13 November 2011 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 2 comments

As promised, here is the fully executed Memorandum of Agreement pertaining to the Lake Troilo debacle at Brandy Station. For those concerned, this is a matter of public record, and the document is a public document, so I am not betraying anyone’s confidentiality or trust by posting it here.

A review of this agreement should demonstrate precisely how reprehensible the attempts at spin-doctoring by the do-nothing board of trustees of the Brandy Station Foundation truly are. Here are a few thoughts about the agreement, in no particular order.

First, and foremost, the MOA plainly and unambiguously demonstrates that the prior statements of BSF president Joseph McKinney that BSF property was not impacted by the construction of Lake Troilo were a flagrant lie. It’s quite clear from reading the MOA that BSF property was significantly impacted, and that any attempt to downplay that is disingenuous and a distortion of the truth.

Second, the work that was done by Tony Troilo in constructing Lake Troilo was clearly illegal and clearly in violation of multiple laws. From the beginning of this fiasco, and until the “stop work” order was issued, the BSF board and officers steadfastly insisted that it was none of their concern, that BSF property was not impacted, and that the BSF should take no steps to interfere. Had Bud Hall not intervened, this would have continued unabated with further, irreparable destruction being caused to core battlefield land.

Third, BSF president Joseph McKinney–who is clearly NOT a preservationist–stated repeatedly that the damage was reversible. How does one reverse such damage? The very thought is laughable. Once the ground is disturbed, it is forever disturbed. The artifacts are turned up. And so are the human remains reportedly found in the area. Once that bell is rung, it can never be unrung, Joe McKinney’s fantasy world notwithstanding.

Fourth, the 3.1 acres to be conveyed by Troilo–the basis for the BSF’s claim of a preservation “victory”–is the ground damaged–torn up–by the construction of Lake Troilo. This is no longer pristine ground, and has been forever damaged and tainted. If this is a victory for the BSF–and I don’t believe it is–it is at best a Pyrrhic victory.

Finally, and most important, the execution of this MOA demonstrates beyond doubt that the ill-advised and wrongheaded policy of appeasement pursued by the BSF officers and board will never do anything to protect the battlefield at Brandy Station. Only constant vigilance and constant communication with the authorities responsible for enforcing the laws will do so. Appeasing landowners who are friends will not. And if that means that feathers get ruffled from time to time, then so be it.

Fleetwood Hill MOA and Supporting Docs

I again repeat my call for Joseph McKinney and the rest of the BSF board to resign immediately in the wake of their disgraceful performance with respect to this episode, instead of bragging about it on the BSF website as they have. It is critical to note that other important preservation organizations have given up on and written the BSF off as a legitimate preservation organization because of this episode, and unless the board and McKinney do the right thing, not only will the organization be crippled, it will be doomed, as nobody will ever trust it as a steward of the land again. As it is, the other leading preservation organizations no longer take the BSF seriously, as its officers and board do nothing to engender confidence in them that they take the duty to preserve this land seriously.

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