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When the Family comes calling.........


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#51 Robbo

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 03:03 PM

Well, I'll add my recent experience of this subject to the thread.

About 2 weeks ago I was contacted by a member of the forum claiming to be a relation of an 8th AAF KIA that I have the medals for.
ORIGINAL POSTING

They did not say what relation they were to the man in question but did ask if we could work something out and that the grouping had been sought for some time. I was offered proof of identity but none was forthcoming. I thought about it all day at work and decided that I have no obligation to give up the grouping in these circumstances. Anyway, why did the family give it up in the first place? Was it a genuine request as no proof has been given? Would it be parted out on Ebay a week later. Was it just another collector who liked the look of it? Just a few of the questions that I asked myself.

I decided that the grouping is mine to do with as I wish and NO ONE can say otherwise. Sound harsh? Please refer to the self asked questions above.
I did reply to the PM and politely said that although the grouping was not for sale, should that change in the future, then I would give them the chance to buy it at fair market value to be determined provided I have irrefutable proof of identity. That was 2 weeks ago and I've heard nothing more since the initial PM so they can't want it that bad.

The grouping will remain a hugely valued part of my collection (I've even been to Cambridge Cemetery to see his name on the "tablets of the missing").

Rob

#52 kjones5452

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 03:37 PM

Hey Rob,
Another thing also, and don't ask me why, if I were ever approached like that, by another member, I would be
curious as to how long they had been a Forum member.

#53 Brian D

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 05:59 PM

Hey Rob,
Another thing also, and don't ask me why, if I were ever approached like that, by another member, I would be
curious as to how long they had been a Forum member.


IF....and I stress IF, they can offer proof, then I would allow a "newbie" a chance to explain themselves first.....this happened in my Bible post earlier in this thread. The woman (soldiers daughter) was very forthcoming with any and all information I asked for...proving to me her intentions were pure. And, the $$$$$ value of the item on the market would play as much into this for me as anything else....not that I wouldn't return items, but would I CHARGE for them. In the previous case I ran across, I did not as I felt it was worth more to my feelings of doing the "right thing" than what the item was actually worth. Each case is certainly different and each presents its own dilemas to us in the hobby. :rolleyes: Some easier than others......... ;)

#54 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 05:10 AM

They did not say what relation they were to the man in question but did ask if we could work something out and that the grouping had been sought for some time. I was offered proof of identity but none was forthcoming. I thought about it all day at work and decided that I have no obligation to give up the grouping in these circumstances. Anyway, why did the family give it up in the first place? Was it a genuine request as no proof has been given? Would it be parted out on Ebay a week later. Was it just another collector who liked the look of it? Just a few of the questions that I asked myself.

I decided that the grouping is mine to do with as I wish and NO ONE can say otherwise. Sound harsh? Please refer to the self asked questions above. I did reply to the PM and politely said that although the grouping was not for sale, should that change in the future, then I would give them the chance to buy it at fair market value to be determined provided I have irrefutable proof of identity. That was 2 weeks ago and I've heard nothing more since the initial PM so they can't want it that bad. Rob

No... it does not sound harsh, and you have handled the situation well! BTW, having not heard from them since... I think you already have the answer on their interest and intent ;)

#55 Jack's Son

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 08:16 PM

Maybe this is a good time to re-read this??

#56 Brian D

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 08:33 AM

A good time to re-read indeed JS! Almost makes me want to ask for any posts that I have listed specific names to be deleted! :ermm:

#57 wildcat123

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 10:43 AM

A good time to re-read indeed JS! Almost makes me want to ask for any posts that I have listed specific names to be deleted! :ermm:



Excellent point. In this most recent case, I'm guessing he'll know how serious the family is right away... I don't envy his position. :think:

#58 Bob Hudson

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 11:23 AM

Almost makes me want to ask for any posts that I have listed specific names to be deleted! :ermm:


We don't do that, but in the future instead of posting names, post photos of ID's.

