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  Former Cosmosphere director Max Ary found guilty of stealing, selling space artifacts

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Author Topic:   Former Cosmosphere director Max Ary found guilty of stealing, selling space artifacts
STEVE SMITH
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posted 11-01-2005 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for STEVE SMITH   Click Here to Email STEVE SMITH     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jury just in, former Kansas Cosmosphere director Max Ary has been found guilty. You can get further details here.

A very, very sad day. Max had done a tremendous amount of good.

jarykc
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posted 11-01-2005 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jarykc   Click Here to Email jarykc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As the son of Max Ary, I wanted to get a message out on this before everyone else jumps to conclusions about the verdicts that were read today.

For those of you who do not know my father, it is truly impossible to convey to you how good of a man he really is. For those of you who do know him, you know he has a heart of gold and would never do what he was just found guilty of doing. He is truly the most honest, trustworthy, humbling, and unselfish person you will ever meet, and I know those of you that know him will back me up on that.

Many of you say "Well, the government found him guilty, so he must have done it." Well, just as an example, how many "convicted" people have been freed due to the advent of DNA testing (or how many executed people have been found innocent since DNA testing was invented?) The answer? Thousands. Unfortunately, there is no fail-proof test like DNA testing that can be applied here...if there was I can guarantee the outcome would have been different. The jury (which half of them slept through the trial) only had the lawyers and the cases they presented to go on, and that's why so often, innocent people are found guilty while people like OJ walk free.

This is not an excuse, but unless you personally experience the rigors and uphill battles you face going against the US Government, you have no idea how truly imbalanced the scales are. The government has unlimited resources (I heard the government has spent roughly $750,000 on my father's case, compared to only $723,000 on the CIA leak investigation), unlimited power, and every resource available to them. My father did not. Just in the last two years, his house, his retirement, his savings, and almost everything he owned was sold to simply afford his pre-trial legal bills. That alone is penalty enough. Everything that was built up over 26 years was ruined by some very shameful souls with an evil vendetta at the Cosmosphere, and he literally had 1% of the power do defend himself that the Government had to prosecute him.

Unfortunately, the government dragged this on (literally) as long as possible, to drain my father of money, resources, and therefore, possibilities. While he had three very skilled lawyers throughout the investigation, the bank ran dry and he was forced to cut two lawyers right before trial. The government had five lawyers to my dad's one. The government had five times the manpower that my dad had. The government also had an unlimited piggybank... the US taxpayer, to which my dad had very limited and dwindling resources. They also had access to many resources that my dad didn't. Remember, this is the US Government, the most powerful entity in the entire world... literally. Had the scales been truly balanced going in, I guarantee the verdicts would be quite different.

To point the fingers at the three souls at the Cosmosphere that instigated this is pointless, it does no good. But I hope when you lie down at night, you feel shame for turning on the man that created everything you have. You know who you are. Every day you sit back and smile with what you have, knowing you have done NOTHING to earn it. My dad spent a quarter of a century creating all of it, and turned it over to you. It will always be his museum, never yours. My father put the Cosmosphere and Hutch on the map....and you respected him so much...you thought of him so highly like a father (as you testified), you never even simply called him when you noticed "some strange things"...the first two calls you made were to the FBI and the press. You slandered him like a villain at Prairie Dunes, to members, and anyone else who would listen. You will have to answer to your maker someday, and he knows the truth. May God have mercy on you and your shameful souls.

You robbed a wonderful man of everything he ever had. Our family has been robbed of everything. There's a good chance I won't be able to spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, or go to a Chiefs game with him this year, or maybe ever again. He faces the rest of his life in prison, and more money in penalties than he'd make in five lifetimes. He may never be able to see his grandkids at their first recital, my wedding, or the other memories that make life worth living and families so important. I hope it was worth it to all of you. I swear on my life and soul he did not do what he was charged with today. God help this world and what it has become.

The son of the most amazing man in the world,

Jason M. Ary

space1
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posted 11-01-2005 03:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for space1   Click Here to Email space1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jason, you have my profound sympathy.

I share Max's passion for space, and especially his interest in the artifacts that either made the journey or were ready to make it. I also know Max well enough to trust that he did not purposely do anything wrong. I believe he has unfortunately been found guilty of simple human error.

I will remember you, Max and the Ary family in my daily prayers.

