"Relations in life, such as those of trustee and beneficiary impose a duty to act in accordance with the highest standards which a man of the most delicate conscience and the nicest sense of honor might impose upon himself. In such cases, to enforce adherence to those standards becomes the duty of the judge." Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process
"A long time ago I learned from Richard Nixon, you don't keep
anything too long and I don't want to overload my computer, so I purged
this stuff out." Barnes Foundation President Richard Glanton
The Chairman's Chump Change, Part Two
Expense account details have now come to light in discovery in the Foundation's Federal Civil Rights suit against Lower Merion Township. (Philadelphia readers take note, your largest newspaper of record, the Inquirer, completely ignored this story.) Attorneys for the township paint a picture of the Foundation's finances as "Mr. Glanton's Personal Plaything."
[T]he record shows abundantly the Barnes's finances are Mr. Glanton's private province. He alone has a Barnes credit card. He also has a Barnes cellular phone. Between these two instrumentalities, he costs the Barnes literally tens of thousands of dollars annually. Yet the record shows without contradiction that the Barnes should not have paid for the bulk of these expenses because they had no legitimate business purpose. For instance, since 1993, Mr. Glanton has made it a practice of eating several meals a week at Philadelphia's finest restaurants -- The Palm; Susanna Foo; The Ritz Carlton; The Four Seasons -- at the Barnes's expense. During his deposition, he was unable to articulate a specific business purpose for the great majority of these meals. Mr. Glanton admitted that when he travels on Barnes's business, he invariably stays in what he euphemistically denotes as "good hotels" and eats at "good restaurants." Indeed, the record confirms that Mr. Glanton invariably stays at Four Seasons Hotels or their equivalent. Moreover, he has taken his wife and children with him on several of these trips, thus requiring the Barnes to pay for their food and lodging as well as his own. [Memorandum in Support of Defendant Lower Merion Township's Motion for Summary Judgment]
According to the Township's memorandum, the Foundation has paid the Dilworth, Paxon, Kalish and Kauffman law firm $1,593,414 in legal fees. As if this were not enough, the record shows that Glanton also picked up the tab (at the Foundation's expense) for meals with Dilworth lawyers, at such pricey spots as Susanna Foo and The Four Seasons. In his own words "Lawyers love you to feed them when they're working for you and you're paying them." [Deposition 4/3/97] Not only that, but they return the favors. Bruce Kauffman, who dined with Glanton at the Foundation's expense argued in court that the trustees "served without compensation whatsoever, [and] have done the most splendid job of any trustees that ever lived on the face of the earth."
When Glanton was questioned about charging personal cellular phone calls, many of which he admitted had no connection to the Barnes Foundation, he responded:
[A]fter having raised eighteen million dollars, five hundred thousand worth of construction [sic] with the reopening committees, and after having supervised the restoration of the gallery... I think I'm entitled to approve a two hundred and seventy-two dollar and ninety-eight cent bill by the Barnes for calls that I make on Barnes business.
Of course none of this is relevant to the issue of whether a charity should be paying for personal cellular telephone calls. What is also interesting however, is the exaggeration in the purported justifications. When questioned about who attended and what business purpose was served by a $140 meal in Cape May, Glanton replied:
This is the same thing, reopening activity. Basically we raised the five hundred thousand dollars, there were a whole host of people. I didn't put their names down on an individual basis.
Another meal at Sfuzzi was:
...the gentlemanly thing to do after this successful fundraising effort... invite them to lunch, breakfast, whatever was appropriate, and personally convey my appreciation to them for their tireless work in raising this five hundred thousand dollars...
The opening party to which Glanton refers not only violated Dr. Barnes' prohibition on social events at the Foundation, but it made nowhere near $500,000. The audited financial statement for 1995 shows "Net special event revenue" of $82,930. A document the Foundation submitted in the Federal Civil Rights case shows total 1995 fundraising revenue of $315,729 and expenses of $243,240 -- a yield of only $72,489.
A breakfast at the Ritz Carlton with a consultant on the gallery renovation project was:
[C]onvenient for me... so that it minimizes the time that it takes out of my busy schedule in connection with my private practice, from which I've donated time to work on these matters for The Barnes and provide this great service to the community. And we came in really -- almost on budget, on time, with really A-plus - Triple A performance, because of the fact that it was done so well that you couldn't tell that anything was done.
