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Fri May 11, 2018, 11:52 PM

Uncertainty envelops Evergreen air museum as landlord accused of securities fraud

The landlord and key financial backer of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum one of Oregon's biggest tourist attractions -- was accused of securities fraud this week by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Federal regulators claim Utah-based entrepreneur Steve Down and his company, The Falls Event Center LLC, repeatedly misled investors and misrepresented the financial condition of the company. The Falls Event Center runs several large event venues and acquired the museum property in McMinnville in a bankruptcy sale.

Down, who has raised about $120 million from 300 investors since 2011, "vehemently denies" committing securities fraud, said John Neubauer, the corporate general manager of Down's organization.

The lawsuit filed Thursday raises enormous questions for the museum, home of the famed Spruce Goose. When Down's company bought the museum property in 2016, it agreed to pay the museum $70,000 a month. It's unclear now whether the company will be able to continue those payments.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2018/05/new_uncertainty_for_evergreen.html

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