Missouri lawmakers question artifacts loan to Bass Pro CEO
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri lawmakers are questioning whether the decision by state Departments of Natural Resources and Conservation officials to loan public artifacts to a private museum owned by the founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops amounted to pay-to-play.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Johnny Morris owns Ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum in Branson. Morris requested to borrow some of the artifacts from a Missouri State Museum facility for his own museum and later made a $50,000 donation to the state parks foundation.
State parks director Bill Bryan told a House of Representatives panel Thursday that the loan was a private-public partnership. Bryan denies Morris' donation had anything to do with the loan.
Some panel members say they will look into how the foundation is spending the money Morris contributed.