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04-03-08, 08:43 AM #1
Collector Sues Museum Over War Photos
April 3, 2008
Collector Sues Museum Over War Photos
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
A history enthusiast has sued the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, claiming it lost several of his World War II-era photographs, including the shot of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.
The man, Rodney Hilton Brown, says the photos were part of the World War II memorabilia that he lent to the museum, which is sited on a retired aircraft carrier usually docked in the Hudson River, initially in 1995 and again in 2005.
Mr. Brown, a mortgage broker who collects historical artifacts as a hobby, said that at least 8 of 52 pictures were missing when the museum returned his collection to his vacation home in Fairhaven, Mass., in November 2006.
The museum returned most borrowed items to owners after it decided in the summer of 2006 to put the Intrepid in dry dock for repairs, Mr. Brown said.
He said photos missing from his collection included the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning shot by the Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal of marines raising Old Glory on Mount Suribachi. He said the missing photos were worth about $175,000.
Bill White, the museum’s president, issued a statement saying: “We are surprised and disappointed to hear of the filing of this lawsuit. We have referred this matter to our insurance representatives.” He said that the museum used its “limited resources” to honor and support the country’s military members and their families. “This unfortunate action detracts from our carrying out this critically important national mission,” he said.
Mr. Brown, 64, said he bought Mr. Rosenthal’s personal album of original photographs from the Battle of Iwo Jima from a retired Air Force major in 1990 for $5,000. The major “had gotten it from the photographer himself,” he said.
An appraiser hired by Mr. Brown estimated in a June 2007 report that the lost pictures were worth about $175,000, according to his lawsuit, which seeks that amount in damages and accuses the museum of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty for taking the album apart to display certain photos and then losing some of them.
04-03-08, 11:17 AM #2
Intrepid Museum lost iconic picture of American flag raise at Iwo Jima: suit
BY JOSE MARTINEZ
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, April 3rd 2008, 4:00 AM
A wealthy military buff is declaring war on the Intrepid, charging ship officials lost his iconic image of Marines raising the American flag at Iwo Jima.
Rodney Hilton Brown, a longtime supporter of the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, has filed a $175,000 suit that accuses the museum of misplacing the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph.
It was part of an exhibit at the retired aircraft carrier that marked the 60th anniversary of the fierce World War II battle.
The Manhattan mortgage broker contends the famous photo of five Marines hoisting the flag over Mount Suribachi was missing from an album he had loaned to the museum when the Intrepid returned the picture book in 2006.
"It's a national treasure," said Rae Downes Koshetz, Brown's lawyer. "He is very sad and upset at what has happened."
The Intrepid, which has been getting overhauled in Staten Island since 2006, is set to reopen in November at Pier 86 on the West Side of Manhattan. When the museum aboard the World War II carrier returns, it likely won't have Brown's collection of military memorabilia or his towering sculpture of the Iwo Jima flag-raising.
The museum declined to meet his price for the 20-foot-high sculpture. Its commander said he was "disappointed" by the suit.
"Our mission is to honor and support - with the limited resources available to us - the brave men and women who have served our country, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their families," said Bill White, president of the museum and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. "This unfortunate action detracts from our carrying out this critically important national mission."
Brown contends his collection of photos - which he bought for $5,000 in 1990 from a retired Air Force major - has been "irreparably destroyed" and that scholars and museums will be deprived "of this artifact of American military history."
His once-tight relationship with the Intrepid has fizzled. "He has been delighted to be a benefactor of the museum," Downes Koshetz said. "It has meant a lot to him."
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