Update: Rosa Parks' Attorney Dodges Jail -- At Least for Now
November 14th, 2017, 12:40 PM
Update, 12:36 p.m. Tuesday: Rosa Parks’ lawyer Gregory Reed avoided jail Tuesday and received three more weeks to turn over a missing treasure trove of civil rights, Motown and African American objects, The Detroit News reports.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marci McIvor made the decision during a tense hearing Tuesday.
Original article, Tuesday morning:
Prominent Detroit attorney Gregory Reed, who has represented such clients as Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker and Rosa Parks, has collected civil rights and Motown memorabilia. His stash includes iron slave shackles, an early draft of a Parks book, a century-old book signed by educator Booker T. Washington and Motown artistrs' gold records.
He became Parks' legal adviser in 1994 after she was mugged. He worked out of a million-dollar Corktown firehouse where Parks maintained an office. He also helped establish a nonprofit foundation, Keeper of the Word Foundation, to preserve historical items.
In 2014, he filed for bankruptcy in federal court in Detroit.
Now, Reed is accused of selling a rare Rosa Parks item and hiding more than 100 pieces of civil rights memorabilia and Motown and African-American history, reports Robert Snell of The Detroit News.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman writes in a court filing that Reed has shielded assets from creditors by commingling them with his foundation and treating the nonprofit like a "personal piggy bank.
Reed should be jailed until he reveals the location of the missing property and returns the items, a lawyer for bankruptcy trustee Kenneth Nathan wrote in a court filing. If the property was sold, Reed should relinquish the money, the lawyer argues.
Reed also should be fined every day until he complies with court orders, according to the trustee’s legal team.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marci McIvor will consider the request to jail Reed at a hearing Tuesday.
Reed was involved in an epic divorce that lead to a division of properties starting in 2000. In 2015, he was quoted in the Michigan Chronicle as saying:
"The bankruptcy court contends that Keeper of the Word Foundation is mine. But how could it be mine when there a board and it operates by the laws of government pertaining to non-profit foundations?
"The judge believes that Keeper of the Word Foundation and its assets are my alter egos, but they are not. The foundation is a separate entity that has done everything correctly. All of its paperwork has been filed correctly. Keeper of the Word Foundation should not be a party of this bankruptcy."