The city of New Orleans removed a list of contractors curious about a bid to remove three monuments of Confederate officials from its website Friday after the owners of the firms reported receiving warnings against taking the job.
The companies, some of whom did not even plan on bidding on the project, have been getting calls and emails that apparently come from members of Save Our Circle, a group formed to keep statues of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, P.G.T. Beauregard and an obelisk saluting a white supremacist militia known as the Liberty Place Monument in their current locations on public property in New Orleans. Members of the group put out a call on Facebook to “discourage” companies from bidding to remove the monuments.
The bidding process to take down the statues comes after the original contractor selected by the city, H&O Investments of Baton Rouge, backed out when its owner reported that he and his employees had received death threats. The owner’s Lamborghini was later found torched in the company parking lot.
At least two firms that had been listed on the city’s website this week received calls they said they deemed intimidating, though no physical threats were reported.
Marilyn Thornton, owner of the Kenner-based construction company MST Enterprises, said she received a total of four phone calls and emails since her company was listed on the site. Those contacting the company stressed that their group is 10,000 members strong, the same figure used by Save Our Circle. Thornton said she had never planned to bid on the job and that her contact information had been posted automatically by the city’s purchasing system after she clicked on the project while perusing available bids.
“One guy told me that they would contact people and tell them not to do business with MST ever again, that they would put me out of business if I bid on this job,” Thornton said.
Read more at the New Orleans Advocate.