Defiant State Rep. Won't Return School's Statue

Davis has a history of IOUs

By Andrew Greiner
|  Friday, Jan 22, 2010  |  Updated 2:50 PM CDT
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Sculptor David Parvin

David Parvin's "Defiance" is an object of attraction for many African American women.

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Officials from Chicago State University stopped just short of accusing State Representative Monique Davis of statue theft.

Davis, who recently made headlines because she allegedly owes $500,000 in back rent to the Chicago Board of Education, has in her possession a $25,000 statue of an African slave that belongs to Chicago State University.

And she’s refusing to give back the artwork, the Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed reports.

Chicago State University Police Chief Ronnie Watson tried to collect the 400-pound bronze entitled "Defiance," but, perhaps poetically, Davis refused to relinquish the rendering of a slave girl in shackles with whip marks on her back.

"I called [Davis] and went up to her office Oct. 21 and 22 and tried to make her understand that this is Chicago State's property. After a lengthy conversation the first time, she refused to give us the statue," he told Sneed.

Watson even went back a second time.

"We showed her the documents proving it was Chicago State's property. But she just refused to let us have the statue."
She finally relented and set up a time for Watson to retrieve the statue; but then changed her mind again.

"She called last Tuesday [Jan. 12] at 4 p.m. and said we could come pick up the statue. I asked if I could come the next day because I needed the movers -- and she said 'fine.'

"But she called the president's office about two hours later and changed her mind and said we can't pick up the statue," Sneed reports.

"But we went up there the next morning at 10:30 anyway. I was met by [a staffer] and an office secretary. They said Davis was in session in Springfield, they couldn't reach her, the office was locked and they couldn't let me in."

CSU originally purchased the statue to adorn its financial aid center. They used state funds that were set aside for the school.
But that doesn’t explain how Davis ended up with the bronze. She can’t explain it either, or, rather, she declined to explain it to Sneed.

Ironically, the statue snafu might have gone unnoticed if CSU weren’t managed so poorly.
Newly installed president Wayne Watson, who is trying to revamp the school’s management procedures, uncovered the missing statue during a financial audit.

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