Last week, just before everything shut down for Thanksgiving, the Republican-appointed Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina handed $2.5m to the white nationalist Sons of Confederate Veterans, claiming it would settle a lawsuit over the removal of a Confederate "Silent Sam" statue from campus — but as local litigator T Greg Doucette sleuthed out, the lawsuit was filed after the governors voted the settlement, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans appeared to have no standing to sue, as it wasn't their statue, and even if it was, the university would not face legal liability for its students removing it.
After the holiday weekend, Doucette went to the courthouse and scanned all the documents about the giveaway, including a "victory letter" sent by SOCV "commander" Kevin Stone to his followers, which Stone then had Dropbox remove from the internet by falsely claiming copyright infringement.
Now, Doucette has published the letter to Twitter, and it's easy to see why Stone didn't want it in the public eye. In addition to being peevish, longwinded, petty and sectarian, the letter makes it clear that the Sons of Confederate Veterans and UNC's Board of Governors knew that they wouldn't have standing to sue the university over the Silent Sam statue. It also makes it clear that attempts to push legislation to allow SOCV to sue the university were dead on arrival, that the objective of the litigation was to hurt UNC to punish it for failing to defend white nationalism, and that UNC President Bill Roper and UNC General Counsel Tom Shanahan engineered the payout, greasing it through the Board of Governors.
The letter also reveals that UNC insisted on secrecy about all of this, including and especially the matter of standing, in a bid to prevent its own stakeholders from learning that the $2.5m did not have to be transferred to white nationalists.
Victory Statement from Kevin Stone, Grand Wizard of the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, on the new UNC Klan Annuity
Part 1 of 5 pic.twitter.com/9n8xfuOP1n
— T. Greg "#SilentSham" Doucette (@greg_doucette) December 2, 2019
(I am a visiting professor of practice at UNC's School of Information and Library Science)