FA Founder, Pat Nicholson, can report that she received a reply to her letters to Messrs. Brodsky and Weiss referred to FA’s Blog “Part I: Hand Delivering Letters to …” [and subsequent communication with Mr. Brodsky only as member of the Met Museum’s Real Estate Council, see FA’s Blog regarding “FA Educates Key Met Museum Philanthropists …”], via a March 15, 2019, email sent by Kenneth Weine, Met Museum Vice President of External Affairs | Chief Communications Officer on their behalf.
However, she cannot report that what Mr. Weine wrote is either encouraging as to the Met Museum’s readiness to comply with NYS Law or to its contractual obligation to provide free access to all New Yorkers.
FA refers to paragraph three of Weine’s five paragraph email wherein he stated:
The Met’s current admission’s policy was arrived upon after intense review and conversations with an array of experts and community and government stakeholders. It reflects a model of shared financial contribution where support from the Museum is generated by philanthropy, government, and visitors, as well as other revenue sources such as retail and restaurants. More than half of the Museum’s support comes from private sources, and less than ten percent comes from the government (mostly the City). Importantly, The Met’s updated approach on admissions continues the pay-as-you-wish-policy for all New York State visitors, and students of all ages from New Jersey and Connecticut. As you know, The Met’s admissions policy has been the subject of recent litigation – and the courts affirmed in several settings the legality of the Museum’s current policy.
Each of the above bolded sentences is a gross deception.
Because the Met Museum tenants rent-free, 2,000,000+ sq. ft. of City-owned buildings, New Yorkers alone “eat” a rent forgiveness to the Met Museum of THREE QUARTERS OF A BILLION DOLLARS ANNUALLY. Clearly New Yorkers outpace annual cumulative private contributions. For this, New Yorkers alone are to be admitted free to the Met Museum’s exhibition halls per an 1878 Lease and an 1893 Law. New Yorkers are not. New Yorkers have to pay a “mandatory” fee in an amount “that is up to [them]”. [see fuller explanation in The FA Story on this website]
In addition, with regards to Weine reporting “court affirm[ation]” of the Met Museum’s policy, Weine demonstrates in his words the lengths the Met Museum will go to contort the facts of court findings to its favor, despite their untruth. [FA Founder Pat Nicholson was a party in some of these actions.]
Representing Pat Nicholson, and others, along the litigation trail, attorney Michael Hiller dissects court findings, upending Mr. Weine’s assertion. Hiller’s article entitled, “Why We Are Opposing The Proposed Met Museum Settlement” makes clear no court approval was rendered.
In Nicholson’s opinion, Mr. Weine demonstrates the Met Museum’s institutional commitment to continue to operate in non-compliance with the 1878 Lease and Ch. 476 of the Laws of 1893 requiring it be open to New Yorkers free of any charge and that the time is ripe for New Yorkers to insist that New York State Attorney General Letitia James enforce the law.
For now, FA prepares you to know that a blog reporting the launch of an online petition to urge NYAG James to act will be posted prior to the petition’s May 15, 2019 launch and a link from this page will take you to it.