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Council seeking museum data page 4
Fredericksburg City Council seeks details about U.S. National Slavery Museum before granting more financial incentives

Date published: 7/10/2005


Damron said he was "not going to receive it." The reporter told him she was leaving the request and dropped it inside his office as he closed the door.

Federal regulations for what the Internal Revenue Service refers to as Form 990--the tax return for nonprofit organizations--state that it is to be provided to anyone upon request during normal business hours.

Foster put a copy of the 2004 tax return in the mail the next day to both the newspaper and Rodenberg. Copies were received in both offices July 1.

The penalty for a tax-exempt organization that fails to allow anyone from the public to see and get a copy of IRS Form 990 is $20 for each day the form is not produced, up to a maximum of $10,000. The penalty for "willful failure" to allow inspection of the documents is $5,000, according to the IRS's filing and disclosure regulations.

Museum eyes 2007 opening

Former governor and current Richmond Mayor L. Douglas Wilder, a grandson of slaves and the nation's first black governor, was inspired to build a slavery museum in 1993 while on a trip to West Africa while governor. The museum is to be built on 38 acres within the Celebrate Virginia South tourism complex under development by The Silver Cos.

The Silver Cos. donated the land for the museum. The site overlooks the Rappahannock River just west of Interstate 95 and is the museum's greatest financial asset, according to its tax return.

The museum was originally to be completed in February 2007, but Foster said at a June 8 Planning Commission meeting that she is now "shooting for" October 2007.

The Free Lance-Star has been reporting the museum will cost an estimated $100 million. That figure resulted from an interview last summer with museum board member Jacob Gelt Dekker, who said the original cost estimate was cut by roughly half because the land had been donated.

Damron and Foster have declined to confirm that amount or offer a more precise figure. The Free Lance-Star last week also offered Wilder the opportunity to respond to the questions submitted to Foster.

Councilman Tom Fortune said that's the kind of information he would like to obtain.

"I just never have gotten a good feel for (a) the total, and (b) where the money is going to come from," Fortune said.

Annual report falls short

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