Parks’ lawyer pressed to turn over prized artifacts
Bankruptcy judge sets deadline: ‘I feel like I’m in ‘Alice in Wonderland’’
— Rosa Parks’ lawyer avoided jail Tuesday and received three more weeks to turn over a missing treasure trove of civil rights, Motown and African-American objects.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marci McIvor made the decision during a tense meeting with bankruptcy officials who accused Detroit lawyer Gregory Reed of failing to surrender historically significant assets as ordered in his long-running bankruptcy case. The court hearing in downtown Detroit came hours after The Detroit News chronicled the legal fight over the missing items.
McIvor wants lawyers for bankruptcy trustee Kenneth Nathan to determine the value of the approximately 135 missing items, which include Parks’ key to the city of Detroit, iron slave shackles, a first-edition autographed copy of educator Booker T. Washington’s 1901 autobiography “Up From Slavery” and gold records awarded to Motown stars.
The judge is concerned about rising costs in the three-year-old bankruptcy case, which are eating into money available for creditors. McIvor also wants to ensure the missing items are valuable.
“I am not going to impose the Draconian result of sending Mr. Reed to jail until I have a better idea of what is going on in terms of the value” of the missing items, the judge said.
Legal fees in the case are about $400,000 but creditors have received only $75,000, the judge said.
“At this point, creditors need to start getting paid,” the judge said.
The trustee’s lawyer, Erica Ehrlichman, said the items are worth “hundreds of thousands of dollars” but will have an estimate prepared in coming weeks. An auctioneer is inter-