Statue Contract Investigation: the Ball’s in Herring’s Court

by James A. Bacon

A special prosecutor charged with investigating a $1.8 million contract to take down Confederate statues in the City of Richmond, is asking Attorney General mark Herring to authorize the Virginia State Police to help him.

“I hereby request that you authorize the Bureau of Criminal Investigation within the Virginia State Police to conduct an investigation into this matter,” wrote Timothy Martin, commonwealth’s attorney for August County, to handle the matter.

According to the Associated Press, Martin told Jeffrey Breit, an attorney for Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, he needs additional investigators to conduct interviews.

During a period of civil unrest early this summer, Stoney bypassed state and local emergency-procurement regulations to give a $1.8 million contract to a shell company owned by Devon Henry, founder of Team Henry Enterprises, a minority contracting firm. The deal has been criticized not only for failing to comply with the minimal emergency regulations but on the grounds that the charge was excessive and that Henry had contributed money to Stoney’s electoral campaign in the past. Stoney, Henry and others have argued that the high price tag was justified by security considerations during a state of emergency, even though the contract provided that Richmond City Police would provide security for the out-of-state rigging crew that did the job. Henry’s group removed all the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue with the exception of the Lee Statue, which is under litigation.

City Councilwoman Kim Gray, who was running against Stoney for mayor this fall, called for an investigation. Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin referred the matter to Richmond Circuit Court Judge Joi Taylor, who appointed Martin as special prosecutor.

Bacon’s bottom line: This will be an interesting test for Herring, who is fighting for the removal of the Lee Statue on Richmond’s Monument Avenue. Will he approve providing state police resources to aid the investigation into Stoney, who is on the same side of the Confederate statue controversy as he is? Or will he squelch any assistance — perhaps on the grounds that the investigation is politically motivated?

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10 responses to “Statue Contract Investigation: the Ball’s in Herring’s Court

  1. I recall mentioning this before. There are only a couple of ways to get a state police investigation of an elected official going, putting the Attorney General squarely on the hook. I’m glad the request has been made. If Stoney has nothing to hide, he should be eager to have this all cleared up.

  2. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    I expect Herring to ignore this request as if it were never made.

  3. This is yet another opportunity for Virginia Republicans to bring the honesty of the state’s Democrats into question. Between Dominion Dick Saslaw’s campaign finances, Filler-Corn’s lies and fines and Stoney’s secretive and excessive statue removal contract there is more than enough to start a cadence around the honest of Dem politicians. With the possibility of Terry McAuliife (GreenTech) running for governor next year this seems to be a potent issue.

  4. Don the Ripper,
    McAuliffe is being sued by Chinese investors about Green Tech. He has acknowledged that he’s under a federal probe about the firm. Do you now of any outcomes yet?

    • I don’t but I will look into it. Outside of the legal issues, if McAuliffe can demonstrate that he personally lost money on the GreenTech deal I’d give him a break. I’ve made money on entrepreneurial ventures and lost money on entrepreneurial ventures. That’s part of being an entrepreneur. You become a rent seeker when you use regulation and public funding to start a business that fails but personally make money anyway.

  5. How dare you question Kurtis Blow’s integrity!
    He will get Justin Fairfax to promise a $100,000 “contribution” to Herring’s Gov campaign, then authorize the investigation…

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