Just before Glanton became president, his predecessor Dr. Franklin Williams put the estimate for necessary renovation work at about $1.5 million. [New York Times, April 4, 1993] In 1992 the Barnes trustees under Glanton convinced the court that the construction budget, including escalation factors and a hefty contingency was $7 million. This figure went above $10 million in the course of litigation to extend the tour to additional sites. By the November 1995 re-opening, the Foundation was claiming to have spent $12 million. On budget? Triple A performance?
As for the timeliness of the project, it was originally planned to take "twenty seven months" beginning with Court approval of the tour. That was July 21, 1992. [Judge Stefan, Findings of Fact 7/21/92 and N.T., Peltier, 6/9/92]. At that rate, the project should have been complete by November 1994. One year and three additional tour stops later, the gallery was reopened. Some of the proposed work has yet to be completed. The only way the project could be considered on- time and on-budget is if it is evaluated by different criteria than the trustees presented to the court in 1992 .
One final note on the chairman's expense account involves Glanton's explanation of charges totaling $1,250 from J.E. Caldwell and Company:
[W]e had the opening of the Kimball Museum in Fort Worth Texas. And I was excited about this, and they had just paid us $3.1 million, I believe, and we were working on the seating charts, and I was going to be seated between Governor Richards at the time, great lady, and Sid Bass's new wife, Mercedes Bass. We worked out the tables and they worked up all the tables, and they had a great event, and the Kimball had really been so magnificent. Ted Pillsbury is from the Pillsbury family out of Minneapolis, and I knew his uncle, George D'Beatty, of the original group, and the direct sons of the family were coming. And Ted had done such a wonderful job that, you know, the color of the State of Texas is Borghese yellow, and Nicholas King found a Borghese yellow bow. And this was a way that we could send a gift to the Kimballs, not a Philadelphia bow, which I would have liked to have sent, but the Borghese yellow bow, to demonstrate our class and our appreciation for their perfectionalism [sic] in working with us. [Glanton, Notes of Testimony 4/3/97]
This is the guy who is so busy he has to meet contractors at the Ritz Carlton for breakfast. Wonder what color bow they got?
Orphan's Court Demands Attorney General
Last December, a resident of the street on which the Barnes Foundation gallery is located filed a petition with the Montgomery County Orphans' Court for an order to "show cause" why the Foundation should not be held in contempt for violations of orders of the Court and the terms of the Indenture of Trust.
In his petition, Robert A. Marmon alleged incidents such as the Foundation hosting tour groups on days strictly reserved by the Indenture for educational work; tour groups being charged fees of $500 despite an Orphans' Court ruling limiting admission to $5 per person; and a fundraising party to benefit the Pennsylvania Ballet -- a blatant violation of the Superior Court ruling allowing only events "which have as their sole purpose the raising of funds for the institution."
After a hearing, the Foundation's opposition to Marmon's petition -- the usual argument that only the Attorney General has standing to sue -- Orphans' Court Judge Stanley R. Ott issued an order directing the Attorney General to investigate.
The Attorney General's Office shall file a written report with this court within 120 days from the date of this Order, which report shall include: 1) findings as to the accuracy of the facts alleged in the petition, and 2) the Attorney General's position vis-a-vis petitioner's claim that the Barnes Foundation and/or its trustees are in contempt of the Orders of this court and of the Superior Court. [Order, April 9, 1997]
As of this writing, the report had not been filed, although the due date was still a few weeks away. If the recent letter by deputy Attorney General Lawrence Barth on summer visiting hours is any indication of the path new Attorney General Mike Fisher is taking, expect another four years of the usual complicity, occasionally flavored with half-hearted concern for the educational program or the safety of the collection.
Please be advised that this Office as parens patriae for charities does not object to extending the three and one-half days per week of public access to the Barnes Foundation to the months of July and August of this and future years.
Thus it appears that Fisher, like his predecessors Thomas Corbett and Ernie Preate, has taken the position that it is not his position as defender of public trusts to uphold the terms of the trust. As Corbett defined the position: "Our aim has been to make [The Foundation's] treasures available to the public, to the greatest extent possible, without adverse affect to its central educational mission." In fact, each new step at "making the treasures available" has resulted in further reduction of the use of the facility for "its central educational mission." Absent a vigilant attorney general, it remains for third parties with sufficient legal resources and demonstrable "unique interests" to challenge the actions of unfaithful trustees, an unlikely combination which leaves the door wide open for further erosion of trust law in this state.
