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Group sues Asheville on breach of contract over monument razing
Wednesday, 31 March 2021 22:25

From Staff Reports


A lawsuit seeking to stop the demolition of the Vance Monument — widely considered the centerpiece of downtown Asheville — was filed on March 23 by the Society for the Historical Preservation of the 26th North Carolina Troops Inc.

The suit was filed on the same day in which Asheville City Council, voted 6-1 to remove the monument.

“The removal is part of a movement across the South to take down Confederate monuments critics say glorify white supremacy and racism,” the Asheville Citizen Times noted in its story breaking the news online on March 25. “The suit says Asheville is in breach of contract after a 2015 signed agreement between Asheville and the 26th N.C. to restore the monument for which the group raised $138,447.”

In his complaint, attorney H. Edward Phillips wrote:

“The 26th N.C. never intended that the money its organization raised, that its members donated out-of-pocket as individuals, and the countless man hours expended for the better part of three years, would be thrown asunder by elected officials representing the defendants in violation of intent of the donation agreement and likely in violation of state law.

City Attorney Robert Branham said on March 24 that “he believed Asheville would be able to proceed with demolition, which a newly revealed timeline revealed would happen by the end of summer,” the Citizen Times reported.

“We are still analyzing the claim at this stage, but remain confident in our legal authority to removed the monument,” Branham was quoted as saying by the ACT.

In its March 25 online story, the ACT described Phillips as an attorney who “has represented descendents of Confederate cavalry leader and infamous Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest.”



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