Wall Street Journal Law Blog column.
The intervener’s motion to stay was denied by the single justice of the appeals court today meaning, in effect, that the agreement for judgment is allowed to move forward while we pursue our appeal.
We will be studying the ruling in light of other actions in progress to determine next steps.
Statement and lineage of Arthur C. Payne, Jr., a direct descendant of William Payne:
1: If I was William Paine making the bequest my thought would be to use the
income from the property to generate income for the school in perpetuity
from either leasing or renting the property. I would be reluctant to sell
the property because a straight money bequest usually winds up failing
either by getting looted by corrupt managers or lost through poor
investments. Property is forever.
2: If I was a trustee and I felt that the bequest could not be managed in
accordance with the will I think I would find competent people who did
think that they could manage the property and appoint them to be trustees
and myself resign.
3: If I was a judge I would probably replace the current board of trustees
with a new board composed of people who want to manage the bequest in
accordance with the will and see what they could do.
This is the position put forth in an Ipswich Chronicle column from School Committee member Sean Gresh. Sean has been the most outspoken proponent for a sale in the past, and we appreciate his consistency even if we do not agree with his position.
We suggest, however, that you compare his opinion with the words of the School Committee’s own legal counsel at opening statements of the trial on December 12, 2011:
“When William Payne called for land in Ipswich to be held in trust forever for the benefit of the schools, and the evidence will show that the owner’s intent in that regard was to provide an asset that would inherently last forever. And land is basically a perpetual asset….We want a perpetual asset that will always last and return money to the school children, and will not be subject to the ups and downs of the market.”
The School Committee then proceeded to settle without presenting said evidence, the collection of which was paid for with $700,000 of taxpayer money. All the interveners are asking for is the right to follow through on this investment and present this evidence to a court of law willing to make a decision on the merits.
It is also worth noting that the position stated by the School Committee counsel above mirrors the position outlined at the May 2011 Town Meeting when Mitch Feldman stated in the presentation of the legal funding article: “As it turns out, Mr. Payne was right. Land provides the more stable, less volatile stream of distributions to the schools.” The article then received overwhelming support of Town Meeting. It was not even close.
As to the question posed as to what right the Rowley parents have to be interveners, it should be clear that as school choice parents with students in the Ipswich school system, their children are beneficiaries of the Trust as much as any child of an Ipswich resident. Where they differ, and what makes them unique legally, is that they do not have the right to vote for School Committee members.
Ipswich Chronicle letter from George Soffron.
Wall Street Journal article.
New AP article reporting on today’s hearing before Justice Peter Agnes in the Appeals Court. It is as good a summary as any so we will just leave it at that.