Legal battle gets underway between Corcoran and advocacy group

Advocacy group Save the Corcoran hopes a D.C. judge will allow them to intervene in court proceedings for the Corcoran to turn itself over to GW. File Photo by Hatchet Staff Photographer Zach Montellaro.
Save the Corcoran hopes a D.C. judge will allow it to intervene in court proceedings before the art institution turns itself over to GW. File Photo by Hatchet Staff Photographer Zach Montellaro.

A D.C. Superior Court judge will rule Monday on whether an advocacy group has a stake in the University’s deal to acquire the Corcoran College of Art + Design.

Save the Corcoran, an organization made up of curators, artists, Corcoran professors and alumni, is looking to intervene in the nonprofit’s petition to amend its charter, a necessary step for the merger with GW.

In a room filled with about 80 onlookers, Judge Robert Okun heard arguments Friday from attorneys representing the Corcoran’s trustees, the D.C. attorney general’s office and Save the Corcoran.

Save the Corcoran’s lawyer, Andrew Tulumello, told Okun that mismanagement on the Corcoran’s part undercut the institution’s ability to operate on its own.

“We believe that management choices that have been made over the last several years contributed significantly to the issues that the Corcoran has brought before the court,” he said.

Tulumello argued that the Corcoran should release financial records from the last ten years, proving that poor management caused its collapse.

Charles Patrizia, the attorney representing the Corcoran, told the judge that the group’s concerns were already represented by D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan, who speaks on behalf of the public interest. Patrizia said the advocates lack clear legal standing that would give it a right to intervene.

“Concerns and fears are not the establishment of an interest,” he said. “A legal interest is more than just ‘I’m interested’ or ‘I’m worried’ or ‘I have fears and concerns.’”

Nathan endorsed the merger on Wednesday, even after Save the Corcoran filed a motion to block the merger earlier this month.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.