Civil rights items, Motown artifacts at issue in bankruptcy
Former Rosa Parks lawyer to face judge over assets creditors say may have been hidden
Detroit — More than 100 pieces of civil rights memorabilia, Motown and African-American history have disappeared and Rosa Parks’ lawyer should be jailed until the items are found, a bankruptcy lawyer claims.
The allegation emerged in the bankruptcy case of prominent Detroit attorney Gregory Reed, a case that features claims about mansions with secret rooms, crates crammed full of historical objects and missing artifacts. The missing items includes iron slave shackles, an early draft of a Parks book, a century-old book signed by educator Booker T. Washington and gold records awarded to Motown artists including The Marvelettes.
Reed should be jailed until he reveals the location of the missing property and returns the items, a lawyer for bankruptcy trustee Kenneth Nathan wrote in a court filing. If the property was sold, Reed should relinquish the money, the lawyer argues.
Reed also should be fined every day until he complies with court orders, according to the trustee’s legal team.
Reed’s fate could be determined Tuesday in a case that has provided insight into the finances of a down-on-his-luck lawyer who has been accused of selling a rare Rosa Parks item and treating a nonprofit designed to preserve historical items as his personal piggy bank.
“This person is altering American history,” Parks’ niece Rhea McCauley, 65, told The Detroit News. “Oh, my goodness, this is so sad.”
The case dates to 2014, when Reed filed bankruptcy in Detroit. It was a stark reversal of fortune for a Detroit lawyer who says his client list included singers Aretha
Rosa Parks sits in her home with lawyer Gregory Reed in 1994. Today, a judge will consider a request that Reed turn over missing property.