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MOCA and city of North Miami locked in contract dispute

The city of North Miami is not painting a pretty picture of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s lawsuit against them.

In April, MOCA sued North Miami for what could be considered a classic example of a breach of contract. The board of the museum contends that the city failed to hold up its part of the agreement. The city allegedly did this when they neglected to suitably maintain the building and failed to pass a referendum intended to fund an expansion of the museum.

MOCA is threatening to move their entire collection to a gallery in Miami Beach. This is a move the city is characterizing as outright theft, though language in the contract, which has been around since 2008, says that MOCA’s board would “own, protect and manage” any artworks, present and future, in their gallery.

North Miami’s Mayor called out the museum for allegedly forgetting who they work for—namely, the city.

The museum’s board already comes up with 75 percent of the operating budget and feels the city should have helped pass a $15 million referendum in 2012 intended to expand MOCA.

After MOCA filed suit, the city appointed a new director of the board for the museum, but the board is refusing to approve the move. The city is threatening litigation if the board does not approve the new director.

To date, according to MOCA, the city has not yet paid the museum’s interim director.

Breach of contract cases like this one are not uncommon, but they can be dizzyingly complex and call for the most skilled attorneys, who can aggressively protect your assets and help you recover any damages that may be your due.

Source: miamiherald.com, “City: MOCA suit, actions are a breach,” Lance Dixon, Hannah Sampson, April 29, 2014

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