|Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Burrow again indicted, faces 12 new counts
|The new charges, which came down in Charlottesville on Tuesday, differ from those in the first indictment against him in that Burrow now faces more fraud charges.
By Jen McCaffery and Jay Conley
More than a year after a federal jury deadlocked on whether to convict former National D-Day Memorial Foundation president Richard Burrow, prosecutors have persuaded a new grand jury to indict him on 12 new charges in connection with his fund raising for the foundation.
The new indictment is the latest development in a case that has drawn prominent and vocal opposition from people who have argued that Burrow never personally benefited from the fund raising, that the foundation's attorney told him what he was doing was legal, and that the ongoing publicity is only hurting the Bedford monument.
Burrow's lawyers asserted Tuesday that he plans to defend himself vigorously against the charges.
The new charges, which came down in Charlottesville on Tuesday, differ from those in the first indictment against him in that Burrow now faces more fraud charges. He also faces two new allegations that he committed perjury when he testified in his own defense during his December 2002 trial.
Also figuring prominently in the new 28-page indictment against Burrow are statements of culpability made by the foundation's former attorney, Louis Harrison of Bedford. Harrison has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors in the case against Burrow in exchange for not getting charged with wire fraud.
The indictment also contains new allegations that Burrow misused funds from donors such as the Richard S. Reynolds Foundation. The allegation is that the Reynolds foundation earmarked its $100,000 pledge to go toward a D-Day education center to be built later on the memorial's grounds, and Burrow instead used it for the memorial's construction costs .
Burrow could face a maximum sentence of up to 250 years in prison and fines of up to $12 million, federal prosecutor Tom Bondurant said. Unlike the first time Burrow was indicted, U.S. Attorney John Brownlee did not hold a news conference or release a statement on the indictment Tuesday.
Burrow's lawyers - John Lichtenstein, John Fishwick and Gregory Lyons - released a statement Tuesday arguing that Burrow's prosecution was wrong.
They said the perjury allegations are untrue, and that the prosecution cross-examined Burrow during his earlier trial but did not call any witnesses to contradict anything he said.
The indictment alleges that Burrow lied under oath when he testified about certain pledges, such as one by Richmond philanthropist E.C. Robins. The allegations say that Burrow was not truthful when he testified about several challenge pledges. In those cases, donors agree to match other donations raised by an organization seeking funds.
Another allegation is that Burrow misrepresented a pledge that was supposed to come from the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Burrow's lawyers also took issue with federal prosecutors for saying in March that they would seek reindictment against Burrow in 90 days.
Prosecutors came back with another indictment after Burrow "had the right to believe this would not happen" and had started a new job and a new career, the statement said.
"The government can do whatever it chooses," the statement continued. "But its choice to reindict Richard Burrow will do untold hurt not just to Mr. Burrow but to the critical work of the Foundation Mr. Burrow cares so deeply for and which stands to honor the memory of those who died for our freedom."
Bob Slaughter - the Roanoke D-Day veteran who spearheaded the creation of the memorial and as the former chairman of the foundation's board of directors, helped hire Burrow - was upset at the news of the indictments against Burrow.
"He's a good American, and to be persecuted like this is just not fair," Slaughter said. "I think it's political and shameful to be using our taxpayer money to go after someone like Richard Burrow."
Slaughter said D-Day veterans support Burrow and are angry with U.S. Attorney John Brownlee for using public funds to retry Burrow when the government should be using its resources to chase down terrorists.
"I certainly can say I'm disappointed," said Lucille Boggess, a former treasurer of the foundation's board who lost two brothers in the D-Day invasion. Boggess, who lives in Bedford County not far from the memorial, said Burrow "has a lot of support in this community and all over the state."
Byron Dickson, the architect who designed the $25 million memorial, said the U.S. Attorney's Office interviewed him in December about any wrongdoing by Burrow. Like Boggess and Slaughter, Dickson said he had little knowledge of Burrow's day-to-day activities as the foundation's leader.
"I told them, I wish it was over," Dickson said of the ongoing probe into Burrow's actions. "It's done nothing but hurt the foundation."
Dickson sued the National D-Day Memorial Foundation in 2002 for about $900,000 for work he did on the memorial for which he had not been paid.
Coleman-Adams, the construction company that was the main contractor on the memorial, sued the foundation the same year for about $2 million in unpaid bills.
Coleman-Adams president Cliff Coleman could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The foundation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2002 in an effort to keep the memorial open while it found a way to pay its creditors. In June , it emerged from bankruptcy and announced that it had worked out a plan to pay Dickson, Coleman-Adams and 38 smaller creditors a total of $3.56 million.