Pasquotank County is looking for another crane company to move the Confederate monument from the county courthouse after the original firm raised its price by nearly $50,000, citing threats it received after agreeing to take on the project.
County Manager Sparty Hammett told county commissioners Monday night that Pasquotank is looking for a new company to move the monument to private property in Nixonton.
Superior Cranes submitted a low bid of $28,000 to dismantle the monument and move it to property owned by Warren Weidrick at 1371 Four Folks Road. Weidrick has agreed to pay for the monument to be reassembled on his property.
Commissioners voted last month to accept Superior’s bid to dismantle and move the monument. However, the company expressed concerns about the project in recent weeks after saying it received threatening phone calls.
Hammett said he didn’t know the details of threats or how many Crane received.
“They were concerned with potential complications,” Hammett said. “I assured them we would have a law enforcement presence during the move and I thought we were moving forward.”
Hammett told commissioners that he recently called Rockingham-based Superior to check on the status of the move and was informed by the company that it wouldn’t be able to move the monument.
Superior later contacted the county and said it would move the monument, but for $75,000, a $47,000 increase from its submitted bid. Superior said it raised its price because of the threatening phone calls and the current climate in Elizabeth City following the death of Andrew Brown Jr., Hammett said.
When contacted Wednesday, Thurman Whitehead of Superior Crane said he was “not interested in talking about it” when asked about the threats.
Hammett said the company’s $75,000 figure is too high. He told the board the county will have to obtain new bids for removing the monument since the original bids were obtained almost a year ago. Hammett said he hopes to complete that process by the board’s Sept. 13 meeting.
“I’m reaching back out to the original bidders and also to some other companies that have recently moved monuments in North Carolina and Virginia,” Hammett said.
Last month’s 5-1 vote to have Superior dismantle and move the monument came almost a year after the board first voted to remove the monument, which has stood on the courthouse grounds since 1911.
Commissioners Cecil Perry, Charles Jordan, Bill Sterritt, Lloyd Griffin and Barry Overman voted to move the monument last month. Commissioner Sean Lavin cast the lone no vote. Commissioner Jonathan Meads did not attend the meeting.