George Jones Investor & Museum Manager Pleads Guilty to Fraud

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The manager of the George Jones Museum in Nashville, and a major investor and partner of George Jones’ widow Nancy Jones, is headed to prison for two years and owes nearly $1 million in restitution after pleading guilty to two counts of bank fraud.

The fraud occurred in 2008 and 2010 via Reliant Bank in Nashville when Kirk West, also known as Kirk Leipzig, lied about his income, and forged documents and pay stubs to dramatically inflate his net worth on tax documents. The purpose of the fraud was to secure loans on properties in the Brentwood and Belle Meade areas of Nashville.

Federal charges were filed in July 2016 against West with Judge Aleta Trauger, and he plead guilty to the charges on September 19th. Along with the two years in prison, West agrees to pay $935,045.04 in restitution to Reliant Bank by December 20th, according to The Nashville Scene.

Kirk West was an important figure in getting the 50,000 sq. ft. George Jones Museum in the Lower Broadway portion of Nashville opened so quickly after the location was purchased and plans for the museum and event space were proposed.

“For Nancy to open the newly renovated George Jones Museum, Tennessee laws had to be rewritten,” says the law firm of Bone, McAllester, and Norton, who helped usher legislation through the state government to allow all facets of the multi-use space to be allowed, including a rooftop bar and package liquor operation for the George Jones-branded “White Lightning” alcohol sold on the premises.