[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
63°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 19
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]


Editor’s Note: The Hobby Lobby chain is in the process of displaying its artifacts in a new Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., slated to open in November. Some of the artifacts have been on a multi-state tour since 2011. The exhibit, called “Passages,” occupied the current Hobby Lobby space in Santa Clarita for 13 months from 2015-2016.

 

[U.S. Dept. of Justice] – The United States filed a civil complaint to forfeit thousands of cuneiform tablets and clay bullae. As alleged in the complaint, these ancient clay artifacts originated in the area of modern-day Iraq and were smuggled into the United States through the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, contrary to federal law. Packages containing the artifacts were shipped to Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (“Hobby Lobby”), a nationwide arts-and-crafts retailer based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and two of Hobby Lobby’s corporate affiliates. The shipping labels on these packages falsely described cuneiform tablets as tile “samples.”

The government also filed a stipulation of settlement with Hobby Lobby, in which Hobby Lobby consented to the forfeiture of the artifacts in the complaint, approximately 144 cylinder seals and an additional sum of $3 million, resolving the civil action. Hobby Lobby further agreed to adopt internal policies and procedures governing its importation and purchase of cultural property, provide appropriate training to its personnel, hire qualified outside customs counsel and customs brokers, and submit quarterly reports to the government on any cultural property acquisitions for the next eighteen months.

The complaint and stipulation of settlement were announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York.

“American collectors and importers must ensure compliance with laws and regulations that require truthful declarations to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, so that Customs officers are able to scrutinize cultural property crossing our borders and prevent the inappropriate entry of such property,” stated Acting United States Attorney Rohde. “If they do not, and shippers use false declarations to try to clandestinely enter property into the United States, this Office and our law enforcement partners will discover the deceit and seize the property.” Ms. Rohde thanked U.S. Customs and Border Protection for its role in intercepting shipments and safeguarding the seized antiquities.

“The protection of cultural heritage is a mission that HSI and its partner U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) take very seriously as we recognize that while some may put a price on these artifacts, the people of Iraq consider them priceless,” stated Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez.

According to the complaint and stipulated statement of facts filed with the court, in or around 2009, Hobby Lobby began to assemble a collection of historically significant manuscripts, antiquities and other cultural materials. In connection with this effort, Hobby Lobby’s president and a consultant traveled to the UAE in July 2010 to inspect a large number of cuneiform tablets and other antiquities being offered for sale (the “Artifacts”). Cuneiform is an ancient system of writing on clay tablets that was used in ancient Mesopotamia thousands of years ago.

In October 2010, an expert on cultural property law retained by Hobby Lobby warned the company that the acquisition of cultural property likely from Iraq, including cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals, carries a risk that such objects may have been looted from archaeological sites in Iraq. The expert also advised Hobby Lobby to review its collection of antiquities for any objects of Iraqi origin and to verify that their country of origin was properly declared at the time of importation into the United States. The expert warned Hobby Lobby that an improper declaration of country of origin for cultural property could lead to seizure and forfeiture of the artifacts by CBP.

Notwithstanding these warnings, in December 2010, Hobby Lobby executed an agreement to purchase over 5,500 Artifacts, comprised of cuneiform tablets and bricks, clay bullae and cylinder seals, for $1.6 million. The acquisition of the Artifacts was fraught with red flags. For example, Hobby Lobby received conflicting information where the Artifacts had been stored prior to the inspection in the UAE. Further, when the Artifacts were presented for inspection to Hobby Lobby’s president and consultant in July 2010, they were displayed informally. In addition, Hobby Lobby representatives had not met or communicated with the dealer who purportedly owned the Artifacts, nor did they pay him for the Artifacts. Rather, following instructions from another dealer, Hobby Lobby wired payment for the Artifacts to seven personal bank accounts held in the names of other individuals.

