The Baltimore Sun

WAYNE PRATT, 64 'Antiques Roadshow' appraiser

Wayne Pratt, who appraised antiques on Antiques Roadshow and who figured in the corruption scandal that toppled former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland, died Thursday at home in Woodbury, Conn., of complications after heart surgery, said Marybeth Keene, vice president of Wayne Pratt Inc.

Mr. Pratt's business in Massachusetts specializes in Windsor chairs, primitive portraits, painted country furniture, mechanical banks and folk art. He made enough money selling antiques as a teenager to finance his first year in college, Ms. Keene said.

He pleaded guilty in March 2004 to a federal tax charge related to his purchase of Mr. Rowland's Washington condominium at more than the market rate. Mr. Pratt told prosecutors that a friend, state contractor Robert Matthews, used him as a front man for the purchase.

Mr. Pratt, on public television's Antiques Roadshow for six seasons, also figured in a lawsuit over an original version of the Bill of Rights. The document was a draft that President George Washington dispatched in 1789 to encourage North Carolina to ratify the U.S. Constitution. It had been missing since the end of the Civil War and resurfaced in 2000 when Mr. Matthews brokered a sale in which Mr. Pratt bought it from two women for $200,000.

After a legal battle with the FBI, which seized the document in 2003, Mr. Pratt relinquished his claim and donated it to North Carolina. In return, federal authorities agreed to not prosecute Mr. Pratt and dropped a federal lawsuit.

JACK FEAREY, 84 Helped start Seattle civic festivals

Jack Fearey, an award-winning television pioneer who helped establish two major Seattle civic festivals, died Saturday after a long illness, said Aaron Blank, an account supervisor at the Fearey Group, a public relations company founded by Mr. Fearey's wife. Born in Portland, Ore., he was director of the Seattle Center when he helped shepherd the start of Bumbershoot, the city's principal arts festival, and the Northwest Folklife Festival.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad