Landlords want office-crashing meteorite

Jan. 29, 2010 at 3:06 PM

LORTON, Va., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A meteorite that dropped into a Virginia doctors' office is now at the center of an ownership battle between the doctors and their landlords.

Dr. Marc Gallini and Dr. Frank Ciampi said they were in the process of donating the small meteorite that crashed into their Lorton office Jan. 18 to the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History when their landlords, brothers Deniz and Erol Mutlu, claimed ownership of the rock, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The doctors said the meteorite was in the Smithsonian's custody and the museum was planning to pay them $5,000, which they said they were planning to donate to Haiti relief efforts, when the landlords sent a letter to the museum Thursday saying they were planning to take the rock before the end of the day.

However, the doctors worked to have their lawyer block the Smithsonian from giving up the meteorite and Deniz Mutlu confirmed later Thursday that "it's staying in the Smithsonian for now, and that's all I can say."

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