RICHMOND, Va. – A group of Monument Avenue residents has dropped one lawsuit challenging the removal of the Lee statue and replaced it with another.
The first lawsuit was filed by six Monument Avenue residents who said they feared the removal of the statue would lead to them losing tax credits and property value on their homes.
Governor Ralph Northam, Virginia Secretary of Administration, Director of the Virginia Department of General Services, and the Director of the Virginia Division of Engineering & Buildings were named the defendants in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed in state court, but Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that he had moved the matter to federal court.
In response, the plaintiffs dropped the suit altogether on Thursday and refiled a new, similar suit in state court. The plaintiffs' attorney confirmed the action to the Associated Press.
The new lawsuit argues removing the statue would violate the terms of the deed conveying the statue.
A lawsuit filed last week, halted plans to remove the Lee statue from Monument Avenue based on the original land deed signed in 1890.
That lawsuit, filed by William Gregory, who is the great-grandson of one of the original families that signed over the monument, alleges that Governor Northam and Virginia officials have failed to protect the Lee Monument grounds and that plans to remove the statue violate the original agreement.
Northam had previously ordered the removal of the statue from Monument Avenue "as soon as possible."
He said now is the time to deal with symbols that honor the cause of division in the commonwealth, which is home to more Confederate commemorations than any other state.