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Special Note to Pennsylvanians

Friends of the Barnes Foundation discovered a previously unknown state appropriation of $100 million in Senate Bill 1213 for “Construction of a building to house the Barnes art collection in Philadelphia” was passed in the Pennsylvania Senate in 2002 --two years before the 2004 court opinion granting permission to move.  There are a number of disturbing elements to this information:

  • This appropriation, buried deep inside a capital spending bill unwittingly makes Pennsylvania taxpayers partners to a plan for destruction of a world-renowned cultural treasure. 

  • Friends of the Barnes Foundation believes that it is improper to use money raised from all Pennsylvania taxpayers to assist a private organization to move from Montgomery County (which wants to keep that organization) to Philadelphia. The existence of this fund is especially ironic because only a small fraction of that amount would be sufficient to keep the Barnes Foundation in Merion, where it belongs.  (See more in Memorandum to Attorney General Tom Corbett.)

  • The appropriation secures funding for a controversial project about which the public has not been fully informed at a time when funding for important public services are being cut.

  • The region’s major newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, specifically chose not to publish the information about the appropriation, saying, “There is no story.”  Stories did appear in The Evening Bulletin (a quality paper, but one without wide circulation yet) in “Was Barnes Foundation Crying Poor With $100 Million On The Way?” by Jim McCaffrey and The Los Angeles Times in art critic Christopher Knight’s column, “What the Court Didn’t Know.

  • Key individuals involved in the 2004 Barnes case in Montgomery County Orphan’s Court deny knowledge of the $100 million appropriation.  This includes Judge Stanley Ott, Barnes Foundation Board President, Bernard Watson, Deputies of Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett, Pew Charitable Trusts Head, Rebecca Rimel.


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            Philadelphia, PA  19118

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