Would-be museum loses tax exempt status

Feb. 23, 2012 at 7:07 PM
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FREDERICKSBURG, Va., Feb. 23 (UPI) -- The IRS has revoked the federal tax-exempt status for a proposed U.S. National Slavery Museum in Virginia, which filed for bankruptcy last fall.

The museum, backed by former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, had not filed federal returns since 2007, The Washington Post reported Thursday. A non-profit organization's failure to file for three consecutive years results in the revocation of tax-exempt status, though the IRS said the museum could apply to regain its status.

"It just makes another hurdle for them to reorganize and do what they say they're going to do," said Jeffrey Scharf, a lawyer for the city of Fredericksburg.

Fundraising and other troubles have slowed the progress of building the museum in Fredericksburg. Millions of dollars of debt have mounted and some donors have asked for rare artifacts to be returned, the Post reported.

A proposed reorganization plan would restart fundraising to bring in an estimated $900,000 each year for four years to repay creditors.

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