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Fredericksburg City Council seeks details about U.S. National Slavery Museum before granting more financial incentives

Date published: 7/10/2005

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"How does this compare to other ones," she said. "Is this something that is customary and acceptable?"

She said she had no questions for the museum staff.

No response to questions

In an attempt to get a clearer view of the museum's financial status, The Free Lance-Star on June 17 submitted the following seven questions to Foster. The slavery museum routinely requests that questions be submitted in writing.

What is your current estimate of the cost of the United States National Slavery Museum? How does that figure break down into major categories of spending?

How much money have you raised thus far? What are the major categories of contributions?

Has Dr. William H. Cosby Jr. begun the performances for which he will be contributing proceeds? When do you anticipate all of those proceeds will become available for your use? (Entertainer Bill Cosby is a member of the slavery museum's board of directors.)

What do you have planned as far as public outreach for fundraising beyond what is posted on your Web site? When do you expect that to begin, and will you be making a specific plea for contributions from people in the Fredericksburg area? If you have a specific local plan, would you please provide details?

If any of the information in questions 1 through 4 is unavailable now, when do you anticipate that it will become available?

How do you plan to keep Fredericksburg-area officials and residents updated on museum plans?

The final question was whether the 2004 tax return had been filed and when it would be submitted to Rodenberg in keeping with the agreement between Museum Founder and Board Chairman L. Douglas Wilder and the city.

After giving 10 days for Foster to respond, the newspaper contacted her assistant, James Damron, to see if she planned to reply. He said the museum had no comment.

The Free Lance-Star then requested by telephone, in person and in writing--all on June 28--a copy of the museum's 2004 tax return. Damron rebuffed the requests, despite being informed that federal regulations require release of the information.

During a visit to the museum's offices in Fredericksburg's Central Park about 1:30 p.m., a reporter attempted to give Damron a written request for the return.


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