Oatlands Farm, a beloved historic site in Loudoun County finds itself in federal court over a land dispute.
Oatlands Historic House and Gardens was a plantation in Leesburg, which housed people who were enslaved and slaveholders. Now, it hosts weddings, high teas, and history buffs. The space typically draws over 24,000 people year-round.
The former owners donated money to the National Trust for Historic Preservation — all specifically designated to keep Oatlands in “pristine condition.”
Now, the nonprofit managing Oatlands says the National Trust is denying them access to that money. Oatland Inc. filed a lawsuit against the Trust in state court for $3.5 million. CEO Caleb Schutz says if the court decides against Oatlands — it could hurt every philanthropic organization in the country.
“If a donor gives $5 million to a hospital system and says, ‘I want this hospital to have a cancer ward,’ and the hospital system says ‘Super, we need that, we’re taking the money,’ and then when the hospital goes to get the money for the ward the hospital system says ‘no, we’re going to use it to build a resort for doctors,'” Schutz explained.