No-show anonymous donor is bad news for National Slavery Museum

Posted at 7:08 PM, Dec 07, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-07 19:08:53-05

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (WTVR) -- Will a National Slavery museum make it’s way to the City of Fredericksburg?

City officials are taking steps to sell the museum’s site in a tax sale. After a Federal judge dismissed the Bankruptcy case last August when a promise was made by an anonymous donor to pay off the city’s $300,000 tax bill.

Now, the project’s architect is filing suit to get its money. And our camera finds the property in total disarray.

Inside the Memorial Garden stands an empty wine bottle and graffitti. And destruction of Historical markers.

That's what CBS6 found leading into the future site of the National Slavery museum here in the City of Fredericksburg.

It appears that vandals have defaced the property.

But some are asking where is the determination to get the 100-million dollar project built?

"We certainly would still love to see the museum come. But I'm afraid that's not going to happen,” said Judson Honaker, President, Silver companies.

But what is happening - more legal wrangling for the project.

CBS 6 obtained these court documents filed in Fredericksburg Circuit court.

The National Slavery museum's largest creditor, Pei Partnership Architect, wants a judge to remove the restrictions put on the property when it was donated to former Governor Doug Wilder and the museum in 2002.

Wilder owes the New York Architect $5 million to build the museum on this sprawling 38 acres that's now an overgrown field.

"Clearly, he wants to do whatever he can to try to get paid. But we're not the one who hired him,” said Honaker.

Jud Honaker, President of Silver companies who donated the land, says they plan to fight any commercial or residential development.

"We’re opposing that move. That parcel is very important part of our project. And it’s very important to us what goes there,” said Honaker. “The restrictions were placed there for a reason obviously. And we're very confident that there's no way to remove the restrictions once it's in place.”

And developers say the vision for a National Slavery museum would pave the way for future tourism.

"It's all about bringing people to Fredericksburg. We got a lot of history here. It goes back to the Revolutionary war and the Civil war. And we want to promote that and bring economic development to the City of Fredericksburg,” said Honaker.

No one has heard from former Governor Doug Wilder, his attorney Sandra Robinson or that anonymous donor.

Our calls to Wilder and Robinson have not been returned.

Monday, a Circuit court judge in Fredericksburg will decide whether or not to remove those restrictions attached to the land. The developer is the only one to do that.

Honaker tells CBS 6, he would only do so, if it wa used for another museum or another type of tourism project.

Stay with CBS 6 News and for the latest updates on this story.