Saturday, April 17, 2004

MORE SCANDAL BREWING for the From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Forbidden Book exhibition in Akron Ohio:
Scroll exhibit backer arrested

Art collector Bruce Ferrini posts bond after being accused of violating decree

By Jim Carney

[Akron] Beacon Journal staff writer

The man who brought the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit to Akron was arrested Wednesday by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Bruce Ferrini was taken into custody for willful contempt of court, posted a $10,000 bond and was released from federal custody Wednesday afternoon.

Ferrini, a Bath Township art collector, was found in contempt of an April 7 order that he stop interfering with a trustee's operation of the exhibit -- From the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Forbidden Book -- that runs through Sunday at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron. The exhibit was put together by William Noah, a Tennessee physician, California antiquities expert Lee Biondi and Ferrini.


That was on 14 April. Then there's this today, which gives more information about what's going on:
Artifacts' ownership at issue

Court must determine who owns what, divide gift shop sales profits

By Stephen Dyer

Beacon Journal staff writer


The exhibit was put together last year by three men -- Ferrini, California antiquities expert Lee Biondi and Tennessee doctor William Noah.

Earlier this year, Noah filed suit in Akron against Ferrini and Biondi, claiming HisStory LLC -- the company created to handle the traveling exhibit -- couldn't account for the nearly $400,000 he invested in it.

In a separate action in February -- even before the show opened here -- three creditors from the Dallas show, claiming unpaid bills, filed court papers in Akron, forcing HisStory LLC into bankruptcy.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court subsequently appointed a trustee to handle the corporation's affairs and oversee the exhibit, which began here April 7.

Ferrini was banned from participating in the exhibit. But he didn't stay away. When he showed up at the show earlier this week, U.S. marshals were called.

Ferrini was arrested for contempt of court for his refusal to leave the exhibition site, the John S. Knight Center. He posted a $10,000 bond and avoided jail.

[U.S. District Judge John] Adams said Friday that the exhibition's lack of written documentation of who owns what amazed him, especially given the money and valuables involved.


One of the people who loaned items to the exhibit is a colorful character:
[Craig] Lampe -- he identified himself in court Friday as a father of 26 children with a doctorate in genetics -- is a hunter of ancient Bibles and is from Arizona. He runs the Bible Museum, a collection of rare Bibles on permanent display in a Hampton Inn & Suites in Goodyear, Ariz.

Unfortunately, the Akron Beacon Journal now requires a free, but rather intrusive, registration. But I'll try to follow the story here and make what sense of it I can.

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