(Nov. 18)  Paul Edmondson, the CEO and president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation who has been heavily involved in turbulence at James Madison’s Montpelier , a Trust property, has announced he will step down from his post in the spring of 2023.

Montpelier remains mired in turmoil, with key departures from both its board and its staff — and with another key board member threatened with eviction from the board because she objects to what has been described as a “ hostile , woke takeover ” of the estate museum. Montpelier’s finances this year were precarious , according to memos from its now-departed chief financial officer, and the Trust’s own finances reportedly have been challenged by the pandemic and other factors.

Edmondson reportedly has been under pressure from Montpelier’s controversies and its finances, including a reported $7 million note the Trust took out on its behalf, held by Capital One. One observer said the budgetary struggles in the wake of the takeover show that “woke means broke. … They better check themselves before they wreck themselves.”

Meanwhile, Stephanie Meeks, who preceded Edmondson as CEO and president of the National Trust and who also served as vice chairwoman of the board of the Montpelier Foundation, surprised some in the Montpelier community by recently resigning from the foundation’s now-volatile board. New board member Betty Kearse, who supported the woke takeover and authored a book claiming (somewhat dubiously) to be a descendant of Madison himself, reportedly told Mary Alexander, a documented descendant of Madison’s manservant Paul Jennings, that Alexander will be forced off the board unless she stops speaking against the aims and methods of its new management.

Alexander has been vocal that Montpelier’s main focus should be on Madison, the nation’s fourth president, and on the Constitution he is credited with doing so much to craft, whereas the new management has said they want it to be a national center for “disputed history” about enslaved communities…. [The full column is at this link.]


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