U.S. sues to stop sale of JFK's Cuban missile crisis map
From Herald staff and wire reports
NEW YORK - The federal government sued Monday to stop a website
operator from selling a Cuban missile crisis map
used by President John F. Kennedy and civil rights documents that may have been improperly removed by Kennedy's
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Ward temporarily blocked the sale until a hearing scheduled for next week.
Gary Zimet, operator of the site, has advertised being the exclusive
seller of a map and its original envelope identified
as: ``Cuban Missile Crisis Map With JFK's Handwritten Annotations Indicating Locations of Russian Missile Sites October
''What happened is that the government wants to steal this map
from me,'' said an agitated Zimet, who spoke to The
Herald on Monday night by telephone from New York.
He said he had been besieged by calls from national news organizations on Monday after the lawsuit was filed.
Publicity about the map, first detailed in The Herald in February, also had Zimet's phone ringing a couple of months ago.
In its arguments, the government said Evelyn Lincoln -- the personal
secretary who worked for the White House on
Kennedy's papers until July 1964 -- also compiled annotated and handwritten notes for the President Kennedy Library
Corp. until at least 1972.
The map and civil rights documents were donated to the United
States in February 1965 for deposit in the John F.
Kennedy Presidential Library, the government said.
''It appears that Evelyn Lincoln improperly removed the map from
the custody and control of the United States'' and
later gave, sold or bequeathed it to Robert L. White, a private collector of Kennedy memorabilia, the lawsuit states. It
did not suggest that Lincoln, who died in 1995, had done anything criminally wrong.
''Whatever path the map may have traveled, it nevertheless falls
squarely within the deed of gift and rightfully belongs
to the United States,'' the government wrote.