Richmond awards contract to remove monument pedestals

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Richmond has awarded a contract for removing the city’s last major Confederate statue and the pedestals where other Civil War monuments once stood.

The city published a notice Wednesday saying it will award the contract to the same company that recently finished taking down the city’s Robert E. Lee memorial — Newport News-based Team Henry Enterprises, which bid $1.5 million on the project, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

According to procurement documents, the job includes removing the monument of Confederate Gen. A.P. Hill and his remains, which are buried underneath it, as well as nine other monument pedestals.

Another company, Stratified Inc., said it could complete the work for $1 million. But as Richmond was preparing to award it the contract, the city found that the Washington-based company didn’t have a necessary state contractor’s license.

A city official familiar with the process told the newspaper that Team Henry protested plans to award the contract to the other company. Stratified Inc.’s CEO Clive Diaz said Wednesday that he intended to get the license immediately, but lawyers he consulted told him that the city had the right to reject the bid without it.

In 2020, Richmond awarded a $1.8 million contract to a shell company associated with Team Henry to remove the city’s Confederate statues, which Mayor Levar Stoney and Gov. Ralph Northam ordered dismantled following protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Henry later said he formed the shell company for safety reasons, as contractors taking down Confederate monuments in other places had been threatened or subject to violence.

The Virginia State Police investigated the deal after former Councilwoman Kim Gray raised concerns that company owner Devon Henry had previously donated to the mayor’s election campaign and political action committee. A prosecutor didn’t find evidence of public corruption and ended the investigation last summer.

Richmond’s chief administrative officer, Lincoln Saunders, told the Times-Dispatch on Wednesday that state officials had suggested Henry for this last job after already engaging him to remove the Lee statue.

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