CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A group that owns Marion Square has filed a lawsuit against the City of Charleston for its removal of the John C. Calhoun monument that towered above the downtown park since the late 1890s.

Formerly known as the ‘Washington Light Infantry Sumter Guards Board of Officers,’ members of the newly named ‘Board of Field Officers of the Fourth Brigade’ filed a petition against the city on Nov. 4th claiming it unlawfully removed the monument.

“The base and pedestal of stone were destroyed, and the statue of Calhoun has been taken by the city,” the petition read. “The City of Charleston previously threatened to illegally and unlawfully remove the Calhoun Monument from the jurisdiction of the South Carolina Courts and the South Carolina Attorney General by transferring possession of same to a museum located in Los Angeles, California.”

In December 2021, the City of Charleston’s Commission on History voted in favor of sending the John C. Calhoun statue to be featured as part of an exhibit in a California museum. But that never came to fruition.

For now, the statue remains in storage, and the city cannot discuss moving it to any museum like the State Museum in Columbia because of various lawsuits against the city related to its removal.

Meanwhile, the petitioners are asking the court to issue a declaration that the city’s removal of the monument “without specific authorization” from South Carolina lawmakers violated the Heritage Act.

They also want the court to issue an order that prohibits the city from transferring the monument to any party outside of South Carolina, as well as calling on the city to replace the Calhoun monument within city limits.

The group previously said it would not challenge the city when it comes to the statue’s removal back in June 2020.

“The Washington Light Infantry Sumter Guards Board of Officers has no ownership interest in the Calhoun Monument, and with assurances that the Board’s ownership and interest in Marion Square will not be impacted by the City’s anticipated removal of the statue, has no legal basis to challenge the City’s actions,” said attorney M. Richardson Hyman Jr. in a statement issued on June 22, 2020.

Work to remove the statue began shortly after Charleston City Council unanimously voted in favor of its removal on June 23, 2020. The statue and monument were removed from Marion Square just days later.

The removal came in wake of the protests seen across the country, following the death of George Floyd and renewed calls to remove symbols of the Confederacy.

This is the sixth lawsuit against the city over the statue’s removal.

“In terms of both the Heritage Act and the so-called legal trust theory, this complaint is substantially similar to the six other versions that have been filed and then quietly withdrawn by various plaintiffs over the past several months. So, the City again looks forward to seeing this lawsuit resolved in the traditional and appropriate forum – a South Carolina court of law,” said Charleston city spokesman Jack O’Toole.

This is a developing story.