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Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

Posted January 31, 2017 9:00 AM by dstrohl

After a federal judge gave the go-ahead for Craig Breedlove to pursue his lawsuit against the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry for allegedly damaging Breedlove’s Spirit of America, museum officials decided this week to settle with Breedlove rather than let the suit go to trial.

Terms of the settlement, which Breedlove and the museum announced in a joint statement on Monday, were not disclosed.

Breedlove filed his lawsuit in June, accusing the museum – to which he’d loaned Spirit of America in August 1965 and which returned the record-breaker to him in 2015 – not only of failing to properly take care of the three-wheeler but also of cutting and rewelding the vehicle’s frame, thus causing poor panel fit, and of extending the jet engine’s intake duct mounts. In addition, Breedlove claimed the museum allowed visitors to scratch graffiti into the paint and did not return to him various parts of the vehicle, including the seat.

In his lawsuit, Breedlove asked for no less than $395,000, the estimated cost to repair the damages.

Seems like the museum didn't live up to its expectations.

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#1

Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

01/31/2017 2:08 PM

This is quite disgraceful. What the heck were they doing cutting it up in the first place? Surely not to get it through the doors to its exhibit location.

I have been to the museum, it's not pokey and small. They got a WWII German sub inside without too much trouble, and those huge John Deere farm tractors into the main exibit hall, and a freakin' jet in one of the side halls. They didn't have to cut them up to fit.

Did they damage it and attempt a poor repair and lie about it?

Yea, thanks for the loan of the American constitution document, it's still 'mint,' ignore the jelly stain in the corner and the tape now holding it together.

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#2

Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

01/31/2017 4:31 PM

Well, it's hard to make a judgement without knowing the circumstances. Regardless, they should have contacted him with any issues they might have had and used him to resolve the issue in a way that he thought proper. To make repairs without consulting him, the owner, is disrespectful and heavy handed at least. If they did in fact attempt to contact him without success or with an agent's go ahead, then these are the circumstances that would explain what happened.

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#3
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Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

01/31/2017 4:43 PM

If that were the case, that would explain some things. But what about the missing parts like the seat?

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Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

01/31/2017 4:50 PM

They could have been shipped to him for all we know....

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Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

01/31/2017 5:16 PM

'Mint' to me means in same or equivalent restored condition, not in numerous bits potentially transported separately at later date.

You wouldn't be happy with this if it were (say) your prized car you loaned to someone and it came back like this with no covering note or explanation for the missing parts, and the person you loaned it to indicated it was being returned in the same 'Mint' condition you loaned it to them in, now would you.

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Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

01/31/2017 5:56 PM

I wouldn't loan my car out without having proper insurance....and certainly not for 50 years!

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Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

01/31/2017 6:02 PM

Not even if they were someone you trusted, like family perhaps?

No wait, scratch that last comment.

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#8

Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

02/01/2017 3:11 AM

At the end of the day, it's night the operative word is 'loaned'. So the museum never owned this piece of American history. So they have now right to tamper with it, without the owners consent.

Surely a museum like this, has insurance to cover and protect, these costly and sometimes priceless exhibits?

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Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

02/01/2017 1:09 PM

There had to be paperwork involved here which we don't have access to....It may have been stipulated in the contract that repairs as necessary could be undertaken....The seat may have started rotting and stinking or something....and the structure may have oxidized to the point that it was considered unsafe....we just don't know the details...but over the course of 50 years it seems the owner would have checked on his property at least a few times, this seems more like abandonment to me....and then an attempt to raise money out of desperation...perhaps justifiable but still seems a little sketchy...

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Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

02/01/2017 1:44 PM

Yes, without more information (unless someone can find any online) the discussion seems to have run its course.

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Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

02/01/2017 7:05 PM

It seems they had a verbal agreement, nothing in writing...

..."The original oral loan agreement between Breedlove – who had just finished repairing the Spirit of America after its 1964 crash at Bonneville and who had just prior scrapped his plans to use the three-wheeler to set a 600 MPH record – and the museum stipulated only that the museum would not put it on display elsewhere without Breedlove’s approval, that the museum would return the Spirit of America in case Breedlove were to make a movie about his record attempts, and that the museum would return it to Breedlove if the museum ever removed the vehicle from public display. Apparently, no agreement was made regarding the upkeep or maintenance of the Spirit of America."...

..."Museum lawyers responded to Breedlove’s lawsuit by initially getting it dismissed. Breedlove then amended his lawsuit in October, noting that the museum, as a member of the American Association of Museums, had a duty to follow the AAM’s guidelines, which call for proper physical care for items donated or lent to museums. Chicago federal judge Ronald Guzman earlier this month sided with Breedlove."...

Doesn't look like $400k worth of damage.....

http://www.artlawgallery.com/2013/03/articles/art-collectors/museum-loans/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spirit_of_America_(automobile)

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#12
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Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

02/01/2017 7:42 PM

From the same article major structural work was done to the vehicle which brings the quoted restoration price into better perspective.

Damage included exterior panels that no longer fit, stretched intake duct mountings for the jet engine and graffiti where schoolchildren carved their initials in the aluminum finish, the lawsuit said. Missing parts included the driver's seat.

In addition, Breedlove said the vehicle's frame had been cut and "unprofessionally" re-welded — without his permission. The car was taken to a professional restoration shop, which estimated repair costs at $395,000.

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Re: Craig Breedlove Reaches Settlement with Museum That He Claims Cut Up his Spirit of America

02/01/2017 9:35 PM

That doesn't sound like a repair, that sounds like a complete nut and bolt ground up restoration....and a bit on the high side at that... I think we need three estimates??haha

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