With Hobby Lobby’s consent, a UAE-based dealer shipped packages containing the Artifacts to three different corporate addresses in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Between one and three shipments arrived at a time, without the required customs entry documentation being filed with CBP, and bore shipping labels that falsely and misleadingly described their contents as “ceramic tiles” or “clay tiles (sample).” . After approximately 10 packages shipped in this manner were received by Hobby Lobby and its affiliates, CBP intercepted five shipments. All of the intercepted packages bore shipping labels that falsely declared that the Artifacts’ country of origin was Turkey. No further shipments were received until September 2011, when a package containing approximately 1,000 clay bullae from the same purchase was received by Hobby Lobby. It was shipped by an Israeli dealer and accompanied by a false declaration stating that the bullae’s country of origin was Israel.

In executing the stipulation of settlement, Hobby Lobby has accepted responsibility for its past conduct and agreed to take steps to remedy the deficiencies that resulted in its unlawful importation of the Artifacts. Hobby Lobby has agreed to the forfeiture of all of the Artifacts shipped to the United States.

The government’s case is being handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Karin Orenstein and Ameet B. Kabrawala.

 

 


 

HOBBY LOBBY STATEMENT

 

Hobby Lobby and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York today announced that they have entered into a settlement agreement concluding an investigation into the importation of certain artifacts.

“We should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled,” said Hobby Lobby President, Steve Green. “Hobby Lobby has cooperated with the government throughout its investigation, and with the announcement of today’s settlement agreement, is pleased the matter has been resolved.”

In 2009, Hobby Lobby began acquiring a variety of historical Bibles and other artifacts.  Developing a collection of historically and religiously important books and artifacts about the Bible is consistent with the Company’s mission and passion for the Bible.  The goals were to preserve these items for future generations, to provide broad access to scholars and students alike to study them, and to share the collection with the world in public institutions and museums.

The Company was new to the world of acquiring these items, and did not fully appreciate the complexities of the acquisitions process.  This resulted in some regrettable mistakes.  The Company imprudently relied on dealers and shippers who, in hindsight, did not understand the correct way to document and ship these items. However, since learning of these errors, the Company has been an active participant with the government’s investigation and supports its efforts to protect the world’s ancient heritage.  At no time did Hobby Lobby ever purchase items from dealers in Iraq or from anyone who indicated that they acquired items from that country.  Hobby Lobby condemns such conduct and has always acted with the intent to protect ancient items of cultural and historical importance.  Hobby Lobby has implemented acquisition policies and procedures based on the industry’s highest standards established by the Association of Art Museum Directors (“AAMD”).  The AAMD policies have been vetted by global museum directors and lawmakers alike, and represent the gold standard for protecting ancient heritage artifacts.

“We have accepted responsibility and learned a great deal,” said Green. “Our entire team is committed to the highest standards for investigating and acquiring these items. Our passion for the Bible continues, and we will do all that we can to support the efforts to conserve items that will help illuminate and enhance our understanding of this Great Book.”

 


 

E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-CV-3980 (LDH) (VMS)

Exhibit A
Sample Images of the Defendants in Rem

 

 

Cuneiform Tablet

 

 

 

Cuneiform Tablet

Clay Bulla

Clay Bulla

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

9 Comments

  1. Sally Mehr Sally Mehr says:

    Birth control is not okay but theft is…hmmmmm

  2. Abigail says:

    Extremism giving another religion a bad rep. Will never set foot in one of their stores. Should go to jail.

  3. Val says:

    I’m not religious, but did go to the Passages museum when it was in SCV, and it was very interesting. Lots of history, things like the printing press. Quite an investment. Had films, animatronics, lots to see and people there to talk about each display area. Didn’t know what to expect, but we spent 4 hours and were impressed.

  4. J. Marten says:

    With all the items Isis smashed in Iraq over the last few years I am glad these items have been spared.

    I take Hobby Lobby at their word.
    These items were certainly not hidden as they have been on display over the entire country(even in D.C.) They may have had conflicting opinions on how to correctly collect and gone with the wrong opinion.

