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Tue, Dec 24, 2013

Evergreen Aviation Museum Faces Uncertain Future

Creditors Eye Exhibits In The Museum, Including The Spruce Goose

The financial woes of Evergreen Airlines, which is facing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, have extended across the street to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, where creditors are attempting to claim some of the museum's exhibits including the iconic Spruce Goose.

The online source Oregon Live reports that, according to museum director Larry Wood, the airline and the museum are entirely separate entities, though the museum has long relied on the financial support of the airline's founder Delford Smith. Wood said that the museum owns the Spruce Goose "free and clear."

But attorney Robert E. Lyon of Palos Verdes, CA says there is still money owed on the massive flying boat, which was built by billionaire Howard Hughes. The fate of a 1928 Ford Trimotor and a 1945 Grumman Avenger, two of the museum's main draws, is also in question. Both of those airplanes are reportedly for sale. Both had reportedly been used by Smith as collateral when he purchased a Gulfstream business jet which was recently repossessed.

It is unclear if the museum and an adjacent water park can remain open without the support of Smith, who has poured large sums of money into both over the years. The U.S. Justice Department is currently investigating the financial relationship between Smith, the airline, and the museum and other attractions.

(Spruce Goose pictured in file photo)

FMI: www.justice.gov

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