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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, December 3, 2006

Ex-curator of Wahiawa museum charged with fraud in Nebraska

Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. The former museum curator of the Korean War museum in Oxford, Nebraska who set up similar museum in Hawai'i two years ago was charged with defrauding Nebraska war veterans, local governments and private individuals, Attorney General Jon Bruning said.

A Lancaster County district judge also granted an emergency request for a temporary restraining order to keep Kyle Kopitke of Nelson, Neb., from moving the museums and removing assets from them.

Kopitke set up a Korean War museum in Wahiawa in 2004. But he had to start looking for a new location six months later because of a dispute with the owner of the land under the facility.

The Nebraska suit says 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 used similar schemes in Utah and Hawai'i in the past eight years, Bruning said in a statement released yesterday.

Kopitke served jail time for trespassing at the museum and was released. He was arrested June 10 after he was seen in the museum building in Oxford.

Kopitke said he was removing personal items. But the building's owners said Kopitke did not have permission to be inside.

The Korean War Museum operated in Oxford from April 2005 until it was moved to Edgar in November 2005.