Elsewhere online
May 10, 2012

UCLA Donor's Heirs Sue Over Plan to Sell Japanese Garden

Heirs of the late philanthropist Hannah Carter have gone to court to block the University of California at Los Angeles from selling a Japanese garden that the university purchased with donated funds, reports the Los Angeles Times.

In a suit filed Monday, the plaintiffs contend the sale breaches a contract in which University of California Board of Regents committed to maintain the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden permanently.

UCLA won a 2010 court ruling clearing the way for an auction it says will fetch more than $4-million to put toward endowments and faculty positions and free the school from nearly $140,000 a year in costs for maintaining the garden. The school is accepting sealed bids, which it is slated to make public May 23.

The university purchased the garden with funds from a 1964 bequest by longtime regent Edward Carter, Hannah Carter's husband, and pledged in a 1982 amendment to "retain the garden portion in perpetuity," according to a Huffington Post commentary by Charles Birnbaum of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, which opposes the sale.

A UCLA spokesman said the university has followed the appropriate legal steps to proceed with the sale and "intends to contest the [Carter heirs'] lawsuit."