Legal Battle Over Topeka 9/11 Memorial Sculpture

TOPEKA — A cement block from the wreckage at Ground Zero will not be placed in Topeka as originally planned, and now it’s the center of a legal battle.

This afternoon a truck was supposed to deliver a sculpture made out of concrete from the Twin Towers after 9/11. The piece traveled with the “Gold Star 11 Tour” for the past month. The founder of the American Fallen Warriors Memorial Foundation in Lawrence, Tonya Evans, says the piece was meant to end up in Kansas City, Kansas at a 9/11 memorial. She says the plan was to display the artifact at Topeka’s Fire Department Headquarters in the meantime. But, today she got different news from the artist of the sculpture, Sandra Priest.

“Sandra Priest is not allowing Mountain Crane to remove the artifact this morning from their trucks, and she is threatening legal matters because of the price of the artifact has not been paid,” Evans said by phone.

Kansas First News spoke with the Florida-based artist’s attorney Julie Lavan. She says Priest stopped the delivery today because she wasn’t made completely clear where the statue was going or where it would end up.  Lavan also says there were “loose conditions” in their contracts about payment for the sculpture, but it was implied that after the down payment an additional one would be made. She says the memorial foundation refused to pay anything further.

A spokesman with the transportation company, Mountain Crane Service, out of Utah says the statue is on its way to Salt Lake City until an agreement can be reached between the two parties.

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