Elsewhere online
July 03, 2012

Group Mounts Legal Challenge to Barnes Art Move, Citing Misleading Status

Activists who unsuccessfully fought the relocation of the Barnes Foundation art collection to a downtown museum in Philadelphia are seeking to reopen their legal case, citing a blog post in which a former foundation leader said the group was not close to broke when it sought the move, the Associated Press reports.

Friends of the Barnes argued in a legal filing Monday that the online comments by Kimberly Camp, the foundation's president and CEO from 1998 to 2005, are "absolutely contrary to the position and information presented" by the organization in court hearings several years ago.

"Bankruptcy was not the reason we filed the petition to move the Foundation to the city," Ms. Camp wrote in her blog on June 22. "At the time the petition [to move the collection] was filed, the Barnes Foundation had a cash surplus and we had no debt — none. But saying so made the rescue so much more gallant."

Finances were key to the foundation's call to break from collector Albert Barnes's stipulation that his famous modernist trove remain as he displayed it in suburban Merion, Pa. In a December 2003 hearing on the move, Ms. Camp said several times that "we don't have any money," according to transcripts cited by Friends of the Barnes.

Ralph Wellington, an attorney for the Foundation, said the previous testimony by Ms. Camp and other Barnes officials was "completely true and accurate." He said the Barnes had no debt because of stop-gap support other charities offered to keep it afloat, and that its cash surplus could not be used for operations.

The new $150-million Barnes museum opened in May.