SRB
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posted 11-01-2005 03:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SRB   Click Here to Email SRB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jason, my heart goes out to you and your family over the tragedy of having to live through the experience of having your father stand trial and be convicted of these crimes. It has and will have a terrible impact on your father and your family. As one of the collectors who purchased items your father took from the museum, I still have nothing but sympathy for you and your family. My loss is nothing compared to yours. I hope you and your family are able, in time, to overcome these painful events.

CNewport
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posted 11-01-2005 04:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CNewport     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is truly a sad day for me as someone I consider a good friend has been wronged, in my opinion. I do not know the principles involved at the Cosmosphere well enough to comment on their actions. I will say, though, that a situation such as this could have been handled better.

However, I do know Max Ary well and we worked together for almost 20 years to make the Liberty Bell 7 recovery a reality. I cannot speak highly enough of an individual such as Max who supported me in what can only be termed as an obsession to find and recover Gus Grissom's Mercury spacecraft. Max listened to me and helped my efforts when everyone else thought I was nuts to even consider such an idea. I think the success of the Liberty Bell 7 project speaks volumes for Max's ability to think "outside of the box" and make the impossible, possible.

What the readers must remember is that juries have been wrong before, as has the federal government (does anyone here remember Richard Jewel?). Just because someone has been convicted does not mean they are guilty. What it may mean is that a private individual has been outspent by the unlimited resources of the United States.

In conclusion, the man I know is not a thief, is my friend, and will always be my friend.

mdmyer
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posted 11-01-2005 04:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would also like to express my sadness at the verdict. I only met Max last fall but I have traded a few e-mails with him since. He has the true passion for the history of the space program. I am a fan of the Cosmosphere and I usually make 2 or 3 trips a year to that special place.

I will always consider the Kansas Cosmosphere the "House that Max Built".

My prayers and thoughts will be with Max and his family.

spaceman1953
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posted 11-01-2005 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceman1953   Click Here to Email spaceman1953     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jason, we've never met, nor have I ever met your father nor been to "his" Cosmophere, but Steve said it best: "I hope you and your family are able, in time, to overcome these painful events."

Your "argument" that your father had to face the side with infinitely deeper pockets is true here as it is always, over and over and over.

I, too, hope you and your family are able, in time, to overcome these painful events. A friend you've never met...

JBinKS
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posted 11-02-2005 11:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBinKS   Click Here to Email JBinKS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was in the courtroom Friday, listening to prosecution witnesses, Max's defense and observing the jury.

It was obvious what the prosecution was trying to paint: a former CEO who felt he was owed retirement funds and stole artifacts as compensation. Much of the testimony was tedious; much of the jury appeared bored and disengaged, something that concerned me.

The lead prosecutor displayed an attitude of spite and condescension. As would be expected, her lack of experience with regard to such artifacts was evident; unfortunately, this conveyed to the jury suppositions that may have sounded reasonable, but certainly were not valid.

I imagine most of us usually consider the verdict rendered in a trial as reliable, reasonable and truthful. After watching this debacle, I cannot say I hold such a view now.

Much testimony and evidence apparently was ignored by the jury, including the actual alteration of Cosmosphere inventory records that suggested Max's culpability; dubious claims made during the grand jury testimony; the fact that some of Max's own collection was sold as the Cosmosphere's and went to its pocket; and the ludicrous claim that no one at the Cosmosphere knew Max had a personal collection (hell, I knew this thirty years ago).

Max's impeccable reputation as a professional in the fields of history, education and artifact preservation evidently had little effect on the jury.

Two of the prosecuting attorneys often spun their wheels, pressing certain issues when questioning Max and others, trying to score points. At one point this got to be so aggravating that the judge reprimanded the prosecutor, who gave up.

Walking out of courtroom on Friday, I now understood why Max had been so upbeat when I spoke with him earlier in the week. Clearly, the prosecution, who had to prove intent, among other things, was in trouble; several reporters we spoke with concurred.

Having been in Hutchinson when Max arrived some thirty years ago, having handled Max's personal collection and been involved with the first transfers of artifacts from NASA to the Hutchinson Planetarium, I can see exactly how all this came about.

Money and ego. That's what this really is all about. And that's the pathetic part of it. A very telling bit of testimony included an allusion to the wonderful Robert McCall mural Max commissioned in honor of Patty Carey, founder of the Hutchinson Planetarium and co-founder of the Cosmosphere. The KCSC board objected to the cost. But Max knew how much Patty loved McCall's work; could anyone imagine a more suitable way to honor the very person without whom the Cosmosphere would not have been? So it cost $110,000; big frickin' deal. This is pettiness in the extreme. The board objected to Max's broad authority and set about to curb it. This, also, was parlayed into an indictment of Max's ethical conduct by the prosecution and gleefully willing board members.

