Wilder says he will no longer raise money

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Iva Radman – email

FREDERICKSBURG, VA (WWBT)--Doug Wilder is no longer raising money for his planned Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg. The former governor of Virginia and Mayor of Richmond says the economy is to blame.

Wilder notified the state of his plans through a letter to the department of agriculture and consumer sciences. That letter states that the U.S. National Slavery Museum has closed its offices for the time being and "is not soliciting contributions at this time". Wilder sites the weakened economy as the reason for that..

The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that Wilder's letter prevented a news release that would have warned would-be donors that the museum is apparently not registered to solicit money and that contributions may have been used for non-charitable purposes. If that had been the case, museum leaders would have been in violation of the Virginia Solicitation of Contributions Law.

As a standard practice, state officials started looking into the museum's status after project officials did not submit 2008 financial statements last may.

Wilder, who is chairman of the museum's board of directors has also been taking heat because of the museum's delinquent real estate taxes totaling more than $80,000.

Fredericksburg could force a sale of the property if that amount isn't paid by Dec. 31st.

Wilder says the slavery museum will still be built in Fredericksburg just as soon as the economic climate improves.

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