Monticello’s big gift, shooting indictment, and the Stonefield suit: News briefs

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Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. File photo. Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. File photo.

Check c-ville.com daily and pick up a copy of the paper Tuesday to for the latest Charlottesville and Albemarle news briefs and stories. Here’s a quick look at some of what we’ve had an eye on for the past week.

Monticello gets $10 million donation 

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation announced last week that it has received a $10 million donation from philanthropist and co-founder of the Carlyle Group, David Rubenstein. The gift is one of the largest in the history of the nonprofit foundation, which owns and operates Monticello, and will go toward restoring the upper floors of the house and reconstructing Mulberry Row, the plantation community where slaves lived.

According to a press release from Monticello, the second and third floors of the presidential home were only recently opened up for public tours. Only one room on these floors is fully restored. The gift will also fund the upgrade of electrical and climate-control systems in the house.

Rubenstein owns a copy of the Magna Carta, and has made similar recent gifts to Mount Vernon and the Washington Monument to repair damages from the 2011 earthquake.

Another Carlyle Group co-founder, Bill Conway, has also showered support on the area: He and his wife recently announced a $5 million gift to UVA’s School of Nursing.

Alleged Elks Lodge shooter indicted, cop cleared of criminal wrongdoing

A grand jury has indicted the county resident police say shot another man outside the Downtown Elks Lodge on March 16 before being shot twice by a city cop.

Court records show Franklin Donnett Brown, 56, was indicted on one count of malicious wounding for shooting Leon Travis Brock, 22, of Culpeper County, and one count of using a firearm while committing an act of malicious wounding—both felonies.

According to records filed in the wake of the incident, the two men were involved in an argument that started in the Second Street NW Elks Lodge and spilled out into the street. An onlooker told police several men jumped on top of Brown before Brown advanced on Brock and shot him once.

Records report officer Alexander Bruner arrived on the scene immediately after and fired at Brown at least twice. One of Bruner’s .45-caliber bullets hit Brown in the back.

Both Brown and Brock were taken to UVA Medical Center for treatment. Bruner remains on paid administrative leave—standard procedure for police-involved shootings—but has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing by police, according to Charlottesville Police Lieutenant and spokesman Ronnie Roberts.

A separate internal probe into the incident by the department’s office of professional conduct is now under way, Roberts said, and Bruner will remain on administrative leave until that investigation is resolved.

Stonefield defendants seek dismissal  

The City of Charlottesville, Albemarle County, and the owners of The Shops at Stonefield have filed motions in Albemarle County Circuit Court asking that a suit filed against them by city property owners be dismissed.

Last month, the owners of Seminole Square Shopping Center and the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company sued the three entities for failing to comply with local and state stormwater regulations. The plaintiffs claim that Stonefield developer Edens “knowingly constructed a stormwater system that collects and diverts millions of gallons of stormwater” onto their properties, and according to Charlottesville Tomorrow, the motion to dismiss the case disputes that notion.

Charlottesville Tomorrow reported Edens attorney Jason Hicks saying that flooding is all hypothetical, and the statute of limitations for a lawsuit has passed. The city and county both argue that they have complied with their own regulations, and the alleged violations haven’t actually occurred because the area has not flooded.

Judge Cheryl Higgins has not yet set a hearing date.—C-VILLE writers

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