    Birth control is ok, just not the kind that kills the baby after the egg and sperm have merged. You can say killing a baby is ok over and over and it will NEVER make it right.

    • Joseph Schwartz says:

      When these items were shipped their actual identity was concealed (“samples” instead of what they actually were) and their source too was concealed, Hobby Lobby was complicit in commit a crime. Your specious defense argues that the ends do not justify the means in one case – abortion – and so in the another – theft – is hypocritical, more so in the case of a business that professes higher moral and religious standards, and it also means they don’t get to choose which commandment they will honor and which they won’t depending on the circumstances, this is the kind or moral relativism conservative religion argues against and Hobby Lobby got caught in.

Leave a Comment


LOCAL BUSINESS LINKS
LOCAL BUSINESS HEADLINES
FINANCIALS OF LOCAL INTEREST
MARKETS & METALS
STOCKS OF LOCAL INTEREST
Bank Santa Clarita17.50  chart +0.00%
Biosolar, Inc.0.04  chart +0.00%
Sierra Bancorp27.60  chart +0.95%
Cu Bancorp (ca)36.70  chart -0.14%
Flex Ltd. - Ordinary Shares17.66  chart +0.34%
Mission Vly Bcp Ca14.13  chart -0.14%
Quest Diagnostics Incorporated92.05  chart -0.14%
Tejon Ranch Co19.24  chart +0.79%
Us Energy Initiative0.0007  chart -12.50%
Wesco Aircraft Holdings, Inc.9.50  chart +1.06%

Apple Inc.159.76  chart -0.44%
At&t Inc.35.71  chart -1.44%
Autonation, Inc.44.63  chart -0.47%
Best Buy Co., Inc.55.46  chart +1.48%
Big Lots, Inc.51.59  chart +0.17%
Barnes & Noble, Inc.7.30  chart -0.68%
Brady Corporation38.40  chart +0.39%
Boston Scientific Corporation29.52  chart +0.41%
Brookfield Asset Management Inc42.97  chart +0.35%
Cbre Group Inc Class A39.96  chart +0.76%
Carnival Corporation67.46  chart -0.98%
Comcast Corporation36.20  chart -0.74%
Costco Wholesale Corporation157.55  chart -0.52%
Curtiss-wright Corporation113.58  chart +0.04%
Cvs Health Corporation74.10  chart +2.02%
Cemex, S.a.b. De C.v. Sponsored8.03  chart -0.74%
D.r. Horton, Inc.41.51  chart +0.05%
Walt Disney Company (the)98.25  chart -0.11%
Edison International77.85  chart +0.32%
Hyatt Hotels Corporation Class 61.91  chart +0.34%
Home Depot, Inc. (the)163.45  chart +0.06%
Kb Home27.03  chart -0.52%
Kroger Company (the)20.67  chart +0.93%
Lennar Corporation Class A56.27  chart +0.61%
Laboratory Corporation Of Ameri147.99  chart -1.16%
Lowe's Companies, Inc.80.75  chart -0.44%
Mannkind Corporation4.13  chart -13.05%
Marriott International115.77  chart +0.63%
Mcdonald's Corporation165.77  chart +0.22%
Mitsubishi Ufj Financial Group,6.48  chart -0.46%
Netflix, Inc.195.54  chart -1.98%
Office Depot, Inc.3.70  chart -1.60%
Rite Aid Corporation1.85  chart +2.21%
Rexford Industrial Realty, Inc.30.16  chart -0.33%
Regal Entertainment Group Class16.09  chart +0.37%
Ross Stores, Inc.63.32  chart +0.13%
Republic Services, Inc.63.03  chart +0.06%
Starbucks Corporation55.21  chart +1.28%
Smart & Final Stores, Inc.6.85  chart +1.48%
Sears Holdings Corporation6.05  chart +4.49%
Six Flags Entertainment Corpora60.36  chart +0.77%
Sonova N174.20  chart -0.80%
Staples, Inc.10.25  chart +0.10%
Sunpower Corporation6.65  chart -1.77%
Target Corporation60.03  chart -0.23%
Time Warner Cable Inc209.56  chart -0.21%
Ulta Beauty, Inc.198.37  chart -1.93%
Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.67.74  chart +0.50%
Waste Connections, Inc.70.51  chart +0.47%
Whole Foods Market, Inc.41.99  chart -100.00%
Waste Management, Inc.76.94  chart +0.13%
Wal-mart Stores, Inc.86.22  chart +0.28%
Woodward, Inc.80.23  chart +1.13%
CURRENCY CONVERTER