Of course, I have no idea how all this will shake out in the end. Sadly, Max's reputation probably has been besmirched in the eyes of those who don't know him. Also sad is that the Cosmosphere, the institution Max create, will suffer... and perhaps worse.

The simple fact is that there are very few who can successfully lead and cultivate such a thing as the Kansas Cosmosphere. Someone who embodies the particular combination of interests, vision, initiative, talents and altruism that Max Ary does is extremely rare... especially where the compensation is so modest. (I know of several occasions when Max was offered much greater salaries by other enterprises, yet he turned them down because of his commitment to the KCSC.)

Needless to say, Hutchinson, Kansas will never see the likes of Max Ary again. And the result will not only be the cessation of growth and development at the KCSC. Indeed, if that were the only result, I think its board of directors and the people of Kansas should count themselves lucky. But I think the Cosmosphere is likely to not just stagnate, but to regress. It certainly will lose its reputation as a place and source of innovation in its field. After all, with Max at the helm, the KCSC was more than a building full of space hardware -- it was a wellspring of talent, ideas, techniques, strategies, as well as exhibits and restorations.

But the word to remember here is "was." Not that there aren't good and talented people currently on staff at KCSC. But the unprecedented, requisite leadership is gone and almost certainly will not be replaced.

No doubt, as finances tighten, exhibits collect dust and ideas dry up, the Cosmosphere will continue to consolidate, compromise and contract. I sincerely doubt it will ever be what it once was.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-02-2005 06:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by JBinKS:
But I think the Cosmosphere is likely to not just stagnate, but to regress. It certainly will lose its reputation as a place and source of innovation in its field.
I wasn't in the courtroom (though I am expecting to soon be reading a complete transcript of the proceedings), so at present I cannot comment on what was said in the courtroom other than what was reported by Chris Green and other reporters present.

However, I find the above statement to be without basis. It's not that Max Ary wasn't unique to his field; he was and regardless of this trial's ultimate outcome, he will be respected among his peers for his accomplishments.

Max Ary departed the Cosmosphere in 2002, more than a year before this investigation and resulting indictment. His ability to influence the museum ended when he moved to Oklahoma.

In the time since, the Cosmosphere - without Ary at the helm - has successfully planned, implemented and opened the Early Space Exploration gallery. The very attributes that you suggest that the museum lost with Ary were embodied in this exhibit, most evidently innovation. More than one well respected museum curator has said it will serve as the model to base future space exhibits at institutions nationwide.

I do not fault anyone for wanting to assign praise to Ary, but I do not see why it should be at the expense of the Cosmosphere. The facts of this trial do not support such a conclusion.

JBinKS
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posted 11-02-2005 09:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBinKS   Click Here to Email JBinKS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Only time will tell for certain, Robert. Knowing the resources, personal and professional, that Max brought to his work, I do know that his absence from the KCSC does not bode well for the facility.

Max's capacity to conceive, coordinate, fund and execute projects is nothing short of awe-inspiring. In a world that tends toward specialization, his gift is an ability to do many things very, very well.

To call him the consummate generalist would not do him justice. He is, in my opinion, without peer in his field.

PlanetariumGuy
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posted 11-02-2005 11:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PlanetariumGuy   Click Here to Email PlanetariumGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, I have no idea how much you know about museums, but sadly, the gentleman from Hays is dead-on here. It is not brick and morter or a nice collection that makes a dynamic facility. It is people of vision at the helm. I've been in space education and museums for more than 36 years and what Ary brought to the Cosmosphere was a dream and appreciation of space history.

There are still good people there. But, I've seen the new gallery. Those museum people who saw it and praised it are probably devoid of vision themselves. There are a few new graphic pieces that copy what was already there in other parts of the Hall. Otherwise, much of it is just rearranging craft and materials already on display. They are now more remote from the visitor. I'm certainly no Ary, but I get around and have seen a lot of space displays and have a strong background in space history.

What the Cosmosphere has is an incredible legacy of the American and Russian space programs. That legacy is there because of one man and the people who believed in him. I was proud to call Patty Carey friend long before Max Ary started the Cosmosphere. She's the one that made this possible. And she would not approve of the direction this has gone. Far too much injury will result on all sides and to no one's good.

