Silent Sam and the conspiracy to fund racism

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It doesn't get much uglier than this tale:

When the UNC System announced it had settled a lawsuit that the public hadn’t yet heard about last week, Kevin Stone began celebrating his secret role in a “major strategic victory” for the pro-Confederate movement.

Stone, commander of the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans Inc., emailed his group that day with information he wouldn’t tell the media or others about. He described many months of confidential negotiations and meetings, invisible to the public and only fully understood by SCV leadership, attorneys and unspecified members of the UNC Board of Governors.

There are so many aspects of this deal that stink I don't even know where to start. From my understanding, the full Board of Governors has not met since mid-November, so this $2.5 Million racist boondoggle occurred without a vote. And what gets under my skin even more is the fact the dude who was pushing for this is a state employee funded by taxpayers:

A copy of the email from Stone, who is also a state-employed corrections officer in Chatham County, was leaked Monday by an anonymous SCV member to Durham attorney T. Greg Doucette. The Daily Tar Heel verified the legitimacy of the email with Stone himself, who declined to comment further.

“There have been those who say we’ve ‘lost the respect’ of the (Board of Governors), etc., while during this whole time, we were working directly with them and for the honour of our ancestors,” he wrote in the SCV email. “What we have accomplished is something that I never dreamed we could accomplish in a thousand years, and all at the expense of the University itself.”

I agree with him on that last part. I never dreamed the UNC BOG could be so stupid as to attempt such a deal, much less follow through with it. We'll see y'all in court.

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Definitely related:

Sorry about the grainy picture, but these guys aren't the shiniest spoons in the drawer, if you catch my drift...

I haven't either.

There's always the issue of "standing," whether or not a complainant is connected enough to demonstrate harm done. I would imagine a group of faculty, or maybe even alumni, could demonstrate that well enough.

We'll have to wait and see. But something needs to be done before that $2.5 million changes hands.

That's a great editorial

It will be included in next Sunday's roundup...

Legal Status of NC Division Sons of Confederate Veterans?

I've been following this story the past few days with considerable interest - particularly with the transfer of $2.5 million to the North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans.

I did a little digging and, I'm no lawyer, but I'm really wondering about the legality of the transfer, even if UNC claims these are "private" funds from donations and royalties collected by the University.

I was curious how the SCV was legally organized. I assumed it would be a 401c3 non-profit focused on information and education.

Now, bear with with me as I explain this - someone with more knowledge on how this works might offer up some explanations on what I'm seeing here.

The North Carolina Division Sons of Confederate Veterans is one of many state-level organizations affiliated with the Sons of Confederate Veterans headquartered in Columbia, Tennessee.

Checking the NC group's website, I saw info on donating, but absolutely nothing on their legal status as an organization. So, I turned to the parent organization. That was no help either.

What I did find at the NC group's site was a section of Forms and Documents and a link to a rather curious PDF file. This is a letter from the national group from 2007, explaining that each of the "camps and divisions" needed to reapply for non-profit status with the IRS.

During that period, there was a power struggle and lawsuits between different groups in the SCV, with one group wanting to take the organization towards more activism on Neo-Confederate related causes, while the other wanted to focus on education, preserving memorials, and the like. The political group won and the SCV went through several power struggles and reorganizations.

So, that still didn't answer my question. Legally, just what the heck is the NC Sons of Confederate Veterans?

I checked the NC Secretary of State site and did a search of their registry of charities and fundraisers. Nothing there.

Then, I looked at their Business Entity search. I found a "North Carolina Division, United Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc." with an expired registration:

"Status: Expired
Annual Report Status: Not Applicable
Citizenship: Domestic
Fiscal Month: December
Registered Agent: Not Listed"

The address is listed as PO Box 1235, Black Mountain, NC 28711. (The current NSCV website lists their address at the bottom of their pages as North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, 3445 Sigmont Drive, Claremont, North Carolina 28610.)

I found a registration for "United Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc." with this information:

"Status: Reserved Name
Annual Report Status: Not Applicable
Citizenship: Domestic
Fiscal Month: December
Registered Agent: Not Listed"

I'm really confused here. Is this "United Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc." the same thing as or affiliated with the NC Sons of Confederate Veterans"?

Because of the group's political work, I don't think they would be eligible for IRS non-profit status as an educational organization. But they don't seem to be organized as an actual corporate entity in NC either, even though I've seen "Inc" on their name in news articles about the $2.4 million giveaway to the group.

I checked the NC Secretary of State's search for registered lobbying groups - they're not there either.

Does the group legally exist as an entity or is it basically just a bunch of guys calling themselves an organization that have a website and checking account?

Is it legal for UNC to give them this money?

Note - If you want to try searching yourself at the NC Secretary of State website, use just the word "Confederate" and choose "any word" from the drop-down menu. It's an unusual name to use for a business or non-profit and you can be sure to catch any variants of the name the group might have used.

They might ...

... be legally organized as an LLC or corporation in another state. However, they don't have anything on their website that I could find on their legal status as an organization.

It's significant that they refer to themselves on the site as "North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans" without the "Inc" on the end.

And another thing ...

I'm really interested in how the UNC board and the Sons of Confederate Veterans settled on the dollar amount. Two and a half million dollars can buy one helluva museum.

As.a comparison, I looked up the funding provided for the International Civil Rights Museum in Greensboro. The city gave the non-profit foundation for the Museum $1.5 million and the group had to do matching fundraising on top of that.

That museum was an expensive undertaking, involving renovation and preservation of parts of an existing building - the site of the Woolworth counter sit-ins - in addition to creating museum exhibits and facilities for visitors to the museum.

The article I linked above was about how the Civil Rights Museum was struggling financially two years ago. It's sickening to think about UNC tossing $2.5 million to a group of racist Neo-Confederates trying to rewrite history when you consider that an actual historical site, so significant to the Civil Rights struggle, is still having trouble keeping its doors open to the public.

Just what kind of "history" is this $2.5 million going to be promoting?

On their "Who We Are" page, they make it clear that they don't believe the Civil War was fought over the rights of Southern states to perpetuate slavery:

"The citizen-soldiers who fought for the Confederacy personified the best qualities of America. The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South's decision to fight the Second American Revolution. The tenacity with which Confederate soldiers fought underscored their belief in the rights guaranteed by the Constitution. These attributes are the underpinning of our democratic society and represent the foundation on which this nation was built. Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is preserving the history and legacy of these heroes, so future generations can understand the motives that animated the Southern Cause."

On their own "Our History" page, they describe the power struggle within the SCV in the 2000s this way:

"Soon after the turn of this Century a time of contention began when a few who had risen to leadership posts tried to bully the membership into making the Division "Politically Correct". Their efforts failed and in 2002 the members elected Brian Carawan as Division Commander. Under his administration the "Political Correct" movement leaders were given leave to follow their path elsewhere. Commander Carawan will long be remembered as the North Carolina "David" who slew the scalawag "Goliath"."

UNC gave this group $2.5 million to set up a facility for a statue promoting Jim Crow racism by a group spouting this right-wing extremist nonsense that has nothing to do with actual history.

If you're on social media

Do share this post.

Teddy's research here is attracting considerable attention by people who are looking at the possibility of litigation. Spread the word.

This had a good run

I posted a link on a dozen different Twitter threads. Good lesson there.

But the main lesson is "content."
Thank you, Steve and Teddy. Good work.

Hampton Dellinger asks, How is this deal valid?