In a recent Inquirer article Glanton derides the legal fees paid by his opponents in the Federal civil rights and State defamation cases: "It's easy to be brave when you're spending someone else's money." He should know. Glanton's "bravery" has cost the Foundation millions. Lower Merion Township's Memorandum for Summary Judgment notes: "The Barnes's financial records show that it has spent a king's ransom in legal fees in recent years, again at Mr. Glanton's direction." The fees listed total $2.9 million. The Township's memo also says that "Glanton testified that but for the legal fees the Barnes has paid in the instant case, it would presently operate at a surplus." An appropriate corollary to Glanton's bravery principle, demonstrated elsewhere in this newsletter, is that it is also easy to dine well on someone else's money.
Lincoln Boondoggle Redux
At the time that the Foundation's trustees were seeking to sell paintings from the collection, Lincoln University President and Barnes Foundation Vice President, Niara Sudarkasa had proposed a $16.5 million "endowment by the Barnes Foundation of a series of internships, scholarships, fellowships and professorships that would be funded by the Foundation and administered through Lincoln University." The record is clear however, that Dr. Barnes' never intended the Foundation to be a source of funds for Lincoln. At one point he told Lincoln's then president Horace Bond to "ask one of the big organizations, Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Sage, to put up the money to start the African program you announced last fall."
Notes from the October 1996 Barnes board meeting suggest that Sudarkasa may be reviving her old plans.
Dr. Sudarkasa suggested that one possible method of collaboration [with another educational institution] might be for Lincoln to recruit undergraduates for a program of study related to the Foundation ... i.e., create a program whereby students could be accredited through Lincoln. Dr. Sudarkasa said she would update her original proposal from a few years ago as a basis for discussion.
If what she is updating is the $16.5 million plan, it is not merely a program
of study related to the Foundation, but more like a funneling of Foundation
resources to her institution -- a clear conflict of interest. Sudarkasa
and her fellow Lincoln and Barnes trustees should be reminded of how the
first Lincoln-appointed Barnes President, Dr. Franklin Williams defined
the relationship: "Lincoln has no direct authority or influence over
the Barnes Foundation and its policies and no title to the Foundation's
Trustees Withdraw Petition For Summer
Without ever alleging that the administration of the Barnes Foundation Indenture of Trust is impossible to fulfill under its current terms, the trustees petitioned the Montgomery County Orphan's Court to allow public access to the gallery during July and August, in violation of an express ban on all gallery use during those months. Notice that the trustees made no request to be open as a school during the two months, only as a museum.
Barnes Watch predicted this move back in December 1996:
The Superior Court left the door open for another attempt to change the Indenture in front of the Orphans' Court "based on some subsequent events which would demonstrate a necessity for a further deviation from the terms of the Indenture." So expect another "emergency petition" to the Orphans' Court sometime late next Spring. [Barnes Watch 40]
The legal test for amending the Indenture is that the fulfillment of the trust's primary purpose must be impossible and therfore relief is sought. Evidently, the trustees could not come up with a genuine case of financial hardship. Their petition merely states: "The financial impact from closing the Foundation in July and August would adversely affect the Foundation's overall operating budget."
Lacking a valid legal argument for the summer-hours petition, the trustees once again employ a nice-sounding, but totally irrelevant, and probably inaccurate, ploy. The trustees cite a purported letter by Dr. Barnes dated April 30, 1946 as:
...establishing that the sole reason why Dr. Barnes insisted that the Foundation be closed during July and August was due to local climactic conditions in 1946, when air conditioning systems had not yet been developed to provide adequate protection to the collection. [emphasis added]
The alleged letter states that "During the first couple of years of our existence, we kept the Gallery open during those months... and the bad effects on the paintings were immediately noticeable."
Even if Dr. Barnes made this statement in a letter in 1946, it must be weighed against the fact that 1922, years before the gallery was built, he wrote a restriction against opening in July, August and September into the Foundation's Indenture. It follows that he must have had other reasons at that time for closing in the summer, since he could not possibly have had experience "keeping the gallery open" prior to its construction.