I too share a fear that there is little appreciation of space history among the people of that region. And the fact this site has used the Hutchinson News for a source is not a good sign. If you want fair reporting, the Wichita Eagle is far more comprehensive and unbiased. All their reporting on the trial is archived on their website and makes very good reading.

Let's put it this way, I'll take Gene Cernan's word over most other people you can mention.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-03-2005 07:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by PlanetariumGuy:
And the fact this site has used the Hutchinson News for a source is not a good sign. If you want fair reporting, the Wichita Eagle is far more comprehensive and unbiased. All their reporting on the trial is archieved on their website and makes very good reading.
Initially, I had planned to be in Witchita for the trial myself, but the unexpected evacuation from Hurricane Rita ruled out the two week stay in Kansas, coupled by a previous committment to be in London this past weekend. I inquired, through a colleague, about reprinting Stan Finger's articles for the Witchita Eagle but they would not allow such. Chris Green has from the start led the coverage on the investigation and case - well before the Witchita Eagle - and consistently turned up documents and details before anyone else (the AP ran a good number of his articles when the investigation was first announced). The Hutchinson News has been very kind to allow their articles to appear on this site, for which I am grateful.
quote:
Let's put it this way, I'll take Gene Cernan's word over most other people you can mention.
I agree with you, but amend your statement to say that I would put the same faith in Tom Stafford and Charlie Duke. But that is neither here nor there. The point of my response was that this case did not separate Ary from the Cosmosphere, as JBinKS post seemed to imply; that occurred by his departure from the museum in 2002.

I do not fault Ary's friends, colleagues and those who respected him for defending his legacy - I, myself, have done a fair share of the same - but I think its a bit of a stretch to use this trial as a means of forecasting the future of the Cosmosphere.

PlanetariumGuy
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posted 11-03-2005 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for PlanetariumGuy   Click Here to Email PlanetariumGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It seems you have assumed this is just one more person defending Ary and missed my message about what makes a museum thrive and what might make it decline.

Likewise, maybe because you didn't follow some of the court reporting in the Wichita paper, you missed my Cernan reference as well.

To take the latter first, Cernan mentioned that he found out about the items under contention and told the Cosmosphere immediately that their first action should be to contact Ary. This all could probably been avoided. Now you have not only the negative publicity about Ary, you also have a lot of divided and sore feelings out there over this that can't do anyone any good. I say if Cernan had been heeded, all this probably could have been avoided.

The Cosmosphere has a major handicap - it is in Hutchinson. This is no slight on the people of Hutchinson as I have many roots around there. But the closest Interstate is 26 miles away. The town's population numbers haven't changed in my memory going back some 40 years. It is one thing to build a major world class facility in Houston, for example, and quite another to do so in a small Kansas town. Sustaining that kind of a facility is also a major task.

Think of the resources and money and all the elements it takes to operate and maintain a first-class museum. It took someone to rally community support in the first place to make people believe it could be done in the most unlikely of places. Patty Carey had the respect of the community and she managed the impossible. She's gone now. Even if Ary were there or any innovator, keeping that support level and drawing the funding would be a huge task.

The current operators of the Cosmosphere were handed this facility already built and with a stock of artifacts. They can live for a time nationally on the reputation of "Apollo 13" and "Liberty Bell 7." But you have to keep recreating a miracle to keep something like the Cosmosphere alive. Will the current leadership be up to this daunting task? Maybe they can do it. But we have no evidence yet. One exhibit doesn't tell us anything.

You assume they are like a museum in Houston or Chicago and can just carry on for a while with no sweat. It's not going to be that easy. (Actually, it isn't even that easy for the museums in Chicago and Houston, but imagine the task of doing it a prairie town in Kansas).

I repeat that it's not mortar and stone or even the artifacts that do it. You have to have leadership and immense talent to rally the support and forge a future. Just spending a lot of money doesn't do it either. What I'm saying is that planets aligned (even though I'm totally opposed to astrology). Maybe I can rephrase that and say the right people came together to build something you'd never expect in this place. And those people are gone now. And you don't replace the giants easily with just your average museum executives no matter how well-intentioned.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-03-2005 11:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was aware of Cernan's comments. I have great respect for him, and as a friend to Ary, his advice was correct for what was best for Ary. It may not however, been what was best for the Cosmosphere.

What's done is done and there is no point in debating the "what ifs" now.