#59 Brian D

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 11:40 AM

We don't do that, but in the future instead of posting names, post photos of ID's.


I am reading you loud and clear.......call the past posts "youthful" inexperience! ;) Live and learn! :pinch:

#60 Dave

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 11:59 AM

We don't do that, but in the future instead of posting names, post photos of ID's.



Why? You're under no obligation to communicate or return items to the family. If they press charges, they have to prove that the items were stolen...other than "yeah, I don't know how Aunt Sally ever parted with Grampa Joe's medals, they HAD to have been stolen..." If they can prove the items were stolen, chances are you should probably send the items back to the family anyway...at some point, SOMEONE is going to come knocking on the door to return stolen merchandise (sorry, I know that it might really suck and that you might have a lot of money tied up in something, but if you have something that's legitimately stolen...well, the law says it has to go back...and really, would you REALLY want to have items in your collection that you knew were stolen? I sure wouldn't...)

My dealings with family have nearly all been positive, and in several cases, I ended up with MORE items from the veteran than I initially had! I met some really good people this way too...folks who appreciated what their ancestors did, but also really appreciated that someone took the trouble to take good care of it too. I've never had a legit family member refuse to pay anything but full retail for an item that I had and that I was willing to part with. Nor did I ever have any issue with the family members offering proof of who they were and their relation to the veteran. If someone on this forum happened to end up with some items from my family, I'd be eternally grateful to get them back, and really, money wouldn't be an issue - or showing proof of relation, for that matter.

If you want to play it safe, do what Forum Support says and only show photos of the identifying items...name tapes, tags, etc. Those can't be googled, but that still allows for other forum members to appreciate what you have, and you don't have to worry about someone causing a headache while searching the web... And, you can still benefit from the help and research assistance offered by members of the forum...to the enjoyment of all of us.

My two cents...

Dave

#61 wildcat123

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 12:03 PM

The case that occured yesterday is very interesting, this was an INCREDIBLY valuable grouping of medals. I'm curious how it is panning out. Did the thread disappear? I can't find it this afternoon (the brothers double Silver Star grouping). :think:

#62 Jack's Son

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:16 PM

I'm curious how it is panning out. Did the thread disappear? I can't find it this afternoon (the brothers double Silver Star grouping). :think:

I have the feeling that the Administration took it down to keep the controversy to a minimum.
I could be wrong, but it is defiantly gone.
Brian was last to post this morning.

#63 Tom Lane

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 03:06 PM

The case that occured yesterday is very interesting, this was an INCREDIBLY valuable grouping of medals. I'm curious how it is panning out. Did the thread disappear? I can't find it this afternoon (the brothers double Silver Star grouping). :think:


Yea, after a disdcussion on the Moderators' Board, one of the admins marked it as invisible for the time being. The owner of the group is in touch with the family, but there's been no mention of any resolution yet.

As far as I'm concerned, it's now a private matter between the family and the owner, and it's up to the current owner of the group to tell us what happened (or not).

#64 Bugme

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 03:12 PM

(or not).

:lol:

#65 GIKyle

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:01 PM

I believe I may have some AAR comments to contribute to this thread in the future! :thumbsup: Not only with the current, more well known situation, but with two other groups over the past 6 months. I appreciate the many PMs of support, concern, and advice; and did not appreciate the needless ill words about a deceased, very good friend of mine resulting from the family's post. As stated above the family and I are communicating cordially in private, and I intend to keep it that way until we have everything resolved.

Thanks much,

Kyle

#66 Bugme

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:08 PM

I believe I may have some AAR comments to contribute to this thread in the future! :thumbsup: Not only with the current, more well known situation, but with two other groups over the past 6 months. I appreciate the many PMs of support, concern, and advice; and did not appreciate the needless ill words about a deceased, very good friend of mine resulting from the family's post. As stated above the family and I are communicating cordially in private, and I intend to keep it that way until we have everything resolved.

Thanks much,

Kyle

I saw that post before FS took it down. I agree, needlessly said and no good reason for it other than to speak bad of the dead. Side note: I've got an item from your friends museum also.

