Who is Behind NAH, LLC?

Screen Grab from the contractor’s invoice filed by NAH, LLC, for $1.8 million in work performed in removing Confederate statues and cannons.

by James A. Bacon

Most of the Confederate statues and memorials in the City of Richmond are gone. Only the statue of Robert E. Lee, the subject of ongoing litigation,  remains. The statues and cannons are not coming back. The broken egg cannot be reassembled. But there are legitimate issues relating to Mayor Levar Stoney’s use or abuse of power. It’s one thing to remove the statues in accordance with state law and local ordinance. It’s another to take them down in violation of the same laws and ordinances under pressure from protesters and mobs.

One big question is by what authority Stoney spent $1.8 million to pay the contractor that removed the memorials. City Council never appropriated the funds. An employee of a state agency familiar with state procurement policy, who asks to remain anonymous, thought Stoney’s procurement of statue-removal services seemed “irregular,” so she filed a Freedom of Information Request for more information. She shared the resulting documents with Bacon’s Rebellion.

Among her more interesting findings was the fact that Stoney contracted on July 1, 2020, with a Henrico County entity, NAH, LLC, to do the work. The paperwork for creating the partnership had been filed with the State Corporation Commission June 22 — only days previously. The timing suggests that NAH was not an ongoing business enterprise but was formed for the express purpose of removing the statues.

That raises several questions. Who are the principals behind NAH? How was the plan conceived? Do the principals have any connection to Stoney beyond the signing and execution of the contract itself?

Yesterday, I left a voice mail message with Stoney’s press secretary Jim Nolan asking the identity of the principals behind NAH. He has not responded. Likewise, I left a voice mail message with NAH LLC’s registered agent, a Northern Virginia attorney, Diana Lyn C. McGraw. She has not responded either. If either one gets back to me, I will add an update to this story. 

When organizers file Articles of Organization for a Virginia limited liability company (LLC) with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, only bare bones information is required: the name of the LLC, the name and address of the registered agent, the initial address and the principal office address of the LLC, The form provides a place for the organizers to sign. “One or more organizers must sign the articles,” state the directions for the form. “If signing on behalf of an organizer that is a business entity, include the business entity’s name, your printed name, and your role within the business entity.”

The information is made available through the SCC’s searchable Clerk Information System. Search results for NAH LLC yields no names of principals — only the notation “Management Structure: Member-Managed.”

At this point, I am operating on the assumption that the parties involved want to keep the names of the principals confidential. The question, then, is why? What do they not want the public to know?

Let’s start with the chronology.

Protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman spread to Richmond in June and quickly conflated with a long-standing movement to remove Confederate statues and memorials. Protesters first sprayed statues around the city with graffiti. Action then escalated when groups pulled down a statue of Jefferson Davis, a statue of Christopher Columbus, and a memorial to the First Virginia Infantry regiment formed before the Revolutionary War. The efforts culminated with an unsuccessful attempt to use a rope to pull down a statue of J.E.B. Stuart on Monument Avenue. Declaring an unlawful assembly, Richmond police fired pepper spray and flash bangs to disperse the crowd.

On June 22, Stoney told City Council he was seeking a legal avenue to remove the statues. However, interim City Attorney Haskell Brown warned that such an action would run the risk of violating state law, which could result in felony charges.

“I’m willing to take that risk,” Stoney said. “If I had Superman strength and could go and arrive at Monument Avenue and remove them myself and get slapped with a class 6 felony, I would have done that yesterday.” But any city employee who removed a statue could be subject to prosecution, and he said he didn’t want to put anyone else at risk.

That same day McGraw, an attorney in the Tysons office of the Fox Rothschild law firm, filed the organization papers for NAH, LLC. Her law firm biography describes her as a “versatile attorney with a background in construction. … Diana provides consulting services to government contractors who need support with work acquisition, project management, … and small business utilization and contract compliance.” She also has experience “managing small business DBE/MBE/SWAM subcontracting plans” and “drafting joint venture and teaming agreements.”

A company by the same name had been organized in 2017. The registered agent was John D. Konstantinou, a Williamsburg attorney. The company addressed was listed as Toano, Va., a community just west of Williamsburg, but no information about the principals was made public. The SCC files indicate that the LLC went inactive on March 2, 2020, automatically canceled due to non payment of the registration fee. However, the LLC was eligible for reinstatement.

It cannot be determined from the SCC documents if the principal (or principals) behind the original NAH, LLC, was (were) the same as the entity formed June 22.

On June 29, Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order “declaring a state of emergency due to civil unrest in the City of Richmond.” Accordingly, he directed “state and local governments to render appropriate assistance to prepare for and respond to this situation.”

