Monday, July 30, 2007

That's what Friends are for

Lee Rosenbaum reports that the Friends of the Barnes Foundation has established a legal defense fund for donations supporting its upcoming lawsuit seeking to prevent the museum's move to Philadelphia. Lee quotes the following review of the legal state of play from the solicitation materials:

---The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners is joining us to reopen the Barnes matter in Orphans' Court.
---Montgomery County offered the Barnes Foundation a $50-million leaseback arrangement.
---Lower Merion passed a zoning resolution that will allow up to 140,000 people a year to visit the Barnes.
---We have sponsored an evaluation of the Barnes for National Historic Landmark status, which is supported by the district's U.S. Congressman, Jim Gerlach.
---Pennsylvania State Representatives Mick Gerber, Daylin Leach, and Connie Mandarino have all declared themselves in support of the Barnes Foundation remaining in Merion.
---Our attorney, Mark Schwartz, has prepared an excellent case and we believe this time our petition will be heard fully with all the facts presented. The petition will be filed in a few days.

As Lee points out, however, the Orphans' Court has already ruled in the Barnes favor and "overturning that decision is a longshot." Or, as Harvard law professor Bruce Mann has put it, "There's no part of the judicial system that permits do-overs years after an issue has been adjudicated just because someone steps up and says, 'Hey, I have an idea.'"