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Slavery Museum architect files suit against Celebrate Virginia developer
The lawsuit is not expected to delay the tax sale of the land, said John A. Rife, a partner with Taxing Authority Consulting Services, the Richmond law firm representing the city. He anticipates that the sale will take place this spring.
The Silver Cos., which is developing Celebrate Virginia, will "vigorously" oppose the federal lawsuit, said Jud Honaker, Silver's president of commercial development. He said five different law firms have reviewed the restriction and determined that it is, in fact, legally enforceable and would convey with the land.
Silver contends that the gift agreement made in 2002 allows Celebrate Virginia South LLC, as the donor, to lift the restrictions. That could allow Silver to control the ultimate fate of the 38 acres should the matter proceed to auction.
A sculpture surrounded by overgrown weeds is the only physical sign of the museum project's onetime existence.
The museum, which essentially has ceased all operations, could pay the tax bill anytime before the auction and end the proceedings.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405