The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) recently fired all its members except for the fifteen members of the Board of Directors. In effect, the society now has only fifteen members – its Board of Directors. (See my earlier articles at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/07/nygb-implodes.html and at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/07/nygb-proposes-t.html.) The Board now controls the Society and all its assets with no one looking over their shoulders. The Board previously had announced that they would sell the building. Now an ad for the building has appeared with an asking price of $33 million.
Massey Knakel Realty Services is offering the "Rare Midtown Institutional Building For Sale at 122 East 58th Street" in New York City. The property is advertised as follows:
The subject property is a 5-story, 57-foot-wide institutional building currently home to The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society. Originally designed and built specifically for the G&B’s use in 1929, it consists of a large ornate theatre on the ground floor with all the original detail and a full balcony. The second and third floors are both primarily large meeting/reception areas with high ceilings and hardwood floors; both can be reconfigured for different uses. The top floor and mezzanine are dedicated to a sprawling library with high ceilings and lavish detail. This prime and very rare building would be ideal for a museum, school, consulate, embassy, religious organization, foundation, bank, commercial user or even a single-family home. It will be completely vacant by July 2009. Asking price: $33,000,000.
You can read the entire ad at: http://www.masseyknakal.com/buildingphotos/122e58.pdf.
Here's a question: who gets the money?
Mr. Waddell W. Stillman, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, New York Genealogical & Biographical Society, posted comments in this newsletter’s comments fields on July 14, 2007 and stated:
As a primary matter, I respectfully observe that it is inaccurate to identify the Society as a member-“owned” organization. Neither members of the Society nor its Board have any ownership rights whatsoever with respect to the assets of the organization. We are not a social club or fraternal society. We are a charitable not-for-profit corporation and the public owns the assets of the Society. We trustees, as fiduciaries of the Society, bear responsibility for prudent and careful oversight and management of these assets, and prudent and careful oversight and management of the Society’s affairs, so that it may further its charitable mission. No member of the Society’s Board stands to personally profit in any manner through the transactions undertaken on behalf of the Society, and no member of the Society stands to lose any monies owned by him or her.
In those comments, Mr. Stillman did not offer any insight into the planned dispersion of the funds, only stating, "the public owns the assets of the Society." You can read all of his comments at http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2007/07/nygb-proposes-t.html, scroll down the page to find his words.