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New Czech Honorary Consulate opened in Montana

(This article expired 11.08.2014.)

On August 10th, the Czech Republic opened its seventeenth Honorary Consulate in the United States. Consular jurisdiction of the new Honorary Consulate in Livingston covers the entire State of Montana. The consular post is headed by Lee Allen Freeman who has served as law clerk to Justice Tom Clark of the U.S. Supreme Court, Assistant U.S. Attorney, Special Assistant Attorney General for numerous states in antitrust cases, and chairman of a prominent Chicago law firm. Mr. Freeman is a long-time friend of the Czech Republic.

Ambassador of the Czech Republic Petr Gandalovic, US Senator for Montana Max Baucus, and Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock were all present at the ceremony in Livingston. Ambassador Gandalovic officially presented the consular commission to Mr. Freeman.

By opening its first ever official representation in Montana, the Czech Republic recognizes the potential Montana offers for future development of mutual relations. The Honorary Consulate in Livingston will improve the accessibility of consular services to Czech nationals in Montana and at the same time, present the Czech Republic and bring it closer to local communities and general public. The main tasks of the Honorary Consulate in Livingston are to generate support for economic and commercial relations, increase cultural exchange, promote tourism, play a unifying and supportive role in compatriot relations, and provide services in consular matters.

After opening the Honorary Consulate, Ambassador Gandalovic and Honorary Consul Freeman traveled to Helena, MT, where they met with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and Lieutenant Governor John Bohlinger to discuss the relations between the Czech Republic and the State of Montana.

The new Honorary Consulate is located at 420 South 2nd Street, Livingston, Montana, 59047.

Opening hours: Wednesday 9:00AM -12:00 PM
Tel.: 406 222 2023
Email: livingston@honorary.mzv.cz(functional September 2011)

Local media coverage:

The Livingston Enterprise, August 10

Area man now consul to the Czech Republic

By Wes Venteicher, Enterprise Staff Writer

A Czech ambassador bestowed an uncommon honor — and a collection of official duties — on a West Boulder man late Wednesday morning in Livingston.

Lee Freeman, in a ceremony attended by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock and a small group of local officials and residents, became Montana’s first honorary consul to the Czech Republic shortly before noon.

Czech Ambassador to the U.S. Peter Gandalovic said his country has been “lighting its beacons” throughout America in recent years, and called Freeman the perfect choice to represent the Czech Republic in Montana.

A lover of the country and a longtime supporter of Czech artists, Freeman is “missing little to be a genuine Czech,” Gandalovic said.

Freeman is the seventeenth American to be appointed an honorary consul to the Czech Republic. Most of the others are based in major U.S. cities.

His official duties, for which he will receive no compensation, include aiding Czech tourists, notarizing documents for travelers and promoting tourism between the U.S. and the Czech Republic. A new consulate will be located in a commercial office building at 520 S. Second St., where Freeman will work a few hours every Wednesday morning.

Freeman, a retired attorney, began supporting Czech artists in the 1960s, when he met abstract painter Jiri Mrazek in Prague. The country, which at the time was Czechoslovakia, was under oppressive communist rule, he has said.

During his first visit to Prague in 1964, Freeman struck up a friendship with Mrazek. That relationship led him, along with his wife, Glynna, to visit the country often to see Mrazek and collect Czech art to bring back to the U.S.

Freeman transported works of art out of the country, where display was generally prohibited, and sold the pieces in the U.S. He sent almost all of the money from sales back to the artists and supplied them with paints and other materials they could not obtain in their own country.

Baucus remarked that Freeman was indeed the perfect choice for the post, as the new consul has never missed a chance to praise the Czech Republic to the senator in the years they have known one another.

At Wednesday’s ceremony, Freeman said he was happy to accept the position. He called Prague the “most beautiful, unspoiled city in the world.”