The Fate Of Monroe’s Mandolin

Bill Monroe's MandolinThe fate of Bill Monroe’s mandolin hangs in the balance. The instrument is currently housed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN. The museum acquired the mandolin when Tennessee business man, Bob McLean, donated an undisclosed amount to the museum for that purpose.

The problem is that McLean has come under legal scrutiny in the last few months and is accused of defrauding investors of some $40 million. Investors filed the involuntary backruptcy suit in July. Due to appear in court on September 26th, McLean ended his own life on September 25, 2007.

Legal action following his death includes an auction of his personal property to recoup the money owed to investors. Under bankruptcy law McLean’s donations could be considered fraudulent and recovered to pay back creditors. Those donations include money used to purchase both Monroe’s mandolin and Mother Maybelle Carter’s guitar, as well as two of Johnny Cash’s guitars.

Robert Waldschmidt is the trustee tracing McLean’s finances for the investors who originally filed the suit. Waldschmidt has been in discussions with the museum concerning the gifts, but hasn’t commented further at this point. Other investors have through December to file their own claims.

It would be nice to hear Monroe’s mandolin used occasionally for a recording project or such, but let’s hope the instrument doesn’t end up on the auction block to pay for the shady dealings of an unscrupulous stock broker.