- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

SALEM, Va. (AP) - An auction company said Tuesday that a plan to sell a 9/11 memorial that had belonged to a defunct Salem brick-making business has been scuttled, and the structure will instead be donated to the city.

Motley’s Asset Disposition Group made the announcement after plans to sell the memorial generated backlash from those who found selling off remnants from ground zero inappropriate.

“It’s been our intention all along to proceed in an appropriate and respectful manner,” said Mark Motley, president of the auction company. “With confirmation of the donation to the city of Salem in place, we’re now moving forward to address the logistical requirements on relocating the monument within the city.”

Media outlets had reported that the 14,000-pound memorial consisting of two steel beams from the World Trade Center’s wreckage would be auctioned June 23 as part of the real estate of Old Virginia Brick, which closed in April.

Richmond-based Motley’s had intended to sell the memorial separately, with proceeds going to charity, but that plan prompted public outcry opposing its sale. An online auction was suspended Monday evening, with a top offer of $4,100.

The New York Post published an article Sunday with the headline “9/11 wreckage to be sold to highest bidder.”

“It’s just sick to take this,” Fletcher Smoak, former CEO of Old Virginia Brick, said in the story. Smoak obtained the beams in 2001 through a friend’s relative who worked for the company disposing of steel from the towers.

The day after the newspaper’s story appeared, attorneys told Motley’s to instead include the memorial together with the Salem property.

Motley initially said his company was merely following the guidelines of a court-appointed receiver, who said nothing can be donated. He said Tuesday that all parties have since agreed that the memorial can be donated.

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