Whatever Dr. Barnes' reason for closing in the summer -- perhaps he shuddered
at the possibility that the local neighborhood would be engulfed with
tourists -- there is no legal reason to remove the restriction. Despite
the usual rubber-stamp by the Attorney General, "this Office does
not object to extending the three-and-one-half days of public access to
the months of July and August", the trustees must not have felt they
had a case sufficient enough to withstand opposition. Only days after
the Latches Lane Neighborhood Association petitioned the Orphans' Court
for leave to intervene in the summer hours case, the Foundation withdrew
The July 1997 issue of Philadelphia magazine alleges that Glanton offered Barnes Foundation legal business to a Lincoln University trustee and his law associate in exchange for voting against Dr. Kenneth Sadler for Lincoln board chairman. Sadler, who also holds a seat on the Barnes Foundation board, retained his chairmanship despite Glanton's alleged politicking against him. According to the article, attorney Carl Singley and Lincoln trustee Roosevelt Hairston, have gone on record that Glanton approached them with the offer of Barnes legal business in exchange for Hairston's vote. If the allegations are true, Glanton's use of Foundation legal business for influencing votes at Lincoln would be a blatant violation of his fiduciary responsibility to the Foundation. Such an offense should cause his immediate removal.
Giving another law firm business would hardly raise a fuss in the Barnes boardroom.
Glanton has been spreading the Foundation's legal business around for
years. According to Lower Merion Township's Memorandum in the Federal
Civil Rights Case, in recent years the Foundation has doled out almost
$3 million in legal fees to nine separate law firms: "a king's ransom
in legal fees, all at Mr. Glanton's direction." With so many charitable
dollars at stake, we have to wonder where the attorney general is, and
why it is left up to Philadelphia magazine to discover what appears
to be a flagrant case of self-dealing by the president of a non-profit
organization. But then again, attorneys general in this state have a history
of ineptitude in such cases. Remember the multi-million dollar New Era
Foundation ponzi scheme, which former attorney general and convicted felon
Ernie Preate missed entirely?
Supreme Court Plucks Another Case for
Barnes Watch 35 (September 1995) reported on the coincidence between the seemingly unusual ease with which Foundation attorney Bruce Kauffman obtained "emergency" appeal hearings for his Barnes clients and the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee investigation of an action by the Supreme Court, also involving a party represented by Kauffman. [Inquirer, 8/4/94 "Court assailed for case takeover" p. B1]
The investigation involved the Supreme Court's use of the rarely invoked "King's Bench" powers to pluck the Thermal Pure Systems Inc. case from the Commonwealth Court's jurisdiction. At the time, the Inquirer quoted Jerome Balter of the Public Interest Law Center: "The action of the Supreme Court in respect to the petition of Thermal Pure demonstrates an obvious and dangerous abuse of King's Bench power." At a House Judiciary hearing, Dusquenne law professor Bruce Ledewitz called the Thermal Pure case a
...perfect example of the appearance of impropriety. What the public sees is that if you hire a former justice of the Supreme Court [Kauffman] and if the Zappala banking firm is involved, the normal processes of justice cease to operate.
Although the Inquirer quotes a court official that the Supreme Court
"accepts less than 10 such cases annually", the Supreme Court
came through for Kauffman's firm again, this time on behalf of billionaire
client Walter Annenberg. [Inquirer, 2/11/97 "High court to hear Annenberg's
tax suit" p.B1] Last year Annenberg challenged the Montgomery County
personal property tax in Commonwealth Court. In December, a Commonwealth
Court panel sent the case to the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.
Once again, the Supreme Court used the King's Bench powers to assume jurisdiction
over the case. In an understatement of a situation familiar to observers
of the Barnes Case, the county treasurer noted: "I guess if you have
a little bit of money, you can do things the ordinary taxpayer cannot
do. I'm shocked that the Supreme Court would hear a case that clearly
belongs in Common Pleas Court."
Painting Damage At the National Gallery
In testimony that ultimately led to the breach of the Barnes Foundation Indenture of Trust and the touring of many of the Foundation's fragile works, National Gallery chief of conservation Ross Merrill was asked: "Has there ever been any damage to any painting in any exhibition when the National Gallery has been responsible for selecting paintings, defining the packing specifications and overseeing the packing?" Merrill responded "No, there has not."
Not only did this seem incredible at the time, but as the works went on tour, it became clear that there was damage -- admitted in Merrill's own notes -- and that one work, Seurat's les Poseuses had to be pulled from the tour over concerns for its safety. This came after the painting had already been allowed to travel to Washington, Paris and Tokyo.
