On behalf of the WMA Museum Executive Committee, I am pleased to announce that, subject to final approval by the Court, the parties have reached general agreement on settlement terms that will rescue the stained-glass windows from the Wentworth Chapel and have them relocated to the Museum’s Hall of Honor. We have also secured a number of chapel chairs (more on that below). Once approved by the court, all parties will dismiss all claims and dispense with the litigation.
To be clear, we have done what we believed was in the best interest of securing these windows and what/who they stand for, but the settlement is not without the possibility of critique. Our mission is, and will remain the preservation of Wentworth’s sacred history. The terms of the agreement, like any compromise, brought both sides together. Each side gave more than they wanted. In the end, the settlement achieved by the Museum was much less than the bank/receiver’s initial offer, and it did not require replacing the windows (this was a big hurdle we had to overcome during negotiations). The high-level terms of the settlement are as follows:
The Wentworth Military Academy Museum (the “Museum”) wants to purchase the 5 stained glass windows in the Chapel building. The Bank and the Receiver are agreeable to the sale of the Windows on the following terms:
• The purchase price is $65,000. Said funds are payable to the Bank upon execution of an agreement formalizing these terms, but subject to approval by the Receivership court;
• Included in the purchase price will be the stained-glass windows and the back 3 sections of chairs in the Chapel balcony. Said chairs will not include the main rows in the front section of the Chapel balcony; for clarity, the “front section” is the first three rows of the chapel balcony (these will remain in place). All rear rows (approximately 13-17 rows of 6 seats to a row) will be removed.
• The Museum and its contractors will follow all proper procedures as it relates to lead paint or any other environmental issue that may be encountered in connection with the removal of the windows; however, neither the Museum nor its contractors shall be responsible for remediation of existing lead paint or other existing environmental issue(s) encountered. The work will otherwise be performed to current standards.
• The Museum will remove the 5 stained-glass windows and will install/reinstall painted plywood sheeting (and existing plexiglass) on the exterior of the building for protection; replacement windows will not be installed by (or at the further expense of) the Museum.
• The Museum will repair any damage to the property/building caused by the removal of the windows/chairs; in the event of any disputed claims of property damage, the parties agree to seek informal resolution from the Judge who will continue to preside over the receivership.
• The Museum will complete this work within 30 days of the date of the agreement formalizing these terms; and the Museum will be permitted to access campus to perform work during the entirety of Labor Day weekend. To the extent the removal cannot be completed over Labor Day weekend, further arrangements will be coordinated.
• The Museum will agree, in writing, (a) to release CBRE, Inc. and the Bank from all claims, (b) not to pursue any further litigation against the Bank or CBRE, Inc. on behalf of WMA or any other entity during the receivership or any time thereafter, and (c) not to impede the sale of the Receivership Property either directly or indirectly in any manner including coordination directly or indirectly to block any offer to purchase that may be presented to the Court.
Please be mindful that the Museum’s contractors will do their best to remove the windows without damage. However, we cannot guarantee they will not be damaged. As in ANY move, it is always possible; perhaps even likely that items will be damaged. If damage occurs, we will get them repaired. Plain and simple. Cost and time are also key considerations. The longer these windows stay in the Chapel, the more likely they are to be vandalized and/or succumb to the deterioration of campus.
Thanks to the generous dedicated-donation commitments of Greg Forman, Douglas Gourlay and David Traub, the Museum currently has funding commitments for approximately 60% of the settlement. We have secured a line of credit with our bank to cover the balance of the cost in the interim as fundraising continues.
As noted above, we have also secured three full sections of balcony chairs. The Museum will convert some of these chairs into seating for the Museum theater, and we will make the remainder available for purchase to help fund the acquisition of the stained-glass.
The Executive Committee would like to thank all alumni for your support. As usual, a special HUGE thanks to my co-counsel, Jennifer, for her many unbelievable efforts. You may be interested to know that our combined legal efforts during the Doughboy litigation and the stained-glass litigation has resulted in more than $400,000 of in-kind legal fees. Trust me when I say that that chapter is now closed. Permanently.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Wentworth Military Academy Museum is now ……………… “All Present and Accounted For!”
Achieve the Honorable