Press Release Date: Tuesday, April 19, 2022

The Montpelier Descendants Committee (MDC), through its leadership, has worked relentlessly for months to create dissension and division among the staff of James Madison’s Montpelier. Some members of the Montpelier staff have, as a result, spoken disparagingly, even hatefully, of the volunteer Board that governs this historic American treasure. 

The atmosphere at Montpelier had become untenable and toxic, aggravated by misleading public statements made by the MDC and by bias demonstrated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Work was not getting done. Projects were being halted. Montpelier’s leadership could not allow that to continue. 

Actions taken this week were for repeated and disruptive violations of our employment policies. Individuals who have played a role in these developments have been either terminated or disciplined. 

While we do not publicly discuss personnel matters, I can say the issues that resulted in terminations and suspensions go back more than 18 months and have to do with employees ignoring or violating the policies of the Foundation and continually seeking to undermine the management of the Foundation. 

There are many among the Foundation's staff who disagree with the viewpoints and actions of the MDC in its approach to parity with descendants. The staff deserves a workplace where they can find fulfillment and not be hostage to the plans of a handful, even if those individuals’ voices are unduly amplified and celebrated by the media and by other outside parties. 

Our path to parity with descendants of enslaved persons on the Board of Directors will continue in the coming days and weeks, and we invite and strongly encourage both the MDC and the National Trust to embrace it, if their real goal is parity and not a takeover of the Foundation. 

Gene Hickok 
Chair, Board of Directors 
The Montpelier Foundation