MOCA Sues the City of North Miami, Charges Mayor Tondreau With Defamation and Conspiracy

Categories: Art, Culture

moca_main.jpg
Photo by Ivon David Rojas
The Museum of Contemporary Art filed a legal complaint Monday against the City of North Miami and is suing for damages. In the complaint, MOCA claims the city has failed in its contractual duties to properly maintain and care for the institution legally under its care and, therefore, has "diminished the value of the Museum and its collection while hampering the institution's ability to achieve its mission."

Though the city has made plenty of noise against MOCA's plans to collaborate, and possibly move many of its collections to the Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, MOCA alleges North Miami has done nothing to help the museum grow, such as forgoing to pay interim director Alex Gartenfeld, failing to provide adequate security, and refusing to repair critical maintenance issues.

See also: Rosa de la Cruz Bashes MOCA, Bass and PAMM: "Why Is It That Miami Museums Are Becoming Places Just For Parties?"

MOCA, a publicly owned nonprofit institution, was opened in 1996 to inject the North Miami area with much-needed cultural stimuli, but the museum now intends to show that without proper management and necessary funding or assistance, the city has endangered the museum's collection, visitors, and employees.

All in all, the 23-page lawsuit lists eight complaints against the City of North Miami, including failure to pay the interim director; failure or refusal to repair the roof, air conditioning, and "other critical structural components"; failure to provide minimal security in and around the museum; failure or refusal to expand the museum or properly fund existing components; failure or refusal to promote the museum; improperly causing the museum to incur expenses for city and non-city events; and failing or refusing to properly maintain museum property grounds.

The lawsuit mentions MOCA's attempts to collaborate with other world-class museums, namely the Bass Museum, in an attempt to "avoid further damage to reputation and relevance of MOCA's permanent art collection." It's been rumored since last Art Basel in December that MOCA was planning a collaboration or move to the Bass Museum, rumors that were made official by a public announcement in mid-March. The city then held a council meeting in which such actions were loudly opposed.

The complaint names Mayor Lucie Tondreau as directly damaging the museum's reputation and says her claim that the city must oversee such partnerships between MOCA and the Bass is false. Mayor Tondreau said the city owns the MOCA collection, a statement disputed in the lawsuit as well.

The complaint calls the city meeting in March a "public spectacle" and states the city is now trying to terminate some or all of MOCA's acting board members in a "strategic attempt to destroy any alliance between MOCA and the Bass Museum, and to keep MOCA in North Miami."

Location Info

Map

Museum of Contemporary Art

770 NE 125th St., North Miami, FL

Category: General

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14 comments
Doug Bermúdez
Doug Bermúdez

Again with this Mayor? Thank goodness I don't live in this City! This Mayor is always making headlines for the wrong reasons!

Familia Ramirez
Familia Ramirez

Culture/Art is for people who appreciate it. The intent was good but no one cares. They much rather have a Wal-Mart.

Street Art
Street Art

While the museum is a public institution it has failed to raise enough capital to support it's own operation and now is looking to the city to help it survive. If this were a business, it would have filed for bankruptcy and closed. It's sad that the board cant muster enough support to make this museum work. With all the billionaire art collectors in South Florida not one has come up with a plan to make this museum solvent.

Drigo Alcides
Drigo Alcides

Shekelton Lyrically-Monsterous Mikail Bpb Watson

afosorio
afosorio

I AM A RESIDENT OF THIS CITY FOR MORE THAN 30 YEARS. I HAVE BEEN A MEMBER AND VISITOR OF THIS MUSEUM SINCE ITS CREATION. IN MY OPINION, I BELIEVE THAT THIS MUSEUM HAS NOT BEEN VERY HELPFUL TO THIS CITY IN ANY WAY. IT IS AN ELETIST MUSEUM AND IT HAS ONLY SERVED TO THE  BENEFIT OF ITS OWN BOARD MEMBERS AND DIRECTORS, WHO HAVE BEEN BENEFITED BY THEIR GREAT SALARIES. THESE PEOPLE HAVE USED GREAT AMOUNT OF MONEY IN TRAVELING AND DOING GREAT SOCIAL EVENTS FOR THEIR OWN BENEFITS. THE MUSEUM HAS ONLY OPENED ITS DOORS TO THE DIRECTORS'FRIENDS, BUT NOT TO THE LOCAL ARTISTS. I BELIEVE THAT WHAT THE CITY IS SAYING IT'S RIGHT.

THE CITY HAS NOT INVESTED IN SOCIAL EVENTS THAT ARE A NEED IN THIS COMMUNITY.HOWEVER, THE CITY HAS INVESTED A LOT OF MONEY IN THIS MUSEUM FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXPENDING IT, WHICH I BELIEVE IS USELESS TO THE CITY AND ITS COMMUNITY, AND THEREFORE A WASTE OF MONEY.

IT WOULD NOT BE A BAD IDEA TO CLOSE THE MUSEUM AND USE THE BUILDING FOR OTHER PURPOSES MORE VALUABLE TO THE COMMUNITY. I THINK THIS MUSEUM HAS BEEN AN OBJECT OF REVENUE FOR A FEW PEOPLE THAT HAVE NO INTEREST IN THE DESTINY OF THIS COMMUNITY, BUT THEMSELVES.

Ana Triana
Ana Triana

Yes lawsuit was an aggressive move no time to waste

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

Take look where they located it ? Near 125th & West Dixie ? Oh, they have culture there, primitive ?

James Echols
James Echols

I mean, you can't disagree with that, but is a lawsuit really the way to go?

snarfquack
snarfquack

Those "social events" you are complaining about are fundraisers made necessary by the absence of support from the city and it's inhabitants. MOCA should move to a city where art is appreciated and where it would be more likely to enjoy the kind of success and support now being enjoyed by PAMM.

JoseDuran
JoseDuran moderator communitymanagertopcommenter

@afosorio  MOCA actually has pieces by local artists in its permanent collection. A world-class museum also collects and displays the best work available, regardless of origin. If you want a community gallery, which are always a waste of taxpayer money, if you ask me, you have to look elsewhere.

alexiazoe
alexiazoe

Yea the only way they can maintain their funds/endowments or sell any assets is to sue the City on claim that the City hasn't done enough to support them. Which is true.

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