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Save Southern Heritage to file lawsuit blocking Confederate monument move

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

While advocates supporting the removal of a Confederate monument in Tampa were celebrating on Thursday afternoon after meeting a fundraising goal required to move the statue. proponents of keeping the monument where it is say the issue isn’t over yet.

Save Southern Heritage Florida, the activist group that has been leading the charge to keep the monument as is, says it will file suit in federal court in Tampa on Friday to prevent the statue from being moved.

The group also says that their effort an recall Commissioner Sandy Murman has reached the point where the 200-word requirement for the petition has been completed. A group calling themselves “Conservative Response Team” told FloridaPolitics.com last month after Murman reversed her vote to support moving the monument that they would undertake an effort to have her recalled from the board.

“We consider today’s activity to be another battle in the war to keep the monument where it is and we will not give up,” says spokesman Doug Guetzloe, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment further.

Hillsborough Commissioners voted last month to remove the 106-year-old statue called “Memoria in Astern,” but only if the private sector paid for it within 60 days.

They then reversed themselves for the second time this summer on Wednesday, voting to give that private fundraising effort 30 more days to raise $140,000, or the statue would remain in front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse annex on Pierce St. in downtown Tampa.

Led by a $70,000 contribution from the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and an additional $50,000 from Tampa businessman Bob Gries, that goal was met and exceeded by early Thursday afternoon.

Whether the potential lawsuit will derail efforts to move the statue by next month remain to be seen.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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