A year ago today the founder of the City Museum, Bob Cassilly, died in a freak bulldozer accident at his newest project, Cementland.
For Cassilly's widow, Giovanna, today will be a day for remembering her lost husband. She'll recall his magnetic smile, his passion for this work and his love for their two children -- Dylan, 12, and Robert, 7. And if she's lucky, she'll forget -- for just a few hours -- the ugly legal dispute that has engulfed her ever since her husband's passing.
Per eviction proceedings initiated in St. Louis Circuit Court by her husband's former business partner, Dave Jump, Giovanna has until November 1 to vacate The Baleout, a vintage clothing shop she's operated out of the City Museum's fourth floor since 2007.
Giovanna's ouster from the City Museum is only the latest skirmish in a two-front legal battle over Bob Cassilly's estate that has pitted Giovanna against Jump and the adult children from her husband's first marriage, Daisy and Max Cassilly.
It's Jump's legal maneuverings, however, that Giovanna says are proving to be the most damaging as she tries to settle her husband's estate and provide for her two young children. Bob Cassilly left no will, leaving the future ownership of the City Museum in doubt. Bob and Jump each owned a 50 percent stake in the venture, but Giovanna says she hasn't seen a penny of the profits of City Museum this year, leaving her without the means to maintain her husband's work at Cementland.
"Dave Jump is trying to strangle me financially," says Giovanna from Europe, where she's been exhibiting her artwork for the past four months. "He's been using stall tactics all year causing damage to the rest of the estate -- things that he has no stake in."
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