Commonwealth’s Attorney Tim Martin who was appointed by a Richmond Circuit Court judge to decide whether to charge Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney with a crime for awarding a no bid contract to a friend of Stoney’s has filed a formal request with Attorney General Mark Herring to open an investigation.
The heat Mayor Stoney is facing is a result of the questionable method by which he removed some statues dedicated to Confederate officials of note previously located on Monument Avenue. Specifically, he is under criminal investigation for awarding a $1.8 Million no bid contract to a friend of his, Devon Henry, for the removal of the statues. Mayor Stoney’s justification for awarding this no bid contract to his friend was his unilateral determination that the mere presence of the statues constituted a danger to the citizens of Richmond. Thus, Mayor Stoney determined he could personally order the removal of the statues without engaging in a competitive bidding process or obtaining the approval of the Richmond City Council.
The artifacts are presently located at a wastewater management facility.
Kim Gray of the Richmond City Council referred the investigation of this matter to Commonwealth’s Attorney Collette McEachin, who is the wife of Donald McEachin, the Representative for Virginia’s 4th Congressional District. Collette deferred this matter to the Richmond Circuit Court asking if a Special Prosecutor should be appointed because she thought she had a conflict of interest and didn’t feel comfortable making the decision to charge Mayor Stoney with a crime or not.
The actual removal of the statues was carried out by Connecticut company Smedley Crane & Rigging. I believe Smedley has the only heavy duty cranes on the East Coast which have the load bearing capacity of carrying out such an undertaking although I am certainly not an expert on engineering matters.
As long as I am writing about this matter, allow me to express my personal contempt for the hopelessly incompetent Richmond, Virginia “artist” Paul DiPasquale who oversaw the removal of one of the statues, the Matthew Fontaine Maury statue. This was an inoffensive statue dedicated to Maury’s achievements as a scientist and was not a “Lost Cause” statue.
Meanwhile, Richmond is stuck with DePasquale’s infantile, and frankly bizarre, statue of Arthur Ashe.