19 September 2012 by Published in: Battlefield preservation 4 comments

Chutzpah: unmitigated effrontery or impudence; gall; audacity; nerve.

Or, this is how the great Jewish writer Leo Rosten put it: “that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.”

I have a new definition of chutzpah, which appears on the home page of the website of the Brandy Station Foundation. That website indicates that the “Brandy Station Foundation Fall Picnic” will be held on September 29, 2012, “ATOP HISTORIC FLEETWOOD HILL”.

Let’s recall, shall we? This is the same Brandy Station Foundation that stood by and did absolutely nothing when the bulldozers began destroying “historic Fleetwood Hill” to build Lake Troilo, despite the president of the organization having advance knowledge that this critical piece of battlefield land was about to be devastated. This is the same Brandy Station Foundation that, instead of acting to fulfill its obligation as the steward of the land, issued a policy that said that destroying portions of the battlefield is acceptable if it’s done by a landowner there. This is the same Brandy Station Foundation that, instead of finding a way to purchase Fleetwood Hill from its present owners, stepped aside and then had the unmitigated gall to criticize the Civil War Trust for not acting quickly enough. This is the same Brandy Station Foundation that filled its 2011 annual report with bragging about its participation in ghost hunting and paranormal activity and not in battlefield preservation. This is the same board of the Brandy Station Foundation that has taken a once-great preservation organization and made it wholly and entirely irrelevant. And this is the same board of the Brandy Station Foundation that refused to allow the founder and multiple-term past president of the organization to renew his membership, claiming that he is somehow detrimental to the aims of the organization.

But yet, these people think holding a picnic on land that the BSF neither owns nor controls somehow excuses the horrific breaches of fiduciary duty perpetrated by this board and somehow justifies their rampant malfeasance.

And that, my friends, provides me with a completely new definition of the word “chutzpah” to use going forward. It’s the very definition of unmitigated effrontery and nerve, and it’s a real slap in the face to those who really care about preserving this battlefield.

Once again, I call for the resignation of Joseph McKinney and the Board of Appeasers before they further marginalize the BSF and render it completely and totally irrelevant.

Scridb filter


  1. Jim Lamason
    Wed 19th Sep 2012 at 10:37 pm

    A thought for you … What would it take to form a new organization, and then talk to the CWT….. And assume control of the land? Could that be done? Sort of a hostile take over kind of thing. I realize I havent thought this all the way out, but this got me to thinking.. Enough is enough.. Let me know if I can help.. JIM

  2. Todd Berkoff
    Thu 20th Sep 2012 at 10:43 am


    Thanks for flagging this and continuing the good fight against these phonies. The Board of the BSF is a complete joke and their efforts to feign interest in preservation by doing an event on Fleetwood Hill after they failed to recognize the risk to the historic hill last year during the Lake Troilo controversy (and made excuses for the landowner) and now pretends to be involved in efforts to save Fleetwood Hill when others behind the scenes are actually doing the heavy lifting to protect and save historic property at Brandy Station. These people have no shame.

    I wonder when the next ghost tour is??

  3. Thu 20th Sep 2012 at 9:14 pm

    “Food, music, auction items, used Civil War book sale, and a walking tour of Fleetwood Hill are featured. … BBQ, potato salad, coleslaw, baked beans, dessert, and iced tea (sweetened and unsweetened). Cash bar. ”

    Walking tour of the hill…. the whole hill? Or just the portions that have not been cut up?

    Also note a week prior to this rather providential sounding party, a group of folks who are really, honestly focused on historical preservation will gather at a significant wartime site – Tin Pot Run Ford – to remember one of the war’s most telling episodes captured in photo. AND the Brandy Station Foundation has opted to stay far away from that….

    But remember, JEB Stuart was a fox-hunter and also loooveeed those cash bars!

  4. Wed 17th Oct 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I don’t know I am always surprised at how he behaves, but I am. Unmitigated gall.

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