Monument Avenue residents drop Lee statue lawsuit for second time

Racial Injustice Confederate Monuments
Posted at 2:37 PM, Jul 16, 2020

RICHMOND, Va. -- A group of Monument Avenue residents has dropped a lawsuit challenging the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue for the second time.

The lawsuit, filed by longtime Monument Avenue resident Helen Taylor and several property owners who wished to remain anonymous, argued removing the statue would violate the terms of the deed conveying the statue.

The group initially filed a lawsuit arguing that they feared the removal of the statue would lead to them losing tax credits and property value on their homes.

That 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 and refiled a new, similar suit in state court.

In June, a separate lawsuit temporarily halted plans to remove the statue of the Confederate general from Monument Avenue based on the original land deed signed in 1890.

The lawsuit, filed by William Gregory, who is the great-grandson of one of the original families that signed over the monument, alleges that Governor Ralph Northam and Virginia officials have failed to protect the Lee Monument grounds and that plans to remove the statue violate the original agreement.

Attorney General Mark Herring filed a motion on Wednesday, requesting that Richmond Circuit Court consolidate two lawsuits.

The motion was expected to be heard on the afternoon of Thursday, July 16, along with a motion Craving Oyer demanding that the anonymous plaintiffs produce documentation supporting their claims that they have standing to challenge the Governor’s statue removal.

The hearing was canceled and Taylor when anonymous plaintiffs filed a motion to drop their lawsuit.

The next hearing scheduled in the Gregory case concerning the Lee statue is on July 23.



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