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Judge wants Wilder to testify
Date published: 8/16/2012
He said the company "would fight with every last breath" an attempt to remove the restrictions, because a buyer could use the land in ways that might run counter to Celebrate Virginia's own development plans and the promises it has made to city leaders about a tourism-based development.
The covenants were signed in 2002, but Little said the company decided to "restate" them in 2009 after Wilder appeared at a City Council meeting and it became clear that the project was on shaky ground.
A meeting with former museum director Vonita Foster, in which she explained why she was resigning, also concerned Little.
"Gov. Wilder wasn't returning her phone calls and would not give her money to pay bills, despite months of requests," Little said. "Gov. Wilder refused to fund the project in any way."
Little said Foster asked Celebrate Virginia to help with payroll; the company refused. Foster resigned and the museum has had no staff since.
Little's testimony was intended to show that Celebrate Virginia has been financially affected by the museum project's decline. The company had to prove to Tice that it had a financial and legal interest in the museum's bankruptcy case in order to be involved in the case.
Tice said that coming into court Wednesday, he doubted Celebrate Virginia could make that case. But after Little's testimony, he agreed that the company has an interest in the case, especially as it pertains to potentially removing the use covenants on the property.
That means that Celebrate Virginia's motion to convert the case to liquidation or dismiss it can go forward. Those arguments are what Tice will hear Friday.
Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028