You and I do not disagree over what it takes to run a successful museum. I do however, put more faith in the Cosmosphere staff than it appears you are ready or willing to do. As you say, time will tell of the success (or failure) of their efforts, though I still fail to see how this trial altered their present situation. The Smithsonian is still sending its spacecraft there to be restored; astronauts are still supporting its growth; Hollywood is still turning to it for its space history-based projects; and, if I am not mistaken, their attendance figures have only grown in the years since Ary departed.

It appears that Ary didn't agree with you that Jeff Ollenburger was your "average museum executive". Knowing how much he cared for the Cosmosphere, it is unlikely Ary would have surrounded himself with people he didn't think were up for the job. (Admittedly, his opinion may have changed since, but that doesn't change what he thought before being biased by recent events.)

As for comparing the Cosmosphere to other museums, if anything, there are more than a few space museums in better geographical locations that are in far more trouble. If the Cosmosphere's greatest challenge is their location, then I believe they are well suited to succeed.

Hawkman
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posted 11-03-2005 04:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkman   Click Here to Email Hawkman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by CNewport:
What the readers must remember is that juries have been wrong before, as has the federal government...
I agree with some of what you say just as someone being 'indicted' does not mean that they are guilty. It has been said by wiser men than I that you can indict a ham sandwhich. The thing that gets me is that every time a jury verdict goes against the desired outcome, there are cries of 'the system failed' and 'juries have been wrong before'. Okay. Fine. I assume that there will be an appeal as there was in Mr. Jewel's case. On the other hand, defendants have been outspent before by prosecution and won. Michael Jackson anyone?

It cuts both ways. Every day in this country someone wins a court case...and someone loses. Those losing will say that the it was 'fixed', the system 'failed' etc while those that win will say just the opposite.

zee_aladdin
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posted 11-03-2005 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for zee_aladdin   Click Here to Email zee_aladdin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree, but judging from the details, it is extremely obvious that he is guilty.

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posted 11-03-2005 08:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moon Rocket   Click Here to Email Moon Rocket     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What details do you speak of? What makes it so obvious to you? If you are speaking of the details as described by the press, they hardly speak of all the details of the testimony and trial. I would urge you to obtain a copy of the court transcript once it is available so you can form your own opinion.

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posted 11-03-2005 08:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jarykc   Click Here to Email jarykc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I respect everyone's opinion, even if it is against my father, as we are all entitled to have one. However, I must ask exactly what "details" are we looking at when assuming my father was truly guilty?

If the details you refer to are from what you have read, which I assume it is, then I must break out the iceberg analogy. You have only seen the tip of the iceberg. A quote I read once summed it up best. "It is the media's job to report the news, not make the news, but that's what they are doing in an effort to be first".

Hardly any coverage was given on the fact the Cosmosphere altered and forged documents to make my father look guilty, that people on behalf of the prosecution lied in Grand Jury testimony, and that over $100,000 worth of my dad's private collection was mistakenly sold in the Cosmosphere's name, with them pocketing the proceeds. Thanks to JBinKS for pointing them out in a wonderful posting the other day, he's been one of the few to do so, and it is no coincedence he was one of the few on here who actually attended the trial. (Excellent political cartoon as well, JB).

Unless you were in that courtroom, you do not know the story and the "details". You only know what you read. You were fed information, and that's all you had to digest and make your opinion off of. I am not criticizing anyone for this, it's human nature to do so, all I'm trying to say is unless you were there, you don't know what really happened.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-03-2005 09:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jarykc:
Unless you were in that courtroom, you do not know the story and the "details".
Well, to correct for that, my hope is to publish the entire transcript of the trial on collectSPACE, either as a PDF or in a series of HTML pages. That way every word spoken can be read, rather than just the chosen highlights.

PlanetariumGuy
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posted 11-04-2005 12:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PlanetariumGuy   Click Here to Email PlanetariumGuy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
You and I do not disagree over what it takes to run a successful museum. I do however, put more faith in the Cosmosphere staff than it appears you are ready or willing to do.

Actually, the Cosmosphere staff has some great people. I just said doing miracles is hard. As to how museums like this one are doing, I'll discuss that with you more privately. As a consultant, there are things not to be discussed in a public forum.

And regarding how such a thing can affect people, you must have never lived in a small town or community. Especially here where the history is so strongly entwined with the story, it's sad for everyone.

Joe Davies
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posted 11-04-2005 03:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Davies   Click Here to Email Joe Davies     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr. Ary has been found guilty in a court of law, a verdict from his "peers" - the jury. Is it really likely that there was some joint Cosmosphere and legal system conspiracy against him? If there is an appeal and the verdicts are overturned then he will then be not guilty, but until then, he is guilty, and crying "conspiracy" will not alter that.

