Missouri lawmakers question artifacts loan to Bass Pro CEO

2 years 2 months 23 hours ago Friday, November 18 2016 Nov 18, 2016 Friday, November 18, 2016 4:10:38 PM CST November 18, 2016 in News
By: The Associated Press

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.

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