Now, recently released board meeting minutes by the trustees of London's Tate Gallery show that the National Gallery was involved in damage to one of their works in 1966. As noted in the January 11, 1997 Spectator:
When things go wrong, there is always a natural reaction to keep it quiet. John Copley's 18th-century masterpiece "The Death of Major Peirson" had been lent to an exhibition at Washington's National Gallery of Art, where it was removed from its frame and damaged. An internal Tate report admitted that 'the canvas had been torn away from the relining canvas at the edge of the picture and a portion of the original paint was missing.'
One wonders how Merrill overlooked this work when he was asked if any loan paintings had been damaged at the National Gallery. Interestingly, the Tate loaned the work to the National Gallery again only last year -- if nothing else a testimony to the persuasiveness of the National Gallery's emissaries in procuring loans of artwork.
Munich Case Judge "Not Recommended" by Pa. Bar
The Pennsylvania Bar Association's Evaluation Commission rated Superior Court Judge Thomas Saylor "not recommended" for a seat he is seeking on the state Supreme Court. Saylor is the Republican candidate for the open Supreme Court position. He is also one of the three Superior Court judges who overruled the Montgomery County Orphan's Court decision which denied an additional tour of the Barnes Foundation paintings to Munich, Germany.
In May 1995, with the Barnes Paintings already back in the Foundation's buildings, Judge Stanley R. Ott ruled that:
The Trustees failed to meet their burden of proving that the proposed additional venue is necessary to cover the costs of ongoing renovations and to provide future repairs.
Within days, Judge Saylor, and Judges Patrick Tamilia and James Rowley held a telephone conference hearing on an "emergency" petition by the trustees and the next day reversed Judge Ott. At the time of the non-public hearing, the full record of the case was not available for the judge's review. It is fundamental that:
The appellate court must examine the record to determine if the Chancellor's findings are supported by competent and adequate evidence and that no legal error occurred; an appellate court cannot sit as a trier of fact. [Students' Brief to Supreme Court]
The panel then waited ten months before issuing a written opinion, which never mentioned that they made their decision without the availability of the record. The opinion was a fourteen-page jumble of pseudo-argument that one attorney called the most injudicious he had ever seen. It is a matter of record that Judge Louis Stefan found that:
The basic justification for allowing the tour to additional venues must find support in the necessity of permitting [the trustees] to comply with Dr. Barnes' charge to his Trustees that "all of the buildings and improvements of Donee shall at all times be kept in first class order and repair." [Adjudication and Decree 2/1/1994]
The Saylor panel, however, ignored this and claimed that "the reasoning of Judge Stefan, as applied to new facts controls in this case with the same opportunities (gain without harm) central to Judge Stefan's decision." The trier of fact, Judge Ott, found that Judge Stefan's actual criterion for allowing additional tours had not been met by the evidence presented by the trustees. Textbook trust law states that only the impossibility of maintaining the Settlor's intent under the trust terms is a legal reason for breaching those terms. There is no such principle in trust law or in Judge Stefan's reasoning as "gain without harm."
Whether Saylor's participation in this legal travesty had any bearing on the
Evaluation Commission's decision to "not recommend" him for
Supreme Court Judge is a matter for speculation. Their comment that he
has not demonstrated "a high level of legal scholarship" seems
like an understatement in this case. Should Saylor win anyway, he will
be in good company. He will be joining a Court known for such questionable
tactics as listing argument before Justice Ralph Cappy for an appeal of
the Superior Court's Munich case decision and then without explanation
denying an allowance of the appeal. The Court is also noteworthy for its
controversial application of "King's Bench" powers. See "Supreme
Court Plucks Another One for Kauffman" in this newsletter.
Zoning Board Rules on Museum Use
Lower Merion Township recently filed for an injunction in Montgomery County Court to enforce a limit on public access at the Barnes Foundation to two and one half days per week. The basis for the injunction is the Lower Merion Zoning Hearing Board decision of December 26, 1996 which found that the Foundation's increased public visitation schedule put it in violation of local zoning regulations.
The action goes back to the township's August 6, 1996 citation of the Barnes Foundation for a violation of zoning regulations. The citation charged that "the principal use on the property is the operation of an art museum open to the general public, and not that of a private educational institution." A principal use as a museum is not permitted on the Foundation's residentially zoned property.
