Charges against ex-curator ‘bogus’?
Attorney says former Wheeler home worker, aunt not guilty of theft
By Deangelo McDaniel
MOULTON — The attorney representing a former Pond Spring curator and his great aunt said conspiracy and theft charges against them are “bogus.”
In the Lawrence County circuit clerk’s office Friday, attorney Chris Malcom filed not- guilty pleas for Myers Brown of 103 Hickman St., Old Hickory, Tenn., and Dora Palmer of 900 Fair St., Franklin, Tenn.
State Attorney General Troy King accuses Palmer and Brown of diverting $5,000 in state money to purchase a Spanish-American War uniform and medal.
Brown was working at Gen. Joseph Wheeler’s home as curator for the Alabama Historical Commission when the transaction is alleged to have occurred.
Malcom said allegations in the indictment “are absolutely false” and that he will file motions next week to have the indictments dismissed.
Brown and Palmer hired Malcom on Thursday, before surrendering to attorney general investigators at the Lawrence County Jail.
They were released in lieu of $10,000 bonds each.
“What the AG is doing is ruining the reputation of two people to gain a headline in the paper,” Malcom said.
Malcom said the case does not involve any artifacts at the Wheeler Home. He said this is a dispute about the value of an authentic Spanish-American War uniform and medal that belonged to Andrew Brent McClain, who was the first Spanish-American War volunteer from Tennessee.
Part of job
While working as curator at Pond Spring, Malcom said, part of Brown’s job involved acquiring historical artifacts for the home.
The attorney said Brown filled out the necessary paperwork and got his supervisor’s OK.
Malcom said the entire McClain collection, which also included pictures and letters, was appraised for $6,000.
He said the state paid $5,000 for the uniform and medal and that Palmer donated the pictures and letters.
“The check to Ms. Palmer was written by the state of Alabama,” the attorney said. “Myers didn’t write checks. He had nothing to do with that and did not get any of the money. In fact, Ms. Palmer gave the money to a daughter who had medical issues.”
Malcom said all Brown did was make a suggestion to the state about acquiring the McClain collection.
“I assume the Historical Commission reviewed the paperwork and signed off on it,” Malcom said.
King disagreed, saying in a written statement that Brown used his position as curator of Pond Spring to consummate the purchase.
Brown resigned from Pond Spring more than a year ago to accept a position as curator of the Tennessee State Museum.
“I’m confident that my clients are not guilty,” Malcom said. “The sad part about this is that they will have this arrest on their records.”
A Lawrence County grand jury returned the indictments against Brown and Palmer on Aug. 14.
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