According to documents obtained from the City of Richmond through FOIA, Stoney signed an agreement July 1 with NAH, LLC, in which NAH would “make available the manpower and equipment necessary to relocate certain sculptures owned by the city as directed by the City’s Emergency Manager.” The agreement listed eleven statues and memorials to be removed.

Stated the agreement:

NAH LLC has assembled a world-class team of riggers, operators, fabricators, and artists who specialize in the preservation, handling and placement of one-of-a-kind art pieces to assist in the completion of this project. …

Cost of Services:

  • NAH LLC will mobilize the necessary men and equipment to the City of Richmond for the price of $900,000. This amount becomes owed when NAH LLC receives direction to proceed from the City’s Emergency Manager, his agent, or any other authorized City official. NAH LLC anticipates this mobilization to begin on or about June 26, 2020 and be complete on or about June 27, 2020.

  • NAH LLC will keep the necessary manpower and equipment on standby in, or very near, the City of Richmond, ready to work at the direction of the City. …. The City agrees to pay $180,000 per day for this time, regardless of whether crews are on standby or working on the relocations.

The agreement for the City of Richmond was signed by Stoney. The copy provided under the FOIA request did not include the signature of the NAH LLC official.

The same day, according to press reports, Stoney went public with the information that removal would cost $1.8 million. He did not say where in the city budget the money would come from. There was some speculation that the sum could be covered by private donations. A local citizen, Shannon Harton, announced a Fund to Move the Monuments campaign to cover the city’s expenses. However, as of July 29 that effort had succeeded in raising only $15,634 towards its $1 million goal.

At the City Council meeting that day, Councilpersons Stephanie Lynch and  Michael Jones introduced Resolution 2020-R041 authorizing Stoney, in his capacity as Director of Emergency Management, to order “the temporary removal and storage of certain statues in the City of Richmond, whose presence creates a public safety concern.” The resolution was referred to the Finance and Economic Development Standing Committee.

Work commenced the next day with the removal of the Commodore Maury statue and globe, and continued on the other memorials for the next few days without major incident.

A contractor’s invoice included with the FOIA documents shows that NAH LCC billed the city for $1.8 million on July 10. The company’s address was listed as a Henrico County post office box.

After the money had been spent and statues removed, the Finance committee recommended approval of the emergency resolution, but City Council voted July 27 to reject it.

Bacon’s bottom line: Having presented the evidence, I now enter the realm of conjecture. Why the secrecy about the identity of NAH LLC? Here is a hypothesis: Stoney would find the identity to be politically embarrassing. It appears that he short-circuited the city’s usual procurement policies. He did not write a scope of project. He did not put the job out to bid. He cut a deal with an unknown party, and then authorized that party to act despite failing to gain City Council approval.

Stoney needs to come clean with a full explanation of how the agreement with NAH LLC came to be, and who the NAH principals are. Perhaps the process was entirely legal. Perhaps there was no cronyism was involved. But $180,000 per day is a lot of money to charge for some heavy equipment and a work crew. Until Stoney opens up, the citizens of Richmond have every reason to be suspicious.

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31 responses to “Who is Behind NAH, LLC?

  1. Is this sorta like tilting at windmills – the ” you might have beaten your wife” version?

    😉

  2. No, it is not “tilting at windmills”. The deed may be done and cannot be undone. However, the whole thing smells and is an example of why citizens are cynical of government. It would have been nice if Stoney had spent his time as mayor coming up with ways to made the everyday government effective and efficient, rather than chasing shiny, questionable economic development projects and then flaunting state law and procurement procedures to make political points in an election year.

  3. Baconator with extra cheese

    He’s proven he is perfectly qualified to lead RVA into the deserved future of Detroit-upon-the-James or maybe Nouveau Petersburg.
    If VCU gets rid of their police force he can accomplish the mission in roughly 3 years.

  4. Baconator with extra cheese

    If Farrell’s kid is behind NAH, LLC I may die from laughter.

    • Let’s reverse engineer this. Who has the initials N.A.H.? Start by thinking about people whose last name begins with H, and work backward from there.

      • When you start a business not using your own name, there is another form you file at the courthouse. Fictitious name registration of some kind. If I actually cared as the city sinks beneath the waves, I’d look into it. I don’t. Perhaps somebody else can follow the money.

        It is probably a well known and reputable company trying to hide, and protect itself from lawsuit. Might be layers within layers.

        The RTD could do it, but I bet won’t. Va Mercury could do it, but I bet won’t. Maybe Russian hackers know….

