Share |

Update in Island Landmarks case to resolve “Governance”

Background: Island Landmarks’, a Vashon- based non-profit corporation, is responsible for stewarding the historic Mukai house and garden. On June 4th, 2012, Island Landmarks’ members met at a "special meeting" and removed the prior board. Members elected a new board of 11 Vashon based community members including historians, librarians, educators, historical preservationists, project managers, a landscape architect, and a lawyer.

On June 18th, the newly elected board filed a lawsuit in King County Superior court, asserting their right to govern Island Landmarks. This lawsuit is necessary as the former board has refused to step down. The "plaintiff" in the lawsuit is the Island Landmarks’ new board. The "defendants" in the lawsuit are the five former board members.

Island Landmarks’ Motion for Summary Judgment was filed Friday, September 14th. and will be heard on Friday October 12, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. This Motion asks the court to declare that the plaintiffs are the lawful governing board, and that the defendants no longer have any control over the organization. Once this occurs, the plaintiffs can begin to revitalize Island Landmarks, and more importantly, the sorely neglected Mukai house and garden.

In the Motion, Island Landmarks makes two claims. First, we assert that the actions taken by the membership at the June 4th meeting—removal of the former board and election of the new Board—were authorized by the organization’s Bylaws, and by state law. Second, we ask the court to "judicially remove" the defendants due to their continuing dysfunction and malfeasance. Specifically, the defendants:

• lost the organization’s federal 501(c)(3) status
• failed to pay property taxes on time and risked foreclosure of the property in 2010
• failed to maintain a membership and ignored requests to join the organization
• failed to hold required membership meetings and properly elect directors
• used the Mukai house regularly as a vacation residence during visits to Vashon
• co-mingled personal monies with funds of Island Landmarks
• failed to account for $150,000 in public funding
• attempted to sell the Mukai property with adjacent privately owned property
• failed to satisfy a host of public funding requirements
• neglected the house and garden such that both are in need of serious repair
• and lost the confidence of community members, funders, and supporters

Island Landmarks’ Motion for Summary Judgment is supported by 11 declarations from an array of individuals who all support Island Landmarks’ new leadership.

The Motion for the Summary Judgment will be heard by King County Superior Court Judge Monica Benton on Friday October 12, 2012 at 11:00 a.m., courtroom W-817, 516 Third Avenue, Seattle, Washington. Community members are invited to attend. For more information, visit Island Landmark’ website at , or contact Ellen Kritzman at 463- or Lynn Greiner at 660-6239