A probe has been opened into Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook. The yearbook in question featured a racist photo of a man in blackface standing next to a person in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. It has been revealed that the school’s president, who donated to Gov. Northam, was well aware of the image, but refused to do anything about it.
On Wednesday, the law firm investigating the origins of the racist photo, which was on Northam’s page inside of the yearbook from 1984, said that the investigators were unable to confirm whether or not the governor is one of the people seen in the picture or if he had anything to do with it.
According to the EVMS investigation report, President Richard Homan, a donor to Northam’s campaign, had learned about the racist photo from members of his staff. Questions are now being raised as to whether or not politics was taken into consideration when Homan decided not to handle the situation.
According to the report: “The staff members were advising the president at the time of the photograph and asking if EVMS had an obligation to or should do something about it, such as notifying Governor Northam about it.” The report continued by stating that “The president of EVMS decided that the school should not take steps to publicly announce the photograph or to call Governor Northam’s attention to it.”
According to investigators, the staff members stated that they thought the governor would “already be aware of what was on his personal yearbook page.” Despite their thoughts on the situation, Homan insisted on just moving forward rather than talking about photos from the past.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Homan has supported the political ambitions of Northam since 2013. Not only did he donate $1,000 to Northam’s campaign for lieutenant governor, but he also donated $1,000 when Northam ran for governor. Then, he donated $10,000 in 2017 for Northam’s inaugural committee.
McGuirewoods investigators, who were working on behalf of EVMS, said that they couldn’t “conclusively determine” the identities of the people in the photo, which is 35 years old at this point. Unfortunately, this leaves all of the interested parties in the same exact position they were in when the scandal broke out almost four months ago.
The photo was brought to the surface when a conservative blog, Big League Politics, dug it up. Northam immediately received an incredible amount of backlash, causing him to go into damage control. It only took a few hours for Northam to offer conflicting statements.
Initially, Northam issued two separate apologies within hours after the photo was released. The next day, he changed his tune, saying that he wasn’t convinced that he was one of the men in the photograph. Although, he didn’t admit that he wore blackface once to look like Michael Jackson for a dance contest.
According to the 36-page report, no one “with first-hand knowledge of an actual mistake on any page, including any personal page, within the 1984 yearbook.” According to the report, they also said that there was no evidence that the photo was accidentally placed in the yearbook. According to the school, the investigative report also pointed out 10 different photos that showed people in blackface.