        • Baconator with extra cheese

          Epic wording Mr Haner. You missed your calling!
          As this happens I can’t help but laugh. But I do feel bad for those who will grow up in the ruins.

          • Steve Haner

            Paid for my writing since 1972, probably a couple million words….not sure I missed that calling. Might have squandered it….

  5. Baconator with extra cheese

    NAvy Hill? Bang…. got ’em dead to rights!
    Too easy…

  6. Somebody needs to look down McAuliffe’s donor file for those initials….

    • There’s a Rolex, loans, and a ride in a Ferrari in it if you find the name

      • So Democrats and Republicans have been corrupt? Please say it ain’t so!!!!

        • Sadly, only Libertarians are incorruptible… unelectable, hence incorruptible.

          • Oh, I am so sorry as it was not my intention to leave out folks of any ilk, Libertarians, Green Party, etc. I just didn’t think there are enough of them to warrant mention. This problem lies in the human condition, not any particular party. All humans are capable of corruption- some just find it a little bit easier than others. We call those folks politicians.

          • Politician is a criminal with popularity.

  7. There’s a N.A.H. LLC in NC. It’s a landscaping company.

    The Urban Dictionary has this:
    nah
    nah a typically turkish cultural gesture which expresses misbelieve, distrust, challenge, opposition or disobedience. nah occurs when someone puts his/her thumb between forefinger and middle finger and the nahhed fist is shown to the person at whom it is aimed.

    a more brutal version of the gesture exists, by creating a “slash” like sound after turning the nahhed fist with an immediate forward motion, in order that the nahhed wrist hits the other hand’s palm.

    literally nah means “like the hell it is?”

    And about a half dozen others in NYC, MI, Wisconsin, Utah, …
    The only name associated with any of them (MI) was PAUL KUDIRKA.

  8. It’s time to seriously consider moving Virginia’s state capital from Richmond to some other city – perhaps Charlottesville or Roanoke. Let’s face it, the stunted City of Richmond’s only claim to fame is that it was once the capital of the Confederacy. Do we really want modern Virginia to be politically centered in the former capital of the Confederacy?

    Richmond seems like a nice sleepy small city. However, if the Confederate statues glorify a discredited past why doesn’t the former capital of the Confederacy also bring back graven images of enslavement.

    Time to move on. I vote for Roanoke.

    • hmm…. interesting……

      ” The Confederacy had three capital cities at varying points: Montgomery, Alabama; Richmond, Virginia; and Danville, Virginia.

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      Mr. DJ to be fair to all of our fellow Virginians the capitol should be placed at Mount Rush in Buckingham County. The official geographic center of the commonwealth. Lots of equity can be found here.

      • Good idea. But let’s plan for the future. How far will the geographic center shift to the west when Tangier Island slips below the surface along with half of the Eastern Shore?

    • Hampton. It was the first. Besides, water views have a calming effect.

      • Come to the Holy City this weekend. The VMFA has a display of Egyptian artifacts from some sunken cities off the coast near Alexandria – a nice collection. Sea level rise 2,000 years ago? Shhhhh. Don’t let that get around. In 2,000 years you can see the sunken treasures from the Chrysler.

        • Alexandria? You sure? Not Aswan?

          Even still, the rise then was local, sudden hence geologic, to the Mediterranean. Big difference.

          Besides, the Hajj is being restricted to safe distancing this year.

          • Steve Haner

            I’m not going to let that BS pass. Worldwide constant sea level rise since the end of the ice age isn’t even controversial. And the Hampton Roads issue is definitely due to subsidence, too (hence, geologic.)

          • You weren’t referencing Biblical events? Sure, and expansion of water because of thermal changes are big too. Take all 3, and Hampton Roads is doomed. Say, would you like a WOV beach condo? The spit is stable sand.

        • Baconator with extra cheese

          Treasures of Egypt? That doesn’t seem very PC… the Egyptians enslaved the jews for eons….

  9. How ironic. The Commonwealth and the City of Richmond spend millions on certifying and helping small, minority and woman-owned (SWAM) businesses get government contracts.

    Apparently, however, when push comes to shove, SWAM businesses are forgotten and the city doesn’t even rush a certification through for N.A.H.

  10. If you look at the RA History for NAH LLC, there’s a Nicholas Solosky who happens to be a contributor to the “the Federal Government Contracts & Procurement blog”
    https://governmentcontracts.foxrothschild.com

    You can also look-up other LLCs the RA represents

  11. Eric the Half a Troll

    What an LLC where you can’t trace the owner? Clearly a developer.

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