Millionaire’s lawsuit over guns reopened

A federal judge in Kentucky has reopened a millionaire’s lawsuit against an Alabama man he claims cheated him by marking up prices on world-class antique firearms. Owsley Brown Frazier’s 2004 lawsuit was postponed until a criminal trial for Michael K. Salisbury of Owens Crossroads, Alabama concluded.

Frazier made Salisbury president of a firearms history museum in downtown Louisville. Frazier later accused Salisbury of inflating prices on the guns and pocketing the difference, which federal prosecutors say totaled more than $1.5 million.

Liquor icon Owsley Brown Frazier befriended collector Michael K. Salisbury in the late 1990s and asked him to find antique firearms for a museum Frazier planned to open. However, prosecutors claim Frazier was overcharged by as much as $1.5 million for the collection, including a $65,000 markup on two of Gen. George Custer’s Colt six-shooters.

Frazier sued Salisbury in 2004, but that case was on hold while federal prosecutors pursued criminal charges. U.S. District Judge John Heyburn placed the lawsuit back on the court docket at the request of Salisbury’s attorney, Gregg Hovious, who said he wants it dismissed.

Salisbury was cleared of more serious fraud and money laundering charges. Salisbury’s wife, Karen Salisbury, and gun historian R.L. Wilson of San Francisco were cleared of felony charges at the July trial, but Michael Salisbury was convicted on two misdemeanor charges of failing to pay taxes and sentenced to two years in prison. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October granted Salisbury’s request that he be allowed to stay out of prison during his appeal of those convictions.

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