Bob Cassilly invited us inside City Museum yesterday. The founder, owner and self-described creative director of the unique attraction wanted to answer my questions about twenty-six personal injury lawsuits filed against the museum during the last six years.
Cassilly looked nervous, seemed defensive and was clearly frustrated that visitors would sue him for what he believed was the result of their own stupidity. He answered all of our questions, then we went upstairs. I asked him about the cost of liability insurance and how much City Museum paid to settle lawsuits filed against it.
"How much have you and City Museum paid out in settlements over the years?" "I don't keep track of that or else I would become bitter," he answered.
"I'm guessing that it's likely you've paid out at least $2 million," I told him. "Oh no," he said. "We haven't paid out nearly that much."
"Have you paid out more than $1 million?" "It's so vulgar to talk about money," he responded, getting more irritated with me.
Cassilly said he had been advised to not talk about it, but I pressed him again. "You have an idea how much?" "A rough idea," he told me.
At this point, it seemed logical to find out how much. So, I asked him again. He grabbed my microphone and called me "a bore." He put his hand in front of the lens. I told him we just wanted to ask a few more questions. He asked if we were still recording him. I said yes. He asked again. "Yes," I responded.
Seconds later, he grabbed the camera and tried to wrestle it away from photographer Gary Womack. Cassilly refused to let go of the camera for nearly thirty seconds. We pleaded with him to stop, but he refused. We finally convinced him to let it go when I said we would leave the building if he quit. Gary visited a doctor yesterday afternoon and was diagnosed with a severe neck strain.
As Cassilly escorted us out he insisted we were just "trying to make me look bad."
"We didn't have to try Bob," I told him as we walked out the door.