The world-class air museum developed by Evergreen International Aviation founder Del Smith may be in for some painful losses in the wake of the apparent collapse of Smith’s network of for-profit operation.
The McMinnville, Oregon, museum housing Howard Hughes’ mammoth H-4 Hercules (better known as the “Spruce Goose”) is facing financial scrutiny, and the ownership of the historic airplane is in question. First envisioned by Capt. Michael King Smith, son of Evergreen International Aviation founder Delford Smith, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum is the realization of his dream. The museum began with a small collection of vintage aircraft in a hangar at headquarters and was called the Evergreen Museum. Several Evergreen companies, founded and owned by Smith, include a water park and an air-and-space museum. Managers say the attractions will remain open.
But the Oregon Department of Justice is investigating them for alleged commingling of funds between Evergreen’s profit and nonprofit arms, and Smith may have put up some of the planes in the museum as collateral being claimed by creditors.
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