The new lawsuit, filed by six residents who own property on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, claims that the statue’s removal would adversely affect the plaintiffs by nullifying the neighborhood’s status as a National Historic Landmark district, resulting in “the loss of favorable tax treatment and reduction in property values.”
“Plaintiffs will also suffer injury as a result of the loss of a priceless work of art from their neighborhood and the degradation of the internationally recognized avenue on which they reside,” the suit reads.
The lawsuit, filed in Richmond Circuit Court, says removal of the statue would also violate the monument’s 1890 deed, which stipulates that the Commonwealth of Virginia “will hold said Statue and pedestal and circle of ground perpetually sacred to the monumental purpose to which they have been devoted and that [Virginia] will faithfully guard it and affectionately protect it,” according to court documents.
Patrick McSweeny, an attorney for the Monument Avenue residents, confirmed to CNN that they had refiled a lawsuit, but he would not comment on the suit’s substance.
In a statement on their website, the Monument Avenue Preservation Society, a neighborhood group dedicated to historic preservation, expressed support for the removal of the Lee statue and others.
“Black lives matter, and we support the initiatives to remove the Confederate monuments from Monument Avenue,” the statement said. “For too long, we have overlooked the inherent racism of these monuments, and for too long we have allowed the grandeur of the architecture to blind us to the insult of glorifying men for their roles in fighting to perpetuate the inhumanity of slavery.”
Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said Thursday that a separate suit seeking to halt the removal of the Lee statue had been dismissed for lack of standing. The judge in that case, however, extended an injunction against the removal and gave the plaintiff more time to file a new complaint.
“I’ll keep fighting as long as I have to,” Herring wrote on Twitter. “This statue needs to come down.”