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New England News

Berkshire Museum Criticizes AG's Request To Extend Inquiry

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Image by the architects, ARCADE. Courtesy Berkshire Museum.
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A proposed new look for the Berkshire Museum.

The Berkshire Museum says the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office request to extend its inquiry into the Pittsfield museum’s controversial art sale is without merit. 

Lawyers for the Berkshire Museum say State Attorney General Maura Healey’s investigation into the sale of 40 objects from the museum’s collection to fund expansions and an endowment a “wholly unauthorized investigation.”

Healey’s office told an Appeals Court in Boston Friday it will conclude its investigation by January 29th. The museum and the AG’s office are awaiting the court’s decision on whether to extend the injunction, set to expire Dec. 10th.

Prior to their response, museum lawyers claimed they would agree to the AG’s request for more time in exchange for lifting the stay on legal proceedings.

That would mean an expedited trial could start in Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield while the Appeals Court reviews the case.

“It’s critical to the museum’s future that these issues are thoroughly examined and resolved now. We were prepared to extend the injunction on the sale to allow matters to proceed before the trial court. The Attorney General refused, blocking action as the museum's financial condition declines. The Attorney General has failed to provide a legal justification for the delays she is creating, delays that prevent the museum from securing its future," Museum attorney Bill Lee says.

Museum lawyers say Healey’s office refused the offer.  

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