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
- Joan Baez, Sly Stone, Steve Martin, Ben E. King -- all honored by the Library of Congress
- StoryCorps to Launch Global Expansion With $1M TED Prize
- Hofstra Event Looks at Bush Presidency
- Did Israel steal uranium from a town in Pennsylvania in the 1960s?
- Sequel to Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom to be published next year
- Emory’s Leslie Harris says we should remember the racist roots of American colleges as we think about what went wrong at OU and other schools
- Stanford historian looks to the U.S. Postal Service to map the boom and bust of 19th-century American West
- U.S. historian denounces Japanese scholars' statement over wartime sexual slavery
- Timothy V Johnson Named Head of Tamiment Library
- History Camp "unconference" returns for the second year in Boston