#67 Brian D

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 05:41 PM

Best of luck to you Kyle....as has been demonstrated by (now 4) pages of debate, these matters can be difficult and sticky at times. You seem to be handling it with a very level head and appropriately NOT on a public forum. My best wishes to you and a happy result for you in the end! :thumbsup:

#68 wildcat123

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 05:51 PM

I will just echo what has already been said, best of luck in a difficult situation :thumbsup:

#69 Tom Lane

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 06:00 PM

Here's a sad but interesting story from today's Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagobr...lled-in-02.html

snippet:

An ugly battle has broken out between the family of the first U.S. servicewoman to die in the Afghanistan war and a Northwest Indiana used-furniture dealer who bought her personal effects from a storage company four years ago.

Marine Sgt. Jeannette Winters' family wants back her funeral flag, the dog tags that were on her closed casket, and her medals, military records and other memorabilia that Mark Perko says he bought after payments on the storage locker were missed.


#70 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 06:29 AM

pure and simple GREED :evilgrin:

#71 Jack's Son

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 08:22 AM

pure and simple GREED :evilgrin:

D,
I agree with 100%.
This is an example of greed in the worst way.......for profit from a grieving family.
Obviously this person is not a collector, but a picker. As such, he is view differently by those of us in the collecting community. But for the general population, he is associated with collecting which gives us a bad name.
I understand, a picker has to make a living, but at what price. For us, a fair price, but not an "exorbitant" price. Inevitable, his actions will hurt collectors, as well as pickers.

#72 p2tharizo

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 09:48 AM

This is my experience. Please feel free to comment in either thread:

http://www.usmilitar...showtopic=93004

#73 MWalsh

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:17 AM

Saw this news story today. Now in this case, the current owner of the group may be just holding out for $$$, who knows. Sounds like he's a regular scrounger sort like many of us. But, the press about this story in general is not good. At least those of us who collect military things, killed in action things, etc, are not being lumped into this... But, change the word "businessman" in the story to "collector" instead... then imagine how the story would read... The original story was from Nov. 30th. Here is a follow up from today too. I found both in the Chicago Sun Times.

MW

Brother of dead Marine says deal could be near to get her property back

November 30, 2010

By Jon Seidel, Post-Tribune

The brother of the first U.S. servicewoman killed in Afghanistan said he hopes a deal can be made Tuesday to retrieve her personal effects from a businessman who has been trying to sell them.

Matthew Winters Jr. said he talked to Mark Perko, of Hobart, Ind., and the two men could meet later Tuesday to discuss how Winters’ family can retrieve items belonging to the late Marine Sgt. Jeannette Winters.

Matthew Winters said Perko wouldn’t settle on how much he wants for Jeannette Winters’ property that Perko bought from an abandoned storage unit more than four years ago.

The collection includes Jeannette Winters’ funeral flag, her dog tag, military medals and even the Gold Star banner that families of deceased members of the military often display.

Perko, who owns a furniture outlet business in Lake Station, Ind., has already rejected an offer of $1,000 and four tickets to a Chicago Bears football game, according to Robert Farmer, executive director of Webb House Inc., which dedicated the Sgt. Jeannette Winters Centers for Homeless Female Veterans last week in Gary.

Farmer wants to display the items at the homeless shelter.

Jeannette Winters, a Gary native, was the first U.S. servicewoman to die in the war in Afghanistan when a tanker plane crashed into a mountain in Pakistan in January 2002.

Before hanging up on a reporter Tuesday, Perko complained about negative publicity and said “I can’t even go to my store today.”

He and Matthew Winters began their day with a conference call broadcast on a local radio station that tried unsuccessfully to broker a deal. Offers of donations to help buy back the items have poured in since, but Winters said Perko has refused to put a price on his sister’s effects.

Winters spent much of the rest of his day speaking to reporters and visiting his sister’s grave at Calumet Park Cemetery.

