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Former head of History Nebraska facing felony charge has been located, will appear in court in August

By: - July 12, 2023 6:15 pm
History Nebraska

The headquarters of History Nebraska (formerly called the Nebraska State Historical Society) is just north of downtown Lincoln. The agency changed its name to History Nebraska in 2018. (Paul Hammel/Nebraska Examiner)

LINCOLN — The former head of History Nebraska, charged last month with felony theft by deception, has been located and will appear in court in August.

On June 16, the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office filed a criminal charge against Trevor Jones, the former History Nebraska director. It  alleged that Jones unlawfully diverted $270,000, intended to cover financial losses caused by COVID-19, to a newly created foundation that was under Jones’ control.

Trevor Jones
Trevor Jones served as director and CEO of History Nebraska from 2016 to 2022.
(Courtesy of History Nebraska)

Jones — who resigned from the state job in May 2022 and said he was moving to France — could not be immediately served with the criminal citation, prompting the issuance of an arrest warrant on June 20.

Eight days later, Lincoln attorney John Ball filed his appearance as Jones’ attorney.

A bond of $5,000 was posted, and a first appearance in Lancaster County Court was scheduled for Aug. 24 by Judge Thomas Zimmerman.

The charge faced by Jones, theft by deception of over $5,000, is a Class IIA felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Ball, his attorney, was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

An arrest affidavit filed by a Nebraska State Patrol investigator said that Jones, in June 2020, had asked the Nebraska State Historical Society Foundation to transfer $269,926 from its discretionary account to the state agency, because of the anticipated loss of revenue from the shutdown of historical sites related to COVID-19.

But instead of depositing the money into the state treasury, as required, and using it for COVID-19 needs, Jones signed the check and deposited it into a new foundation — the History Nebraska Foundation — that he had helped create to give him more control over foundation activities.

A second check of $325 was also issued to Jones with the stamp “pay to the order of the State Treasurer.” But the stamp was crossed out, and then signed by Jones and deposited into the History Nebraska Foundation.

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Paul Hammel
Paul Hammel

Senior Reporter Paul Hammel has covered the Nebraska state government and the state for decades. Previously with the Omaha World-Herald, Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha Sun, he is a member of the Omaha Press Club's Hall of Fame. He grows hops, brews homemade beer, plays bass guitar and basically loves traveling and writing about the state. A native of Ralston, Nebraska, he is vice president of the John G. Neihardt Foundation.

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