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Pond Spring
theft plot

Attorney general charges ex-curator, his great aunt with conspiracy to steal relics

By Deangelo McDaniel · 340-2469

POND SPRING — A former curator who worked and participated in Civil War re-enactments at Gen. Joseph Wheeler’s home and his great aunt were arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree theft.

State Attorney General Troy King is accusing Myers Brown and Dora Palmer, both of Tennessee, of illegally diverting state money to purchase a Spanish American War uniform and medal.

State agents arrested Brown of 103 Hickman St., Old Hickory, Tenn., and Palmer of 900 Fair St., Franklin, Tenn., and carried them to the Lawrence County Jail.

Sheriff Gene Mitchell said they were released after posting $10,000 bond each.

The Alabama Historical Commission employed Brown as a curator at Pond Spring when the transaction took place.

According to the attorney general, a Lawrence County grand jury indicted the pair after hearing evidence Aug. 14.

The indictment charges Brown and Palmer with first-degree theft of more than $2,500 in state money each, and one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree theft by doing one or more of the following acts:

  • Brown agreed to pay Palmer $5,000 in state money for a Spanish American War uniform and medal.

  • Brown used his position to have $5,000 in state funds transmitted to Palmer for the uniform and medal.

  • Brown transported the uniform and medal from Palmer’s home to Hillsboro.

  • Palmer accepted a $5,000 check from the state for the uniform and medal.

  • Palmer transmitted an invoice for $5,000 to the state for the uniform.

    “These defendants are accused of diverting scarce resources that should have been devoted to protecting Alabama’s proud history,” King said, in a written statement.

    Spokeswoman Joy Patterson said the office would not release further information about the investigation.

    If convicted, Brown and Palmer could face fines up to $10,000 and 20 years in prison.

    Brown worked at Pond Spring until about a year ago. He cataloged many of the items in the Wheeler Home before they were removed to an undisclosed location for restoration.

    Incidentally, Wheeler served in the Spanish American War as major general of volunteers in Cuba. His uniform from the war is part of the collection.

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