An investigation into a Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook containing a racist picture of a man in blackface posing next to an individual in a Klan outfit, that Ralph Northam admitted to being a part of, has shown that the EVMS president knew about the picture well in advance, but kept it hidden from the public.
EVMS president Richard Homan was notified by his staff of the picture, but did nothing to expose it to the public. Homan has inadvertently caused an extreme amount of embarrassment for the state of Virginia by keeping it under wraps.
“The staff members were advising the president at the time of the photograph and asking if EVMS had an obligation to or should do something about it, such as notifying Governor Northam about it,” the report says. “The president of EVMS decided that the school should not take steps to publicly announce the photograph or to call Governor Northam’s attention to it.”
The report claims that Homan “wanted the school to move forward with new initiatives rather than focus on the past,” which is an interesting way of saying he covered it up against the public interest to protect his school’s prestige.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Homan was a significant donor for Northam’s political ambitions through the years so he had additional motivations to cover up the racist picture as well.
Homan gave Northam a $1,000 contribution while he was running for lieutenant governor in October 2013 before ponying up another $1,000 for Northam’s gubernatorial campaign that was ultimately successful.
Homan gave his largest contribution to Northam’s inaugural committee in 2017, forking over $10,000 to the EMVS alumnus who was nicknamed “Coonman” by his peers. It is unclear whether Homan had known of Northam’s racist yearbook antics before giving his contributions.
Richmond-based McGuireWoods was tasked with the investigation, and claimed they could not find evidence that Northam was the man pictured in blackface despite the fact that he once admitted it publicly.
“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now,” Northam said after the racist photo was published on Big League Politics.
“This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine, and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment,” Northam said before later backtracking.
The inconclusive investigation raises questions about the motives of McGuireWoods. The law firm has significant ties to Northam, hosting a fundraiser at their offices to help raise him $200,000 earlier this year.
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