But the one thing you can be sure of, in North Miami…
Miami Herald reporters might as well just set up their own news desk in the lobby of North Miami City Hall.
Between the arrest and suspension of the Mayor a couple of weeks ago, the planning of a special election to replace her, the naming of a new City Manager last week, a new Chief of Police today, and the ongoing saga of the city’s battle with the board of trustees of its museum (see here, here, here and here), the Miami Herald and other reporters (as well as the blogger) have been earning their paychecks (except for the blogger) covering all the stories.
And that’s not even including coverage of typical North Miami news like murders and other city business, such as legislating speed limits, fighting with the School Board over charter schools, and shutting down pony rides.
Then, of course, there’s the unending Kevin Burns Residency Lawsuit that keeps making last year’s City Council election today’s headlines.
If that weren’t enough news to keep up with, the board of trustees of the Museum of Contemporary Art (affectionately/known/as MOCA) keeps coming up with innovative ways to make North Miamians pay for the sin of being “working-class.”
It now appears that the board has conspired with “a handful of art collectors who donated” to MOCA in an extremely transparent attempt to further aggravate the situation. This is despite a judge’s directive to enter into mediation in an attempt to work out a settlement “that could include alternatives to a merger with the Bass.”
Obviously, the board isn’t interested in any alternatives to leaving North Miami. They made it perfectly clear they want out. The sooner the better.
A Miami Herald article posted today, MOCA donors: We gave to museum, not city of North Miami, reports:
“In a motion filed late Tuesday in the museum board’s lawsuit against the city, the collectors sought to explain the “intent behind their donations, which was always to donate to MOCA, the 501 (c)(3), and not to the city.”
The motion says that the donors took advantage of tax benefits by giving art and money to the nonprofit, and that they “could face potentially significant negative tax consequences” if the art were to remain with the city.”
An attorney for the board now claims that “grants that were expected are not coming in and some donors are no longer giving” because of the dispute.
Missing from this equation is the FACT that it was the board who started this dispute in the first place, not the City of North Miami.
The Knight Foundation already withdrew its $5 million endowment grant, and the board’s attorney, Alan Kluger, is claiming that “many other donors have contacted his office and will likely add their names to the suit.”
And I am so sure they’ve had absolutely no prompting by any member of the board of trustees of the museum.
Oh, puh-LEEZE! Is that bridge in Brooklyn still for sale, too?
Kluger accuses North Miami of making “a grab for this art,” then warns that “these people will all get on the witness stand” to claim their intent was to donate to the museum and not to the city.
Oh, I’m sure they will.
Because no one ever lies on the witness stand.
And neither do lawyers.
In an email to the Herald, North Miami spokeswoman Pam Solomon reminded the board that “the museum — not the board of trustees — owns the collection” and that “the board still has to answer to the city.”
For good measure, Solomon reiterated the museum’s own mission statement, “which is to serve the community by ‘making contemporary art accessible to diverse audiences — especially underserved populations.’”
Nowhere does it say that the museum’s mission is to make the art “accessible to the rich and famous audiences of Miami Beach.”
By far, though, the most ridiculous premise of the donors’ motion is the preposterous claim that they “took advantage of tax benefits by giving art and money to the nonprofit, and that they ‘could face potentially significant negative tax consequences’ if the art were to remain with the city.”
A recent article in the New York Times reported, “The city established the museum as a nonprofit corporation, in part so that gifts would be tax deductible, and created a board of trustees to operate the museum on its behalf.”
What this obviously means is that donors enjoy tax benefits because they gave their “art and money to the nonprofit” established by the City of North Miami. The nonprofit was not established by a board of trustees, which itself was created by the city in the first place.
The donors will receive their tax deductions, regardless of where the nonprofit entity is located.
That the board is unhappy with the nonprofit corporation being located in the City of North Miami doesn’t have anything to do with where the donated art is housed, whether it be it in North Miami or Miami Beach.
Seriously, just how stupid does the board of trustees think the rest of us are?
Apparently, not stupid enough!
Let’s just hope the judge will also see through the artful deception.
No pun intended, of course.
“Spreading the Wealth”