The Foundation challenged the citation, claiming that it had not become a museum and that mere visits to the gallery by tourists were "educational." After several hearings in October and November of 1996, the zoning hearing board ruled that "Offering an "educational" experience does not make a facility an "educational institution" and that "By August 6, 1996, a principal use of the [Barnes] property was for a public access museum." In rendering its decision, the zoning board cited the important Barnes vs. Keeley case of 1934. This was a case which Dr. Barnes pressed, not so much for the several hundred dollars in taxes at stake -- he offered to give the money to charity if he won -- but rather to have the courts rule that the Foundation was indeed an educational institution.
Undoubtedly, the Foundation may impose certain limitations respecting qualifications, or the time or times at which the public may have the opportunity to visit the gallery. Unless certain rules and regulations are enforced, it might defeat the very purpose of the gift by interfering with, if not entirely preventing, intelligent study of the works of art and the proper educational development of the students.... We all recognize that an art gallery has its cultural value, but it is not an educational institution within the contemplation of the law. [180 Pa. Super. at 209-210, 164 A. a 120.]
The zoning board maintained that prior to the Foundation's closing in 1993 the level of public access constituted an "accessory use" and was permitted under the Foundation's zoning. "However, Barnes' decision to take steps leading to an increase of public attendance after its reopening in November 1995, to 250% of the prior level and to adopt other attributes of a museum use places it in conflict with the applicable residential zoning."
At the time of this writing, both the injunction to limit public visitaiton
to two and one half days per week, and an appeal of the zoning ruling
by the Foundation were still unresolved. A hearing on the Foundation's
appeal is scheduled for August 25, 1997 in the Montgomery County Courthouse.
Down the Memory Hole
Last summer, Barnes attorney Peter Kelsen told Channel 6 news that "We
have a solution here that we will commit to remove those [large tour]
buses from Latch's Lane by January 1." Recall the photograph in the
December 1996 Barnes Watch of three such buses queued up on the residential
street in front of the Foundation. The statement was made after a hearing
on the Foundation's application to build a parking lot. The zoning board
approved the lot. However, January 1st came and went, but the buses remained
right up to the July closing of the Foundation.
Rome Case Dismissed
Last Summer, The City of Rome sued Barnes Foundation President Richard Glanton, the board of trustees, and the Barnes Foundation, (go to text of suit) claiming that Glanton had promised that Rome would be the final venue of the tour of the Foundation's artwork. Instead, the tour went to Munich for $750,000 less than the $3 million offered by Rome. In April, Federal Judge Marvin Katz dismissed the case. Although Katz found that Glanton dictated a letter for the Mayor of Rome to sign which stated "The fee agreed upon [for the exhibition] is $3 million, payable in two installments," the fact that the Mayor deleted the provisions on the timing of the payment meant that there was not a contract. In an article in The Legal Intelligencer, the City of Rome's attorney, Michael Smerconish promised to "vigorously pursue an appeal."
With the contract claim dismissed, the allegations made by the City of Rome that Glanton used the desirability of an exhibition as leverage to obtain personal perquisites and business for his law firm, Reed Smith, Shaw and Mc Clay, will probably never be investigated. See "Self Dealing Alleged" in this newsletter for similar allegations. The suit alleged that Rome's representative, Dr. Antonio Guizzetti "made efforts to satisfy Glanton's repeated requests for legal business out of fear that his failure to do so would result in the loss in opportunity to stage the Exhibition in Rome." According to the suit, Glanton traveled to Rome three times and in February, 1995, "Glanton was the guest of the City of Rome and was provided lodging at the five-star Hotel Bernini Bristol, all expenses paid. The City of Rome also provided Glanton with a car and a chauffeur which he used in furtherance of his active social life."