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]
The fall 2017 Star Party at College of the Canyons' Canyon Country campus on Friday, Oct. 27 will focus on the pathways to space exploration that exist for star-gazers who are captivated by the many mysteries of the universe.
Oct. 27: Star Party at COC Canyon Country Campus
Determined to transform the deeply troubled Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to consider an independent entity that would provide guidance, oversight and accountability.
Supes Consider Entity for Probation Reform Guidance, Oversight, Accountability
Alexia Cina of Canyon Country was arrested Wednesday in connection with the death of a mother of six children in a head-on crash on Golden Valley Road on October 6.
Woman Charged with Manslaughter, DUI in Death of Mother of 6
The 22nd annual Santa Clarita Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, November 5, 2017, following the Santa Clarita Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday.
Nov. 4-5: 22nd Annual Santa Clarita Marathon Events
The Los Angeles Dodgers jumped to a 3-0 lead in the best of seven series following Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field.
Dodgers Out to Sweep Cubs in NLCS Game 4
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's 2017 Medal of Valor Awards were held Tuesday in Los Angeles, and SCV Sheriff's Station Deputy Dmitry Barkon was recognized for his bravery and heroic actions.
SCV Sheriff’s Deputy Dmitry Barkon Earns Medal of Valor
Now is the time for all good college-bound high school seniors to join the 'Race to Submit' applications for FAFSA and CADAA grants to help cover college expenses.
High School Seniors: ‘Race to Submit’ is on for 2018 College Financial Aid
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies interrupted a smash-and-grab burglary on The Old Road early Friday morning, arresting one suspect and seeking two alleged accomplices still at large.
SCV Deputies Catch Window-Smash Burglars in the Act
Pukúu Cultural Community Services, founded in 1971 by members of the local Fernandeno-Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, will host its 13th Annual scholarship gala fundraiser, "Night with the Stars," in Sunland on Saturday, November 4 starting at 6 p.m.
Nov. 4: Local Tribe Honors 3, Celebrates Native American Heritage Month
California's Attorney General today filed a motion to compel the federal government to follow the law and pay the subsidies that millions of Americans rely on to lower the out-of-pocket costs in their insurance plans.
California AG Fights to Keep ACA Cost-Sharing Subsidies
Santa Clarita business owners are encouraged to take the city's broadband feasibility study online survey and participate in the next phase of the study -- in-person focus groups scheduled for October 30.
Oct. 30: Focus Groups in Next Phase of City Broadband Study
The $17 billion "California WaterFix" project reached a tipping point Tuesday after a Silicon Valley water district voted against Gov. Jerry Brown’s approach in favor of a less expensive, scaled-back version.
Silicon Valley Water Board Wants Delta Tunnels Downsized
Maryama, a band led by CalArts alumna Maryama Mirbagheri (Music MFA 17), was recently nominated for a 2017 Hollywood Music in Media Award in the World Music category.
Maryama Nominated for Hollywood Music in Media Award
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, in response to President Trump’s recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has declared Oct. 16-20 "DACA Advocacy Week."
California Community Colleges Ramp Up DACA Advocacy
COC and the Hart District will host the 2017 College & Career Fair in the college’s Honor Grove on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Oct. 21: 2017 College and Career Fair at COC
The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will showcase the work of Los Angeles-based painter Sheldon Figoten in a one-person exhibition of new paintings, “Light Fields,” opening Saturday, Oct. 28.
Oct. 28: Sheldon Figoten ‘Light Fields’ at COC Art Gallery
