Bridges Removed From Board Of The Lindbergh Foundation Last
John Knox Bridges, who had been named president of the
Lindbergh Foundation in 2007, resigned from that position at the
organization's request last month amid allegations that he took
money for investments that were never made, and of misappropriation
of funds from other organizations with which he was associated to
repay the foundation for those investments. It is also reported
that he allegedly bilked North Carolina fresco artist Ben Long out
of more than $800,000, for which Long and his son sued Bridges.
The Charlotte Observer in North Carolina reports that Bridges, a
Charlotte native and self-described aviation enthusiast, said he
was from a family worth billions, owned a corporate jet, and moved
in the same circles as world leaders. He claimed to be on the
boards of the Guggenheim museum in New York and the World Health
Organization, which was later proved to be untrue. FAA
records show he does not own any airplanes, and no evidence of a
multi-billion dollar family trust can be found.
Still, the Observer reports, Bridges has made a significant mark
on the non-profit sector, having made donations and serving on the
boards of such organizations as the Mississippi-based
"Catch-a-Dream" foundation and the Charlotte History Museum. He
served on the board of the N.C. Transportation Museum for a decade,
helping them raise money for a major acquisition. But he also first
used money from that organization to try to repay The Lindbergh
Foundation for the questionable investments. Through his attorney,
he has paid back $613,000 to the Lindbergh Foundation, though it is
not known from where that money came. "I think that's all behind
us," Linden Blue, who serves on the Lindbergh Foundation's board
and as CEO of jet manufacturer Spectrum Aeronautical, told the
Observer. "... The effect was neutral and nobody got hurt."
Patty Wagstaff, who dated Bridges for a time, said she gave him
a $3,000 vacation package to donate to Catch-a-Dream while he
served on that organization's board. She later found the
organization did not receive the gift. Wagstaff had met Bridges at
a Lindbergh Foundation function.
It was also discovered that he did not have Bachelor of Science
and Master of Science degrees from the University of California at
Berkeley, as he claimed when was major gifts officer for South
Carolina's Erskine College.
Bridges, who now lives in Salisbury, North Carolina, did not
respond to multiple requests for interviews by the paper. His
lawyer said some of the facts being reported were "just dead wrong"
and questioned the credibility of the paper's sources. In
responding to artist Ben Long's lawsuit, Bridge's attorney had said
the allegations were "demonstrably false," and that Bridges had
loaned thouands of dollars to the artist, but settled the suit a
year ago by paying Long an "undisclosed sum."