LEXINGTON, Mo.- A judge in Lafayette County is scheduled to hear a petition filed by alumni of recently-closed Wentworth Military Academy & College who are fighting to salvage a piece of their history — a 5 1/2-foot-tall statue of a World War I “doughboy”that’s stood for over 90 years.
Wentworth closed its doors permanently in May following graduation after struggling financially in recent years. According to a release, Bank Midwest holds liens and is attempting to liquidate its property.
The bank hired Oldham Auctions to sell off Wentworth’s property. The Doughboy is currently in the auction inventory to be sold to the highest bidder on Saturday, October 7, 2017. Wentworth Alumni Association says the Doughboy isn’t the property of Bank Midwest or Wentworth, it belongs to the Alumni Association. The release also indicates Wentworth Alumni paid for and dedicated the Doughboy in 1923.
The alumni association filed a petition and a request on August 25, 2017, for a temporary restraining order to remove the Doughboy from the auction. The case, which is titled, Wentworth Military Academy Alumni Association., Inc., vs. Wentworth Military Academy & College, et. al. Co-defendants are Bank Midwest, Oldham Auctions and the Wentworth Board of Trustees, is set to take place tomorrow, September 19, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.
The co-defendant Bank Midwest is a division of NBH Bank, a financial conglomerate that operates 86 banking centers across Missouri, Kansas, Colorado and Texas.
Wentworth Alumni Association has stated that the goal is to preserve the Doughboy for public display. Court documents suggest options including the lawn of the historic Lexington Courthouse or a potential Wentworth Museum. The alumni court filings include a letter from Lafayette County Clerk Linda Niendick stating the County Commission would consider it an honor and a privilege to display the Doughboy on the Courthouse lawn.
KMZU News reached out to Scott Hefner, President, Wentworth Alumni Association, for comment and he stated, “We want the bank to realize we’ve had our hearts ripped out from us, and we would like them to step up and share our heritage with us.” Bank Midwest has yet to reach to Hefner or the alumni association and has not made a public comment.