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Special Prosecutor Requested to Investigate Confederate Monument Removal

photo of richmond city hall building with dark clouds overhead
FILE PHOTO: Craig Carper/VPM

Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin is asking that a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate the handling of a $1.8 million contract to remove Confederate monuments. 

McEachin’s request to the Richmond Circuit Court comes after Councilwoman Kim Gray demanded her office look into Mayor Levar Stoney’s handling of the contract. VPM first reported back in July that the city had paid $1.8 million to a shell company NAH, LLC. A follow-up investigation by the Richmond Times-Dispatch found that the company was tied to Devon Henry, a donor to Stoney’s previous mayoral campaign.

Reached by email Wednesday, McEachin said she made the request for a special prosecutor to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

“Since my office could be perceived to have a conflict, I have asked the Circuit Court to select and appoint a Commonwealth’s Attorney from outside Richmond to determine if a special grand jury should be impaneled,” she told VPM. 

McEachin previously refused to investigate the matter because Henry also donated to her husband’s campaign back in 2011. She is married to U.S. Representative Donald McEachin. 

After being informed of McEachin’s refusal to investigate last week, Gray demanded McEachin recuse herself or request Virginia’s attorney general get involved. 

“...Leaving unresolved the questions that have been raised about the contract…serves to undermine public trust and confidence,” Gray wrote to McEachin. “The citizens of Richmond are entitled to answers and deserve a fair and impartial review of the facts of this matter.”

Stoney has denied there was any wrongdoing in awarding the monument removal contract to NAH, LLC. He said at a press conference last month that he was not directly involved in the award.

“I don’t get involved in the procurement process ever,” he said. “That has been the practice of my office from day one, and the process that was followed through, in the right fashion, for this particular contract.”

In an email to VPM, spokesperson Sam Schwartzkopf also said the Stoney administration first reached out to more than six other contracting firms in the mid-Atlantic region, all of whom declined to take the project.