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Investigation Into Mayor’s Confederate Monument Removal Contract Requested

richmond mayor levar stoney stands at a podium
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney defended himself against claims he awarded a contract to a campaign donor at a COVID-19 press conference on Wednesday. (Photo Courtesy of City of Richmond Livestream)

Richmond City Councilwoman Kim Gray is requesting an investigation into how Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration awarded the contract for removing Confederate monuments last month.

Gray, who is running against Stoney for mayor, sent a letter to Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin Tuesday afternoon. She’s asking that McEachin look into  a recent report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch alleging that Stoney awarded the $1.8 million contract to Devon Henry, a Newport News-based contractor and campaign donor. The report also alleges that Stoney did not follow the city’s emergency purchases policy.

Gray said she decided to request the investigation after constituents reached out with concerns about contract.

"We are tasked with making sure we are stewards of taxpayer dollars, that we are not being wasteful and that we are following the laws and rules that are laid out when it comes to public dollars," Gray said. "Those rules were ignored. Those laws were not followed.

McEachin told VPM she is currently reviewing the letter and has not yet made a decision on whether or not to pursue an investigation. 

At a press conference on Wednesday, Stoney defended his actions, saying he was not directly involved in selecting Team Henry Enterprises for the contract.

“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.”

Stoney also defended Henry’s attempt to mask his company’s identity. He played a racist voicemail he recently received as an example of the type of vitriol he says Henry was trying to protect himself from.

VPM first reported last month that the city contracted with a shell company, NAH, LLC., that was created less than 10 days before cranes rolled up to the Stonewall Jackson statue on July 1. A follow-up investigation by Times-Dispatch reporter Mark Robinson found the shell company was linked to Team Henry Enterprises, owned by Devon Henry of Glen Allen. According to  campaign finance records, Henry has donated $4,000 to Stoney and his One Richmond PAC since 2016. 

In an email statement, spokesperson Sam Schwartzkopf 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.

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