The Eastern Virginia Medical School, a public institution that receives taxpayer money, was charged almost $368,000 for an inconclusive investigation into whether Gov. Ralph Northam appeared in a yearbook photo that depicted a man in a Ku Klux Klan outfit standing next to a man wearing blackface.
The cost of the investigation was found through public records requests received by The Virginia-Pilot.
The investigation was conducted by the law firm McGuireWoods. Independent investigators conducted interviews of former faculty and reviewed documents for about five months to determine whether Northam was one of the men in the photo. The investigators said they could not find any person to confirm that Northam was in the photo, but they also found no indication that it was placed on Northam’s page in error, making the investigation inconclusive. They could not determine the source of the photo.
On Feb 1, shortly after the photo came into the public spotlight, Northam admitted that he was in the photograph and issued an apology. The following day, he retracted his admission and said in a news conference that he did not actually appear in the photo and that it must have been placed on his yearbook page in error. Northam then said that although he was not in the photo on his yearbook page, he did wear blackface once while dressing up as Michael Jackson in a dance competition.
Northam received calls for his resignation from both sides of the political aisle, but he refused to step down.
Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax faces his own scandals after being accused of sexual assault by two women. Although he has denied the allegations and has not been convicted of any crime, he also has faced calls from both sides of the aisle to step down. He also has refused.