It's all lies, says embattled museum founder
LINCOLN, Neb. » The former museum curator of the Korean War museum in Oxford says he'll be cleared of allegations that he defrauded local governments, war veterans and other people.
Kyle Kopitke of Nelson said last week that he is looking for some free legal help to fight a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the office of Attorney General Jon Bruning.
He set up a similar museum in Hawaii two years ago.
In addition, a Lancaster County district judge temporarily barred Kopitke from moving the museums or taking any artifacts or other assets from them.
The state lawsuit alleges that Kopitke set up charitable war museums in Oxford, Edgar and Nelson to gain thousands of dollars in incentives, benefits and personal possessions from individuals and local governments.
Kopitke, his wife and their 10-year-old son live at the former Nelson high school in a gymnasium locker room that has been remodeled into a caretaker's apartment.
He denied removing or selling any of items donated to his museums.
Kopitke said he's a victim of negative news reports and two unidentified groups that he said want to take over his museums, calling their actions "hostile corporate takeovers."
"I believe the attorney general is being manipulated by the lies of these two groups," he said.
Kopitke served jail time for trespassing at the Oxford museum.
The Korean War Museum operated in the former Oxford nursing home building from April 2005 until Kopitke moved the museum to Edgar in November last year.
Kopitke moved to Nelson, where he operates a Vietnam war museum.
Steve and Dave Gerbers of Nora, brothers who own the Nelson school building, said that near as they know, Kopitke has been honest in his dealings.