In litgation documents, it is alleged:
In the course of [numerous] conversations related to the staging of the exhibition, Glanton repeatedly requested that Dr. Guizzetti assist him in procuring legal business [with Fiat, Alitalia, Super Channel Television, Memmo Foundation, the Carlyle Group and Princess Marcella Borghese] for him and his law firm, Reed, Smith, Shaw and Mc Clay. [Pleading, 96-CV-5284, Filed July 26, 1996]
The validity of Rome's contract suit notwithstanding, where was the Attorney General when allegations of Glanton's abuse of his fiduciary duty as a trustee surfaced? So far the only public utterance has been the usual lip service:
The issues of the appropriateness of the payment received for the Munich
exhibition and the fees expended for legal representations, among others,
are those that will be considered at the audit of the accounts of the
Foundation for the tour and for its general operation. [We] are attempting
to obtain some the types of accounts that we believe are necessary for
a meaningful review by the court... [Thomas Corbett, September 1996]
Trust Busting Abroad
The Burrell Collection in Glasgow is now the subject of an attempt to betray a donors' wishes. The director of the Glasgow museums has sought to have the restriction against foreign loans of Burrell artwork overturned. The story sounds familiar. The director seeks "the power to loan a few exhibits abroad (and no doubt satisfy his ambition to be a world player)." At another museum under his direction he has been accused of "destroying a time-honoured concept in order to experiment with new-fangled equipment that may soon date or break and provide a visitor experience similar to a theme park's." [The Spectator, 4/19/97]
However, unlike the situation with the Barnes Foundation, where few voices of objection to the betrayal of that bequest ever made it into the press, the Burrell controversy has come under intense criticism.
Burrell's biographer and former Keeper of the Collection, Richard Marks writes:
Sir William [Burrell] was adamant that artifacts from the collection should not be loaned abroad. However inconvenient this restriction may appear today (and this is debatable), nonetheless, the City of Glasgow accepted the gift on Burrell's terms.
I do not subscribe to the view that were he alive today Burrell would have changed his mind. Had he wanted to lend to the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum of Art he could have done so; he chose not to.
As a matter of principle it is surely wrong to pursue a course of action which runs counter to the expressed wishes of a donor. [The] precedent that will be established if this restriction is set aside should be taken very seriously. It is hard to believe that the donors of the Wallace, the Frick and other major collections would have been so generous if they thought that the terms of their gift could be overturned by subsequent generations. [Letter to The Times 3/21/97]
Sir Nicholas Goodison, Chairman of the National Arts Collections Fund wrote in The Independent:
We firmly believe that as long as it is possible, the clearly expressed
stipulations of a testator should be respected where acts of generosity
can not be taken for granted. There really is a danger that (to use
David Lister's words) "bequests to British galleries might dry
up, if bennefactors fear that their dying wishes will be overturned."
Historical Society of Pennsylvania:
More Donors Betrayed
The Inquirer reports that the Historical Society of Pennsylvania is seeking Orphans' Court approval to sell some of its collection, which includes such diverse items as an important painting by John Singleton Copley and a wampum belt given to William Penn. While its director laments that the $1.6 million operating budget is inadequate, former guest curator Gary B. Nash says the society is busy "trying to raise $10 million for Robert Venturi to create a grandiose library." Sound familiar?
Six years ago, when the Barnes Foundation trustees sought permission to sell works, the Inquirer painted the story as a request for permission to sell fifteen works and the need to raise "$12 to $15 million to completely restore the gallery." They said Glanton "ruled out sale of any of the Foundation's important works". In fact, the trustees' court petition put no limit on the value of the works, and figures as high as $200 million were reportedly discussed.
This time the Inquirer's reporters were a little more inquisitive.
[The director] said first priority would be placement with Philadelphia institutions, but the court documents do not say that. Any item that does not find a home with a public institution "will be sold at public auction," the papers say. [7/27/97, Emphasis added]
Perhaps the paper's extra effort in this case stems from a phenomena which was not much considered in 1991: the current all-out push -- wholeheartedly embraced by the Inquirer -- to promote Philadelphia as a tourist attraction. Keeping the Historical Society's collection intact is "of vital concern to everyone in the city if Philadelphia is going to utilize its cultural treasures as an [economic] resource." [Inquirer, 7/27/97] The day after the Inquirer first reported the story, the paper featured Gary Nash's op-ed piece which tells us that right now "History is hot."
That a collection should be maintained intact for its intrinsic historic or aesthetic value, not to mention the legal basis on which the gift was made, was never at issue for the Inquirer in the Barnes case. The editorial board supported the sale of Foundation artwork while the paper featured headlines such as "Museums here have sold art." Now that tourism is king, however, we can perhaps expect the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to benefit from a level of scrutiny never applied to the Barnes Foundation.
This newsletter is published by Barnes Watch, a 501(c)(3) charitable, educational organization. Tax deductible donations, requests for further information, suggestions and corrections should be addressed to: Barnes Watch, PO Box 49 Broomall, PA 19008. Our internet web address is http://members.aol.com/barneswtch. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org