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SUE is for sale

SUE update 

Most of this is old news, but this is where things now stand. 

The Department of the Interior has completely overruled
former acting US Attorney Kevin Schieffer's claim that
the federal government owns the fossil. The Feds no longer
claim SUE is theirs.

The 8th circuit court of appeals has ruled that SUE belongs 
to Maurice Williams by the following logic:

- SUE, while she was still in the ground, was real estate
  and Williams required federal permission to sell her.

- After SUE was out of the ground she became private property
  and could legally be sold without federal permission.

Since the transaction between Williams and the BHIGR occurred 
while SUE was still in the ground, Williams required federal 
permission to sell her. (according to this ruling)

This means that if the monetary transaction had happened just a few
days later, when SUE was out of the ground, it would be considered
a normal business transaction with no federal permission needed.
[talk about technicalities - I can't find any precedent for this
and seriously doubt the supreme court would uphold it]

Step right up, get your 90+% T. rex skeleton, the biggest and best
ever found.

Maurice Williams has made no secret that SUE is for sale. If the BHIGR
drop their appeal, the Feds will return SUE to Williams, who will then
do the very thing that everybody claims to be so worried about, i.e.
sell it to the highest bidder. 

Think of the irony! Former acting Attorney Schieffer seizes the fossil
under the guise of "preserving it for all". Lots of false rumors were 
started about the BHIGR being evil "commercial collectors" who would 
just sell to the highest bidder. Now the Feds have apparently spent 
5 million to give it back to a person(Williams) who will do exactly 
what Schieffer said they were trying to prevent!

Well, the TRUTH is that SUE was *never* for sale while in the custody
of BHIGR, and everybody knew it. The BHIGR are a group whose lifelong
dream is to build a natural history museum and share their fantastic
collection with the public. The only vision they ever had for SUE was
to be the centerpiece of this museum. Go ahead, I dare you to try and
buy the rights to SUE from Pete Larson. He'll tell you what he's said
from day one, *Not* for sale at any price. Try the same with Maurice
Williams. He's interested in *all* serious offers.

Many people have commented about SUE and how they "hoped" that the
government would give it to a "suitable institution" somewhere so
we can at least SEE it again. Well folks, the government intends to
hand it over to Williams who is ready, willing, and able to sell it
to anybody if the price is right. The only thing standing in 
Williams's way right now is the appeal filed by BHIGR. If he 
feels like it, he can ship SUE from the School of Mines to a 
polebarn near Eagle Butte and auction her off in parts.

Our federal government has spent close to 5 million dollars in what 
has become the the most expensive criminal investigation in SD history. 
What did we get for our taxpayer dollars? Let's see:

- The Feds took the skeleton out of the hands of well trained scientists 
  who were generously sharing it with the public.

- The Feds took the best T. rex skeleton ever found and subjected it
  to needless and *certainly* damaging transportation. 

- The Feds have engaged in a pattern of persecution of the BHIGR, 
  subjecting them to at least two major events of search and seizure 
  many months *before* filing any criminal charges. They have finally 
  charged BHIGR with something, but it doesn't even involve SUE. 

- The Feds adversely affected the economy of the small Black Hills town
  of Hill City by targeting one of the largest employers in the area(BHIGR)
  and shortcircuiting the Black Hills Museum of Natural History plans for
  a truly world-class T. rex exhibit with the associated tourism business.
  [Despite the onslaught, the museum is open and can be visited at their
  main building in Hill City. A site nearby has already been acquired
  for the new museum building.]

- The Feds have enraged many Americans with their actions in this
  matter. Seldom are the lines of right and wrong so vivid. I don't 
  want my taxdollars being spent on outrageous persecution of scientists
  that are clearly serving the public interest and are not criminals.

- The Feds have spent these millions to pave the way for Williams
  to merely turn around and sell SUE to the highest bidder, be they a
  private collector, foreign investor, etc.


An Open Letter to Maurice Williams,
Maurice Williams, follow your heart. Do the right thing.
SUE belongs in Hill City at the Black Hills Natural History Museum. 
The Larsons are good people and fine scientists. They are better able to
care for SUE than anybody else on earth. They have spent thousands of
hours studying SUE, and love her like a parent loves a child.

Find some way to bury the hatchet and work this out without involving 
the Feds or the Tribe. Take things full circle to where they started, 
as a deal between you as an individual citizen and the BHIGR. It should 
*never* have gone any further than that. The outside involvement has
only served to make things worse. You can help create a happy ending for
this story that is balanced and rewarding on all levels. Don't sell SUE
to the highest bidder. A deal that looks great financially can lead to
spiritual bankruptcy. It's time to work out a deal with BHIGR so that
SUE can take her rightful place as the centerpiece of the new museum.
Hill City will love you, 
You will be enriched,
You will win great respect among *all* peoples.

Paul. R. Janke