- The Washington Times - Monday, January 27, 2003

The organization seeking to seat a life-sized statue of Abraham Lincoln in Richmond, capital of the Confederacy, is misrepresenting itself as a nonprofit enterprise, the Virginia Corporation Commission said.
The United States Historical Society, which in December announced plans to donate and install a bronze statue of Lincoln and his son, Tad, to commemorate their visit to Richmond two days after the city fell to Union troops in 1865, claimed in its literature to be operating as a nonprofit organization.
An initial uproar against the proposal focused on the propriety of a statue of Lincoln in a Southern state. Recently, however, attention has shifted to the financial dealings of the historical society and its chairman, Robert H. Kline.
The organization advertised the sale of 750 "limited edition" bronze miniatures of the statue, which would sell for $875 each, plus a $25 fee for shipping and handling.
However, the name United States Historical Society is a fictitious appellative owned by a company named FKAO Inc., a for-profit corporation based in Richmond, according to documents obtained by The Washington Times from the Corporation Commission.
The findings confirm suspicions articulated by Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., Virginia Republican, who sent a letter to Fran Mainella, director of the National Park Service, asking her to investigate the matter.
Mr. Goode said he was concerned that the similarly named U.S. Historical Society a true nonprofit organization that markets historical replicas is directing payment to its for-profit sister, the United States Historical Society, which exists only in name, which is owned by the for-profit corporation, FKAO Inc.
"Will these statuettes represent history or the perpetuation of a fraud on unsuspecting donors around the United States?"
Mr. Goode wrote in his letter to the Park Service, expressing his suspicion that people would purchase the statuettes in the belief that they were supporting a nonprofit enterprise.
Mr. Kline, a Richmond businessman, is chairman of both the U.S. Historical Society and the United States Historical Society.
He is also president of FKAO Inc. FKAO Inc. has changed its name six times since its incorporation as an advertising agency in 1965.
The National Park Service, along with organizations such as the Virginia Historical Society, has assisted the United States Historical Society in promoting the statuettes, which the society has said would help it pay for the statue.
Should the United States Historical Society sell all 750 statuettes, it would gross $675,000.
The company declined to say how much of that would be profit to the United States Historical Society.
U.S. Historical Society President Marty Moran told The Times Friday, "I think that's all garbled information," and referred all queries to the society's attorney, Chris Malone of Thompson & McMullan LLP, in Richmond.
Mr. Malone did not return numerous phone calls.
The United States Historical Society proposes placing the statue in the Richmond National Battlefield Park Civil War Visitor Center. It would commemorate Lincoln's arrival with his son in Richmond on April 5, 1865 two days after federal troops captured the city and four days before the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House, ending the Civil War. The statue is scheduled to be unveiled on April 5.
A group of Richmond residents has investigated the historical society and published its findings at https://lincolnstatuescam.tripod.com, where residents can call on the Virginia Attorney General's Office to investigate the society for potential criminal wrongdoing.
Tim Murtaugh, spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, said the AG's office had received about 100 requests for an investigation of the historical society.
"We are aware of it, and it's certainly something that has our attention," Mr. Murtaugh said.
The Virginia Corporation Commission is the state's central filing office for businesses incorporating in Virginia.

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