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Museum Counters Accusations

Your recent article on The Museum of the Confederacy reports allegations by David Rankin Jr., of Charlotte, N.C., that the Museum or its management engaged in deceptive or improper conduct in connection with financial matters ("Ex-Official Questions Museum's Finances," Street Talk, Dec. 7).

All of the allegations that Style published are false. It is unfortunate that a disgruntled former trustee would take an internal disagreement over budgeting that occurred in early 2004 and present it in this misleading fashion.

There was a disagreement among Museum trustees in 2004 over revenue projections, but nothing in the budgeting process was deceptive and no facts were hidden. The trustees understood at the time that revenue projections for 2004-2005 were best estimates, especially when the Museum was proposing a new direct-marketing campaign whose results were not predictable. At no time has Executive Director Waite Rawls "planned" or proposed to "recklessly increase spending." During the budget year in question, he was acting at the board's direction in estimating income from this proposed marketing campaign, and he was quite candid about the expenses and deficit that might result if the Museum undertook this campaign.

Not only did Mr. Rankin not supply the General Assembly subcommittee or the Museum with a copy of the eight-page detailed memorandum prepared by Mr. Rawls in response to his questions, but Mr. Rankin also omitted to mention that the budget he bases his allegations on was never adopted because the trustees decided not to proceed with the marketing campaign.

The suggestion that the Museum is mismanaged is false. It is well-known that the Museum is in a difficult period, trying to chart a future course that maintains its mission while answering highly vocal constituencies that have single-minded views about the Museum's best course of action for the future. The Museum depends on the generosity of its donors. It is irresponsible and potentially damaging, especially at a time of the year when many donations are made, to charge an organization such as ours with poor stewardship of money.

Our financial statements have been independently audited for years, and our auditor spoke directly to the General Assembly subcommittee. Additionally, the full audit is available for public inspection through our annual IRS form 990. We welcome any inquiries about our management and wish to assure our many friends and supporters that, despite the ill will of a vocal few, we will continue our efforts to assure a successful future for this institution.

Carlton P. Moffatt Jr.
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
The Museum of the Confederacy




Corrections

The Monumental Church documentary ("Monumental Undertaking," Arts & Culture, Dec. 14) was filmed in partnership with the Historic Richmond Foundation, not the Richmond Historical Society.

In Home Style, we misprinted the number to call for information about the Executive Mansion open house (free to the public until Dec. 22, 10 a.m. to noon and 2-4 p.m.). The correct number is: (804) 371-2642. Style regrets the errors.



Letters to the editor may be sent to: letters@styleweekly.com




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