Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Brandeis agrees to not sell some Rose art

Attorneys disagree on what happened at hearing yesterday

Brandeis University agreed at a court hearing yesterday to not sell any art donated to its Rose Art Museum by three Rose overseers who have sued the school during the length of the trial. Also during the hearing at Suffolk Probate and Family Court in Boston, Brandeis agreed to give the state Attorney General’s office, which oversees Massachusetts nonprofits and public charities, 30 days notice before it sells any art from the Rose, and the Attorney General will in turn notify the three Rose overseers.

However attorneys representing the two sides disagree on the details. Attorney Edward Dangel says Judge Jeremy Stahlin rejected Brandeis’s argument that his clients – plaintiffs Jonathan Lee of Brookline, Meryl Rose of Swampscott and Lois Foster of Boston – don’t have standing to bring their case. Brandeis’s attorney, former Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas Reilly, says the “judge took the matter under advisement.” Dangel replies, “That’s false.”

Dangel says the judge issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting Brandeis from selling art donated to the Rose by the plaintiffs and their ancestors before the conclusion of the court case. Reilly says there’s no injunction, but Brandeis “stipulated” – agreed – to that.

“Brandeis has no intention of selling any of the art donated by any of the plaintiffs and any of their ancestors,” Reilly says. “Brandeis never had any intention of selling that art.”

The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research called the Suffolk Probate and Family Court to confirm the facts, but a clerk there said records from yesterday’s hearing were not immediately available and to check back this afternoon. (Update: I checked back with the court that afternoon, and after being transferred to a few different people, was told that the records may not be available for a week or more.)

The three overseers are seeking to stop Brandeis’s threatened sale of works from the Rose’s collection and preserve the museum. In addition, they argue that if the Rose museum can’t be saved, the collection should be given to a new Rose Preservation Fund that they would start independent from Brandeis. The Waltham university is fighting these claims, and argues that the overseers’ proposals could threaten charities across the state.

Both sides do agree that the next hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 2, with trial dates presently set for June 29 and July 1, 2010.


Post a Comment

<< Home