Appellate judge Joseph Trainor granted a 30-stay on the sale of the Berkshire Museum’s art resulting in the withdrawal of two Norman Rockwell paintings from tonight’s American art sale at Sotheby’s.
William Lee, the museum’s lawyer, will meet again with the Massachusetts AG’s office to resolve the the issue, according to the Berkshire Eagle:
In challenging the museum’s deaccession plan, Lee wrote in his filing Friday, the attorney general has exerted an “extraordinary authority … under which the minutiae of public charity decision-making would be subject to the approval of a small group of government lawyers.”
Lee’s filing faults the office for moving too slowly last week to seek an appeal, leaving Trainor with scant time to review a court record that tops 1,000 pages and hours of transcribed arguments. He says his office asked the attorney general’s team Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday whether it would appeal, only to hear that it would do so at 10 p.m. Thursday.
In his decision Friday, Trainor noted that he had read only the filings entered into this court’s docket that day. He granted the attorney general’s motion after deciding that the “balance of risk of irreparable harm … weighs in favor of the petitioner.”
That petitioner was the government, which had argued that all would be lost if the Monday auction were to proceed, to be followed by three other sales of museum objects at Sotheby’s the same week.
Dispute over Berkshire Museum art sale moves to next stage (The Berkshire Eagle)