Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Judge Allows Bellmon to Tap Cowboy Trust

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Judge Allows Bellmon to Tap Cowboy Trust

Article excerpt

The Western Heritage Center Trust Fund may be tapped by former U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, court-appointed receiver for the Cow boy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center, to satisfy part of the hall's $5.7 million debt, Oklahoma County District Judge John Amick ruled Thursday.

Amick decided Bellmon may withdraw up to $100,000 per month from the estimated $1 million fund to compensate for the hall's operating expenses and indebtedness.

However, Amick also granted a five-day stay on his ruling at the request of George Miskovsky, attorney representing Dean Krakel, the disputed managing director of the hall.

Miskovsky said he intends to use the stay to file a writ of prohibition appealing Amick's decision to the Supreme Court of Oklahoma.

"If we win in supreme court, the people I represent will get money together to pay off all debts and open the hall in a fashion that ensures future growth," he said.

Accountants testified in a hearing last week that the hall is approximately $6 million in debt, owing about $900,000 in interest payments and operating expenses.

The hall's cash flow for the next three months was estimated at $28,000 in January, $30,000 in February and $54,000 in March.

Amick said he considered three options regarding the future of the hall, including the use of the trust fund, closing the hall or borrowing additional finances.

The least desirable option, he said, would be to close the hall.

"It seems to me there is no museum more useless than a museum that is closed to the public," he said. "There is no piece of art more useless than a piece of art bundled up and stored away and not viewed by the public."

The endowment committee for the hall opposed using the fund for operating expenses as Bellmon had requested. …

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