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Monacans ask for independent investigation

The Monacan Indian Nation wants elected officials in Louisa and Fluvanna counties to seek an independent investigation of consultants on a contentious water project.

Point of Fork, also known as Rassawek, the historic capital of the Monacan Indian Nation, is the planned site for a water intake and pump station, part of a larger project through the James River Water Authority to bring water from the James to a water treatment facility in Louisa. The treated water ultimately would serve the Zion Crossroads area in Fluvanna and Louisa.

In a letter sent to both counties’ boards of supervisors, the tribe and their attorney, Marion Werkheiser, ask the boards to “engage a respected third-party to conduct an independent investigation” into whether consultants the Timmons Group and Circa~ Cultural Resource Management “defrauded the public during purported archaeological investigations at Rassawek” and if JRWA used taxpayer dollars to pay for “illegal and unethical practices.”

The JRWA is a joint entity of Fluvanna and Louisa that was formed in 2009 to manage the overall project.

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources asked the authority to submit a revised anticipatory burial permit application earlier this year, after it said it found the archaeological consultant on the project was unqualified.

After a former employee came forward with allegations of unethical practices by Circa, JRWA said it was investigating the archaeological work on the project.

“It has been seven full weeks since JRWA issued this statement,” Werkheiser said in the letter, “Nevertheless, the public is still waiting for JRWA to conduct a thorough and independent investigation.”

The authority filed a petition in Fluvanna’s Circuit Court appealing the decisions of the VDHR and its director, Julie Langan, around the permit application.

The letter includes 10 questions that could be asked to “reveal the extent to which JRWA has used taxpayer dollars to pay for illegal and unethical work against the public’s interest.”

“The time has come to acknowledge that JRWA is not in a credible position to investigate Circa and Timmons because in doing so JRWA is conflicted by its desire to protect its plans to locate the water pump station in a place that would destroy Rassawek, and because of JRWA’s direct involvement and culpability,” Werkheiser said in the letter.

She also sent a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with invoices from Faulconer Construction Co. She alleges the documents “reveal that the James River Water Authority knew its project consultant was deploying untrained construction personnel instead of trained professionals to perform highly sensitive testing at Rassawek.”

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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