He talked, money walked
Former friends recount Knox Bridges' smooth ways and grand tales - then a string of
By Ames Alexander
Posted: Monday, Oct. 12, 2009
As former friends and associates remember it, John Knox Bridges entered their lives with a remarkable
A lover of art and aviation, the Charlotte native told of coming from a family worth billions. He said he owned
a corporate jet, hobnobbed with world leaders, and served on the boards of prestigious groups including
New York's Guggenheim Museum and the World Health Organization.
He befriended Ben Long, a renowned N.C. fresco artist, and later volunteered to manage his business
Then the trouble began.
Through a series of false claims, Bridges made off with more than $800,000 of Long's money, the artist and
his son alleged in a 2008 lawsuit.
In July, the board of the Minnesota-based Lindbergh Foundation removed him as president after concluding
he had misused $600,000, documents and interviews show. Bridges has since repaid the money.
But the first time Bridges tried to return that money, he got it from another nonprofit he helped direct - the
foundation that supports the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer. The Rowan County museum has
gotten its money back, and Bridges has resigned from the foundation's board.
Bridges, 48 and living in Salisbury, has not responded to multiple calls, letters and visits requesting an
interview. The law firm representing Bridges has instructed him not to comment, according to Craig Miller, a
lawyer in the firm.
"But we believe some of your facts are just dead wrong and you really ought to look into the credibility of
some of your sources," Miller said. He declined to elaborate.
In court papers, Bridges has denied that he misappropriated Ben Long's money. The son of a prominent
Mecklenburg County minister, Bridges contended the artist was the one who owed him money.
"The complaint is filled with allegations and characterizations that