My position is that I was maligned, slandered and interefered with in the pursuit of not only my profession, but in my ongoing attempts to create and install Assyrian monuments, something I've been doing for twenty years. All of this was done because I would not bend to the personal whim of one woman and a handful of men, eager to keep all eyed focused on them.
The Federation itself donated $10,000.00 to my first monument. Some years later it donated another $10,000 to the Shumirum. I made every effort in the world to have the Shumirum installed, and had the city of Chicago agree twice to pay all installation and pedestal costs only to lose it all by the threat of a lawsuit brought by John Nimrod against the city if it should proceed because he would have been denied the glory of bringing it to Chicago in HIS way and for HIM.
And at last year's convention in Chicago, I was again stopped by the president of the Federation, Sargon Lewie, from circulating a petition asking for signatures so we could encourage the city to overide the objections of one man. Why the Federation, which had donated OUR money to this project would then try to stop me from getting it installed is another one of those questions a judge will ponder on...as will the IRS.
What compounds the mess this time, is that the Federation itself is the sponsor, the financial conduit, the 501c3 we needed to funnel donations through. In other words it is more "their" project than the other two. So why would they come to me on the last night and tell me I cannot raise donations for a project THEY agreed to sponsor? Another interesting point for a judge and the IRS to ponder.
And further, how do you justify adding a clause to a contract presented to ALL artists, just for me...which requires me alone to agree, as a condition of being allowed to remain and display my sculptures, that I not engage in my right to free speech, agree NOT to talk about the Shumirum...a project they themselves gave money to, and not mention the Federation which now sponsors my Hammurabi? If someone was to ask me what was happening to the Shumirum, as many did...would I be in "violation" by answering...if I'd signed that contract? Was I supposed to say nothing in order to be in compliance...and wouldn't that just spread more doubt in people's minds that there IS no monument...as Alphonse was loudly proclaiming to everyone within earshot? Am I to say nothing when Senator John Nimrod states from the microphone to a roomfull of people, many of them visiting from other lands, that they gave such and such an amount, when it is a lie...or that he will allow the statue to go anywhere in Chicago when he is the one who threatenned to sue the city if they installed it at the excellent location they chose SIX years ago??
How come he could say what he wanted but I could say nothing in my or its defense. That is such a blatant violation of my rights, makes me so obviously singled out and discriminated against as only they could have come up with it.
I am obviously the only professional Assyrian sculptor we have. I have been making Assyrian sculpture for years...and for all those years I have been presenting my work at conventions where people from all over the country and the world have come, and several have purchased pieces from me. The conventions have been the single best way to show my work to the greatest number of our people...it is my best "market" if you want to be crude about it.
To have allowed me to come this time, even with all the pre-convention nonsense...to have said nothing when I set up the sculptures, to have remained silent Friday and Saturday and all day Sunday, only to come at me with a "contract" fifteen minutes after I made my first sale Sunday evening...and demand I sign an agreement which among other things says I CANNOT sell any sculpture...an agreement it turns out the others did sign...though they were being allowed to sell anyway...and to tell me to sign or "get out"...beggars the imagination and has my lawyer watering at the mouth.
I can easily show that Jackie and John Nimrod have acted with extreme prejudice towards me and my work. Jackie told the hotel managemant that I was the cause of the trouble at the Chicago Hilton when the Police there and hotel security remember it quite differently. And John once again announced the lie that he paid "$227,000.00" for the Shumirum and was willing to put it wherever the Mayor said...knowing damn well the books wont back him up and that he's never approached the Mayor...that the Mayor knows nothing about this, and that he wouldn't bother to meet with John about it anyway. The city of Chicago has the best and most respected collection of Art and the professional staff to deal with these issues. John has merely been grandstanding for our benefit and his own...in the process he, and Jackie and Sargon Lewie and Alphonse and others have been doing their utmost to frustrate these projects, spread lies about my work and character etc. They all feel perfectly fine doing this to me and to us, because they have nothing but contempt for us and see us only as stepping stones...they have no idea how many laws they have violated...it would never cross their minds that a court of Law would take OUR side against their foolish actions, when all along they've believed they were being impressive and statesmanlike hidden in the bowels of their basement "Assyrias" or Hotel Lobbies where some cash bought them "
respect" for a week end.
Since I do most of my work within our small community scattered world-wide, these comments and actions of theirs reach many people, in ways I can't possibly counter. They have tried to sink me professionally within our community, and it was to protect us from these abuses that Hammurabi made that code of Laws.
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