The Santa Clarita Artists Association held its 28th Annual Art Classic fine arts competition at William S. Hart Park's Hart Hall in Newhall on October 14.
Santa Clarita Artists Association Names Winners in 2017 Art Classic
Here is the Castaic-Val Verde Crime Information & Public Safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for September 25 through October 1.
Crime Blotter: Arson, Burglary, Theft in Castaic-Val Verde
California and New Mexico launched a fresh challenge Tuesday against the Trump administration’s repeal of higher royalty payments to states for oil, gas and coal leases on public lands.
California, New Mexico Challenge White House Favors to Oil, Gas, Coal
Here is the Stevenson Ranch (Zone 3) Crime Information & Public Safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for the week of October 2 to October 8.
Crime Blotter: Burglary, Petty Theft in Stevenson Ranch
Here is the Canyon Country East (Zone 8) Crime Information and Public Safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for September 24 through October 8, 2017.
Crime Blotter: Vehicle Theft, Burglary in Canyon Country East
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]
CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP), the professional producing arm of California Institute of the Arts, opens Fantômas: Revenge of the Image at Wuzhen Theatre Festival in Wuzhen, China, on Oct. 19.
Oct. 19: CalArts’ Fantomas: Revenge of the Image Premieres in China
The CSUN women's golf team fired rounds of 306-309 and is in fourth place, just eight shots off the pace at the Pat Lesser Harbottle Seattle University Invitational at the Tacoma Country and Golf Club in Tacoma, WA.
CSUN Just Eight Shots Off Pace At Washington Invitational
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Recreation, Community Services, Arts and Open Spaces Director Rick Gould announces retirement. Plus, the Board of Supervisors approve mental health care improvements. Check out these stories and more tonight on SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Tuesday, October 17, 2017
The Advanced Technology Presentation about "Careers in the Making...Design, Engineering, Fabrication and More..." in celebration of National Manufacturing Day was a huge success.
SCV Students Gain Knowledge, Advice at National Manufacturing Day
A local company is expanding its footprint in the Santa Clarita Valley to accommodate business growth and another is relocating a division of its company from Sylmar.
Accurate Freight Systems Expands, Leases Space at IAC Commerce Center
The Domestic Violence Center (DVC) of Santa Clarita Valley is accepting applications for Adopt-a-Family 2017.
DVC of SCV Currently Accepting Adopt-a-Family 2017 Applications
Major Impact Theater, founded by Jill Garson and Shawnda Davis in 2014, is a non-profit theater group that specially adapts plays for performance by adults with disabilities in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Nov. 4: Major Impact Theater Presents Blunderland
California State University, Northridge will make history on Thursday, Oct. 26, by becoming the first California State University with a Sustainability Center.
Oct. 26: CSUN to Open Sustainability Center
Registration for the Purple Walk of Strength is now open.
Oct. 21: Purple Walk of Strength to Benefit Domestic Violence Center
Raising a child is a demanding job for any parent, especially when supportive resources seem to be elusive or nonexistent.
Oct. 22: CSUN Hosts Special Needs Resource Fair
College of the Canyons dominated its match vs. Bakersfield College from start to finish on Friday night, resulting in a 5-1 victory over the Renegades for the Cougars' first conference win of the season.
COC Gets First Conference Win of Season Against Bakersfield College
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Following a two-week layoff, College of the Canyons cross country was back in competition on Saturday, running with a mix of community college and Division I programs at the Sixth Annual UC Riverside Highlander Invitational.
COC Cross Country Back in Competition After Two Week Layoff