Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey expects to complete her investigation into the Berkshire Museum by the end of January.
In December, an Appeals Court judge in Boston approved the AG’s request to extend an injunction halting the Berkshire Museum’s sale of 40 artworks, including two paintings by Norman Rockwell, until January 29th.
Museum Board of Trustees President Elizabeth McGraw says she will be pleased to see the seven-month investigation come to an end, and is “eager to return to [Berkshire] Superior Court” for a swift trial. The inquiry paused all legal action.
"It is welcome news that after seven months, with the museum's full cooperation, the Attorney General’s Office expects to conclude its review by January 29th,” McGraw says. “But it is disappointing that the Attorney General’s Office continues to block trial proceedings critical to resolving this case. Prolonging legal roadblocks is not in the best interests of the people of Berkshire County or the museum they turn to for experiences in art, science, history and more. We are eager to return to Superior Court so that the issues in this case can be decided publicly, fairly, and swiftly, particularly in light of the Superior Court's previous decision that the museum board acted responsibly and within its rights. Only then will the museum be able to secure its future and continue its important contributions to education, culture, and the economy in a community where they are greatly needed.”
Museum lawyers have been calling for an expedited trial in Pittsfield. They are concerned the sale’s delay has hurt the value of the art. The museum wants to fund an expansion and endowment with the proceeds.
In November, a Berkshire Superior Court judge briefly allowed the sale to continue before the AG’s office appealed.