Monument Avenue property owners refile lawsuit to stop removal of Robert E. Lee statue

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Five Monument Avenue property owners have refiled a lawsuit aimed at protecting the Robert E. Lee statue from being removed, the third such lawsuit filed by members of the group since June.

Last week, the plaintiffs dropped a similar lawsuit ahead of a hearing scheduled for July 16, the second time they have voluntarily withdrawn their suit before going to court. The new lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, seeks an injunction to block Gov. Ralph Northam’s order to remove the statue from Richmond’s Monument Avenue.

The plaintiffs in the suit, longtime Monument Avenue property owner Helen Marie Taylor and four other residents, reiterated concerns that taking the monument down could end “favorable tax treatment” and reduce property values.

The suit also challenges Northam’s authority to order its removal, claiming that as governor, Northam has a “duty to assure that the laws of the Commonwealth and the United States are properly enforced.”

RELATED: Plan to remove Richmond’s Robert E. Lee statue calls for sculpture to be ‘partially disassembled’

The office of Attorney General Mark Herring said Wednesday that the state is determined to have the Confederate monument taken down.

“Attorney General Herring remains committed to ensuring the removal of this divisive and antiquated relic as soon as possible,” Michael Kelly, Herring’s chief of staff, said in a release.

The hearing for the most recent lawsuit will be Thursday, according to online records, the same day another lawsuit challenging Northam’s order will be in court. Depending on what takes place at the hearing, the Lee statue could be removed by the end of the week.

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