Politics Obstruct Civil War Damage Case Against Developer
On July 11, 2001 a National Park Service (NPS) ranger discovered that an employee of Fawn Lake, a real estate development in Fredericksburg, Virginia, damaged approximately a half acre (24,000 sq. ft.) of Confederate earthworks on Longstreet Drive in the Wilderness Battlefield portion of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Fawn Lake is a golf-course community of 1,400 luxury condominiums, ranging from $700,000 to $1.4 million, whose website touts that “the land surrounding Fawn Lake is rich in Civil War history.” It is a project of NTS Development Company, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, whose President and CEO is Brian Lavin, a campaign contributor to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Majority Whip.
Two years earlier, in July 1999, NTS had destroyed 100 feet of Confederate earthworks. Despite the intervention of Sen. McConnell, NTS paid $60,000 in a settlement of a $96,000 assessment brought by the Park Service. For the more serious repeat violation in 2001, NPS asked for a considerably bigger fine.
This time around, however, Sen. McConnell had an inside ally, NPS Deputy Director Don Murphy, who lives in Fawn Lake and is a member of its homeowner’s association. Staff from Sen. McConnell’s office contacted the NPS Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs, headed by a Bush political appointee named Jeff Taylor. In a series of meetings and phone conversations, McConnell’s staff, Murphy, Taylor and lawyers for NTS focused on how to reduce, or possibly waive, the monetary damages.
comments powered by Disqus
- South Dakota drops history as a high school requirement
- The Forgotten History Of 'Violent Displacement' That Helped Create The National Parks
- Gospel of Jesus’ Wife May Be Authentic, New Tests Suggest
- Architect Sought for Obama’s Presidential Library Complex
- 2016 election's leading candidates have strong Jewish family ties
- Ron Radosh plans to defend Warren Harding in a new book
- Historians tackle America’s mass incarceration problem
- Report: Russian studies in crisis
- Medievalist calls on historians to welcome pop culture