RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The man behind getting the Richmond Police Memorial moved from Festival Park to its current location at Byrd Park is raising questions about the Richmond Police Memorial Foundation and its funding.
Retired patrolman and Chair of the Statue Relocation Committee Glenwood Burley has fired off a letter to the Foundation. He’s demanding the foundation disclose to the public “all funds received and dispersed” since the Memorial Foundation began collecting money to erect the statue back in 1985.
Burley says the group raised more funds than it needed for the statue, but no one knows where the money is today.
“Any insinuation or accusation or allegation being raised by any third parties are not founded on any fact,” said Mike Ballato, one of four still on the board. Ballato tells
Ballato tells 8News that yes, the foundation still exists, and yes, there’s still money untouched in a savings account. He shared bank statements with 8News showing the account has about $22,000. He says the Foundation is holding it for good reason.
“The foundation still has the money should there be an event in that an officer loses their life,” Ballato explained.
Ballato said over the years, the foundation has used the extra funds to update a plaque on the Memorial with the names of officers killed in the line of duty. Ballato also says the nonprofit has remained in existence to cover the costs of oil paintings that hang in the police academy honoring the fallen officers.
The most recent painting the Foundation paid for was a portrait of officer Douglas Wendel, who was killed in 2003.
“There have been no expenditures since 2003 and officer Wendell’s death,” Ballato said.
8News checked the State Corporation Commission’s records for the tax-exempt group and found it was inactive for a couple of years, but their membership was reinstated in 2015.
Ballato says the group simply didn’t want to pay the SCC dues and stresses they have not collected any public money since the 1980s.