Media Release


March 28, 2008


Contact:          Erika Scheeringa, PR Manager

                        Lake County CVB, 219.554.2720



Dillinger Museum Reopens Today

Museum illustrates crime does not pay


HAMMOND – Located inside the Indiana Welcome Center at I-80/94 & Kennedy Avenue, the John Dillinger Museum is reopening its doors on Friday, March 28th.  The John Dillinger Museum was voluntarily closed by the Lake County Convention and Visitors Bureau nearly 2 years ago.

            LCCVB’s President/CEO Speros Batistatos and Dillinger’s great-nephew, Jeffery Scalf, were pleased that a mutual and beneficial business relationship could be forged and felt that an accurate portrayal of the Dillinger story at the museum was timely, in light of the recent interest in the Depression era gangster, which was fueled by the filming Public Enemies in Crown Point, Indiana.

Both parties stated they were pleased that an amicable conclusion to a pending lawsuit was reached through the mediation process.  Speros A. Batistatos and Bureau Attorneys Daniel Kuzman of Kuzman & Associates and Robert Goldstein and Timothy Jordan of Garan, Lucow, Miller were pleased the 7 year suit was settled.

Scalf further stated, “I was eager to move ahead in the operation of my business Dillinger, LLC that has numerous licensing agreements including the Franklin Mint.  I am pleased to put this matter behind me.”  Mr. Scalf stated that one of his goals is to make individuals aware that his great uncle John Dillinger was not a killer.  “It’s true that John Dillinger was accused of being involved in the killing of Officer O’Malley, however he was never found guilty of the charges,” said Scalf.  Attorneys Jonathan G. Polak and Amy Wright with Sommer Barnard, P.C., an Indianapolis based law firm recognized as a preeminent law firm in the area of intellectual property rights protection, were also pleased their client and the LCCVB were finally able to reach a satisfactory business relationship. Further details on the settlement have not been released and will not be disclosed.

            The interactive museum illustrates the life and times of John Dillinger and other gangsters during the 1930’s depression era and shows advancements made in crime fighting technology during the first 30 years of the 20th century. The museum was renovated and developed into an educational and historic experience and uses John Dillinger and other era criminals as examples of what happens to people who engage in criminal activity.

            When the museum opened in 1999, the CVB was sensitive to community members and law enforcement officials who were concerned that such an attraction would glorify crime. The CVB responded to concerns and involved local law enforcement officials that included Lake County’s Sheriff, local police chiefs, representatives from the Indiana State Police and the president of Indiana’s Fraternal Order of Police.

            The museum artifacts were purchased from Joe Pinkston’s estate in 1997. Joe Pinkston, a nationally recognized Dillinger Historian, owned and operated The John Dillinger Museum in Nashville, Indiana for nearly 20 years. After purchase, the Bureau hired Icon Exhibits of Ft. Wayne, Indiana to renovate and restore the artifacts and develop the museum into an interactive learning experience.

            The John Dillinger Museum is open from 10am to 4pm daily. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, and $2 for children ages 6-12.  Admission is free for children 5 and under.