A glance at Berkshire Museum’s final report to AG on art sale proceeds

A final report by the Berkshire Museum to Attorney General Maura Healey on proceeds from its recent art sales was required in the successful 2018 petition to the Supreme Judicial Court that ended state opposition and allowed up to $55 million in sales.
– Photo by Ben Garver

By Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle

PITTSFIELD — In a final report to Attorney General Maura Healey, the Berkshire Museum discloses issues flagged as concerns by Healey’s office. The report was required in the successful 2018 petition to the Supreme Judicial Court that ended state opposition and allowed up to $55 million in art sales. The Eagle obtained attorney William F. Lee’s Oct. 18 report through a public records request. Issues include:

THE SALES: Of 40 works removed from the collection, 22 were sold, netting $53.25 million. Eighteen objects were returned from Sotheby’s to Pittsfield but are not yet reaccessioned due to delays and staffing, according to Executive Director Jeff Rodgers.

PROCEEDS: $45 million was invested with Northern Trust Co. based on advice from Portfolio Evaluations Inc.; $5 million is held in an account at Lee Bank for capital projects; and $3.25 million sits in a Lee Bank account to be used only for the good of the collection under terms of the court ruling. Rodgers said the museum plans to draw no more than 3.2 percent from its investment fund in any year.

MA Attorney General Healey Endorses Harrington, Discusses Berkshire Museum In Pittsfield

Mayor Linda Tyer, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and Democratic Berkshire District Attorney candidate Andrea Harrington in Pittsfield Monday. ©2018 Photo by Josh Landes/WAMC

Josh Landes, WAMC Radiolab
October 2, 2018

With the fall election campaign heating up, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey was in the Berkshires Monday.

Healey, along with local Democratic leaders like Mayor Linda Tyer and State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier, appeared at the new Berkshire County Democratic Coordinated Campaign Headquarters on Pittsfield’s North Street to endorse District Attorney candidate Andrea Harrington, who won September’s primary.

Suit against Berkshire Museum art sales to be argued before appeals court Sept. 4

Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle
August 14, 2018

PITTSFIELD — Lawyers for the Berkshire Museum aren’t quite done defending its art sales — even as those transactions near completion.

They’ll come before three Massachusetts Appeals Court justices in early September, working to fend off a lawsuit against the museum and its trustees that dates back to the start of legal action 10 months ago.

Healey’s links to Berkshire Museum law firm prompt questions

Attorney General Maura Healey

Larry Parnass, The Berkshire Eagle,
March 20, 2018

PITTSFIELD – As the state’s chief law enforcement officer, Attorney General Maura Healey and her staff routinely face off against private law firms.

Rarely do they know their adversaries as well as they do the lawyers of WilmerHale, the powerful Boston firm that fought Healey’s office for months over its investigation of the Berkshire Museum’s proposed art sale.