove one.”
“Considering that the city removed 14 parts of eight monuments to the Lost Cause over a week,” Nolan concluded, referring to the Civil War, “we firmly believe the city got a fair price for the services rendered.”
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