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Museum official indicted
Agent for slavery museum in Fredericksburg charged with bribery.

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Date published: 10/11/2003


Bribery charge in Richmond

A Richmond developer and architect who has ties to the proposed National Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg has been charged with bribery.

H. Louis Salomonsky, 64, was indicted by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in Richmond Wednesday for attempting to bribe a Richmond city councilwoman for her vote on a mayoral appointment last December.

Salomonsky was released on his own recognizance Wednesday pending a detention hearing Tuesday.

His lawyer, Richmond attorney Murray J. Janus, couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.

Janus has said, however, that his client will plead not guilty to the charge.

Salomonsky has several links to Fredericksburg.

In 2001 his business, Historic Housing L.L.C., submitted a bid to the Fredericksburg City Council to transform Maury School into apartments.

The plan called for building 40 two-bedroom luxury units in the former school tucked between Kenmore and George streets. It was one of nine bids submitted to the city. Salomonsky's proposal made it to the final four for consideration, but wasn't one of the final two choices.

Soon after the bidding process, the whole plan fizzled.

About the same time, Salomonsky began making forays into Fredericksburg on behalf of his friend former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder and the proposed slavery museum project.

In 2002, the city signed an agreement to loan the slavery museum $1 million.

On the agreement, Salomonsky's name appears on the first page as the agent representing the museum.

The charge came as news to Marvin Bollinger, who dealt with Salomonsky while working as Fredericksburg city manager.

"I've never had anything but straight-up dealings with Louis," said Bollinger, who now works for the Silver Cos. in its Boca Raton, Fla., offices. "As a matter of fact, I'm kind of in shock. I always found him straightforward and very honorable."

Salomonsky graduated from the school of architecture at the University of Virginia, where he has lectured on real-estate development and tax credits for the law and architectural schools. He serves on Richmond's Industrial Development Authority, Commission for Construction and Development, and Commission for the Re-engineering of Richmond, and is president of the Farmers' Market Commission. He also served on the commission to write the state of Virginia's historic-tax-credit regulations.

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