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posted 11-04-2005 08:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBinKS   Click Here to Email JBinKS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Who said anything about a conspiracy, Joe? Your statement suggests a belief that a jury cannot return an incorrect verdict.

I suggest that a jury can lose interest in evidence and testimony and cease to follow the defense's arguments; that was one of my chief concerns watching the trial.

Also, having known Max for three decades, it is clear to me he is not capable of theft and fraud. But prosecutors and willing witnesses are capable of painting him as such.

Jonathan Block
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posted 11-04-2005 02:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jonathan Block   Click Here to Email Jonathan Block     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Based on Mr. Ary's supporters' observations and posts in this thread, they should be more upset with his lawyer's inability to argue a better defense than anyone else if what I've read in these posts is true about the jury falling asleep, etc. I suggest Mr. Ary find a better lawyer for his appeal.

Spacepsycho
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posted 11-04-2005 02:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having been one of the first to rip into Max for his greed in stealing and selling important artifacts, this is a sad ending for all of us.

I feel bad for Max, his life is ruined, I feel bad for Max's family, I feel bad for the victims who were forced to return the stolen merchandise without compensation and I feel bad for the loss to the space collecting community as a whole.

Max is a very nice guy who did some REALLY stupid things and for that he'll be punished. The points that Max's son makes about the Cosmosphere's current leaders has validity and it makes me think that even if Max did steal & sell artifacts, how much more should he be punished? The museum and many artifacts would have been lost if not for Max, so how much punishment is enough?

I don't know if there was a conspiracy to get Max and I don't understand why those who were mentored by Max would turn on him. Regardless, something was going on at the Cosmosphere and if there was a conspiracy to "get Max", their judgment will come in due course.

Trust me, I take no pleasure in being proven right in my first post, where many of you screamed at me for jumping the gun in my opinion about the case against Max. Hopefully the auction houses, museum coordinators and others who have access to rare artifacts, will be more diligent in proving the legitimacy of artifacts coming up for sale.

Either way you look at it, we all lost something.

zee_aladdin
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Posts: 773
From: California
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 11-05-2005 12:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for zee_aladdin   Click Here to Email zee_aladdin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The bottom line is that, no matter who you are, people can become corrupted with greed, selfishness, and the desire to accumulate money, wealth, etc... especially if they can keep it a secret.

Sometime people think on two levels: they want to make money, and they are not hurting anybody, but just to find out that there was something sinister in their logic that they might have overlooked. And this seems to be one of these cases...

mdmyer
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Posts: 899
From: Humboldt KS USA
Registered: Dec 2003

posted 11-05-2005 06:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdmyer   Click Here to Email mdmyer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Late in July of this year I e-mailed Max because I had an idea I wanted to run past him. The Gemini 6 had been restored at the Cosmosphere and it was on display at the OmniPlex in Oklahoma City and Max was the Director of the OminPlex. The Gemini 7 was on display in Washington D.C. The 40th Anniversary of the Gemini 7/6 flight will be the 15th of December. Wouldn't it be great to get the Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 together and have a celebration of that flight? Both crews are still with us and who knows, maybe they would have agreed to attend the gala.

Max thought it was a great idea but he told me that the Gemini 6 was scheduled to be moved to the Oklahoma History Museum in October of this year. Of course Max's trail was in the works but he still mentioned that he would pass the idea along to the Oklahoma History Museum. I don't know if the Oklahoma History Museum is going to be able to do anything or not but I have to wonder if Max had been free to work his "magic", would he have been able to make this suggestion become a reality. My guess is that he could have.

JBinKS
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posted 11-05-2005 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JBinKS   Click Here to Email JBinKS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Clearly, Max made no effort to conceal his alleged illicit activity. This calls into question the alleged intent.

LunarRover
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posted 11-22-2005 12:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LunarRover   Click Here to Email LunarRover     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by PlanetariumGuy:
But, I've seen the new gallery. Those museum people who saw it and praised it are probably devoid of vision themselves.
I respectfully (I think), disagree. Vehemently. I thought the Mollett Gallery was a magnificent and visionary addition to a museum that sets the standard for the display of artifacts.

Go sit under that Gemini rocket, feel the vibrations of it as it prepares to launch, listen to the chatter of the ground crew, and rethink, my friend.

The Cosmosphere brings a world class artifact collection to life, and tells the story like no other museum I have ever visited.

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