- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2002

LYNCHBURG, Va. A judge declared a mistrial yesterday in the federal fraud trial of the former president of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation.
Jurors deliberated for about three hours yesterday before telling U.S. District Judge James Turk that they had major disagreements. The jury was considering four fraud charges against Richard B. Burrow.
"The way it looks right now is impossible," the jury foreman said of continued deliberations.
Outside the courtroom, U.S. Attorney John Brownlee said his office is going to re-evaluate the case and decide what to do in the near future.
During the weeklong trial, lawyers sifted through hundreds of pages of bank documents, internal foundation memos and cash-flow projections, focusing on two loans the foundation received the past two years.
Prosecutors contend that Mr. Burrow, 55, illegally gained $4.23 million in state matching funds with a $3.3 million loan obtained from the National Cooperative Bank in Oakland, Calif., as part of a circular scheme in which the foundation had no actual collateral.
"He's a master magician when it comes to financial issues," prosecutor C. Patrick Hogeboom III said in closing arguments. "It's sleight of hand. But when you apply the facts, he did commit fraud."
They also said Mr. Burrow listed $2.5 million of potential donations on the foundation's books without any guarantee they were legitimate and used them to obtain $1.2 million from the Bank of the James. Only a fraction of those donations ever came in.
Mr. Burrow's lawyer, John Lichtenstein, pointed out throughout the week that the foundation's board of directors approved Mr. Burrow's fund-raising plan. Before seeking the state matching funds, Mr. Lichtenstein said, the foundation's lawyer gave Mr. Burrow permission.
Mr. Burrow believed the potential donations were going to be paid, Mr. Lichtenstein said. And he wasn't the only one foundation officials kept some of the potential donations on their books even after Mr. Burrow left, his lawyer said.
If some of those donations are fraudulent, Mr. Lichtenstein told the jury, "then the whole foundation is guilty."
The $25 million monument of concrete and polished granite sits on a grassy hill overlooking the rural community of Bedford, which lost 19 residents in the opening moments of the June 6, 1944, Normandy invasion.
The memorial, constructed with a lagoon and bronze statues to symbolize the Allied push onto the beaches of France, was hailed as a long-awaited tribute to one of World War II's greatest battles.
In its rush to complete the monument in time for aging war veterans to see it, the foundation's board decided to build the memorial on borrowed money. Even before President Bush dedicated the memorial last summer, the foundation was spiraling into massive debt.
Mr. Burrow resigned from the foundation in June 2001, citing health problems and fatigue.
Since his departure, some former board members have come to blame him for the foundation's financial woes. They said he kept much of the memorial's finances to himself. When they started to worry about their debt, Mr. Burrow kept them in the dark.
"They said when I was supposed to know something, they would tell me," Holly A. Ervin, the foundation's former bookkeeper, said of Mr. Burrow and his fund-raising supervisor, Jim Johnson.
The National D-Day Memorial Foundation is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court. All construction on the monument has stopped, and it still has to pay back about $3.8 million.

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