Today, the Save the Corcoran Coalition filed its complaint and petition in D.C. Superior Court, which must rule on the proposed deal between the Corcoran, the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University. STC is asking to intervene in the Corcoran’s cy près proceedings. The petition asks the court to:
· remove members of the current Board of Trustees,
· ensure that the entire Corcoran collection remain together,
· require that the Board submit to a full financial accounting, and
· deny cy près relief if the Board’s own maladministration has caused the Corcoran trust to become impracticable.
STC is right about one thing, for sure: trustees have never, to my knowledge, given a full financial accounting of the Corcoran’s situation. It always looked to me as if trustees sumply gave up, underestimating those who would oppose their plans. To quote from the press release:
“There are so many hard questions that need to be answered. We need to start there. If the Trustees want to dissolve a national, historic gem, we need to understand every wrong turn. We will never be able to get back our third oldest museum in the nation, and years of mismanagement is not a substantial explanation,” said Caroline Lacey, a Masters degree student currently enrolled at the Corcoran College of Art & Design, and a plaintiff on the suit. “We as the students have made very serious time and monetary commitments to the Corcoran, and we deserve full accountability.”
STC’s attorney, Andrew Tulumello, Managing Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, said:
“The Trustees have proposed the radical step of destroying the very institution they are charged with protecting. This is not necessary, and it is wrong. The public interest demands a more thoughtful approach.”
I agree with most of that. Trouble is, I don’t see a real solution to this, and the current “deal” may be a better outcome than a return to an ever-struggling Corcoran.
Still, I want to know, as STC does, precisely what the situation is before deciding.
Here’s a link to the trustees’ filing, should you want to dig into the legal issues.