He already skipped a non-refundable flight to his home in Twentynine Palms, Calif., and had been expected to return to work earlier this week.

He has said he needs “peace of mind” over his sister’s memory before leaving Northwest Indiana.

“I don’t know what the guy wants,” Winters said. “I might have to borrow money just to get a plane ticket home.”


Tuesday’s developments come one day after Perko said he would not donate the items back to the Winters family or the shelter.

“This is how I make my living,” said Mark Perko, of Hobart. “This is how I feed my kids.”

Winters’ family put the items into storage for safe keeping after someone broke into her father’s home during her funeral, her brother said. Later, he said, their father became sick, likely causing him to miss the payments.

Perko on Monday said he buys many items at storage unit auctions every year, but knew immediately what he was buying when he opened the Winters family’s unit.

“The picture was right there,” he said, pointing to a framed photo of Sgt. Winters with her uniform.

Also in the unit were a report about the crash that took her life, a vial of sand from Afghanistan, letters from President George W. Bush and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, an Indiana General Assembly proclamation and a Gary City Council resolution. It also included her birth certificate, personal photographs and a white Calumet High School graduation gown.

Perko said he doesn’t remember how much he paid for the items, nor would he say how much he wants for them. He said he’s kept the collection in the back of store for years, but publicity might prompt him to move it.

Soon after he bought the items, Perko said he reached out to Winters’ family through a friend with connections to the Marines. He said he never heard back, and declined to say if he would have donated them to the family then.

“If they left it in a storage unit, obviously it didn’t mean a whole hell of a lot to them,” he said.

Perko said he isn’t seeking bids on the property, but he reached out to participants of last week’s dedication of the homeless shelter.

Farmer on Monday said Perko rejected his offer of money and Bears tickets.

“He would not take it,” Farmer said Monday. “That’s where we stand.”

Farmer said the items are only valuable to the Winters family and his not-for-profit agency.

“And, of course, the public to see,” he said.




#74 MWalsh

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:18 AM

Today's story follow up:

Businessman to turn over slain Marine's belongings

NORTHWEST INDIANA | 'I want them to go to the right place'

December 1, 2010

BY JON SEIDEL Post-Tribune
A Northwest Indiana businessman said he plans to return the personal items of a fallen soldier to her family.

Hobart resident Mark Perko said he wants to return the items today to the family of the late Marine Sgt. Jeannette Winter -- the first U.S. servicewoman killed in Afghanistan.

"I just want them to go to the right place," Perko said. "I will take a loss on the items."

Perko, who says he has been pressured over the belongings, had planned to cash in on the items. Perko purchased the former property of Winters from a delinquent storage unit at least four years ago. As part of an attempt to resolve the matter, Perko attempted to call her brother Matthew Winters Jr. but he was visiting the woman's grave at Calumet Park Cemetery in Merrillville.

"I don't know what the guy wants," Winters said earlier in the day.

Because of pressure over Perko's original plan to profit off of the soldier's collections, the businessman also had said he didn't feel safe returning to his furniture outlet store in Lake Station after the story broke.

At stake was a collection of Sgt. Winters' former property, including her funeral flag, dog tags, military records and medals, personal photographs and letters from dignitaries. The Winters family said they put it in a storage unit for safekeeping after someone broke into a family home during her funeral in 2002.

But her father became ill years later and missed payments. Its contents were purchased by Perko, who said he makes several purchases from storage units each year.

Sgt. Winters, of Gary, was killed in the war in Afghanistan when a tanker plane hit a mountain in Pakistan in January 2002.

A Chicago radio station even offered on the air on Tuesday to reimburse Perko for the contents of the storage unit if he could say how much he paid. He said it cost between $1,000 and $5,000.

"You can't put me on the spot like this," Perko had said. "I have no idea."


#75 kjones5452

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 10:32 AM

I'm just curious as to why this wasn't settled some time back when this man Perko said he first approached the
family. I'm not reading anything that states they've been in negotiations for this amount of time.


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