By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
Elvis tribute artist Kevin Curtis wonders who will repair the damage to his property and career after federal agents tore his world apart looking for evidence against him.
His attorney, Christi R. McCoy of Oxford, demands the U.S. Attorney’s Office pay for the “nightmare” Curtis’ life became when he was arrested April 17 on allegations he sent poison-laden letters to President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and Lee County Justice Court Judge Sadie Holland.
A week later, the government dismissed all charges against him and then arrested someone else.
“We are pleased that your office realized the unforgivable mistake that was made through the overreaching and conclusion jumping of a number of agencies,” McCoy said in an April 29 letter to U.S. Attorney Felicia Adams in Oxford.
Adams did not respond to a Daily Journal inquiry about her office’s financial responsibility in Curtis’ situation.
But McCoy demands a temporary housing allowance for Curtis until he can get his home properly cleaned and his possessions “returned to their pre-arrest state.”
She also demanded payment of his attorney fees.
“We are seeking restitution and are working with the FBI right now,” McCoy told the Daily Journal as she and others calculate the damages.
Curtis also seeks immediate removal of his name from the federal “no fly” list.
Still, questions linger about who is responsible for repairing damage such as occurred at Curtis’ home.
The FBI declined to answer that question.
Tupelo insurance executive Rob Rice said he’s never been asked about such a situation in his 32 years in the business.
“If someone came to me with that question, I’d say, ‘Let’s take a claim,’ and let the adjuster professionals research what’s possible,” Rice said.
The first question would be, what’s damaged? he assessed. Then the property insurance policy could be analyzed to determine if the damage is covered or excluded.
“There might be coverage … it’s just a gray area” without more research, Rice added.
Since he lives in public housing, Curtis would not have homeowner’s insurance.
McCoy insists Curtis’ home is “uninhabitable,” his dog was allowed to escape, his fish died, artwork removed from the walls and glass frames broken. Garbage and its accompanying insects were left in his house, too.
“Mr. Curtis is entitled to be returned to the state he was in prior to this nightmare,” she told Adams.
McCoy also assessed that her client’s “reputation is permanently damaged” and that “no amount of money” can undo the harm caused by the federal allegations.
National media attention on the case has been high. After his release last Thursday, Curtis said he’d like to get his music career back on track and spend more time with his children.
The next day, he, McCoy and co-counsel Hal Neilson of Oxford made the rounds of broadcast and cable TV news programs in New York City.
Neilson is due back in the Big Apple on Thursday to speak with ABC’s Katie Couric.