Corporation Faces Trial In Breach of Trust Suit

Arnold Arboretum

The Corporation has lost a six year battle to avoid trial for an alleged breach of trust in its Administration of the $5 million Arnold Arboretum endowment. John T. Hemenway '46, President of the Association for the Arnold Arboretum, yesterday announced that Attorney General Edward J. McCormack, Jr. had agreed to let certain members of the Association sue the Corporation in his name.

The suit, filed in the State Supreme Court on December 4, charges that the Corporation went beyond its powers as sole trustee of the Arboretum when in 1953 it moved most of that institution's library and dried plant specimens from Jamaica Plain to a new, University-owned building in Cambridge.

McCormack's decision to allow a suit in his name reversed the stand of his predecessor, George Fingold. Under Massachusetts law, a trustee may be sued for mismanagement only through the Attorney General unless he goes to court voluntarily. The Association for the Arboretum has charged in its publications that the Corporation "persuaded" Fingold not to act.

The Association charges that most of the Arboretum's funds were meant for a herbarium and library that would be "integrated with" and "in the same place" as the collection of living trees and shrubs--in Jamaica Plain. "We are especially disturbed over the Corporation's refusal to let the courts decide the issue," Hemenway stated yesterday.

Dean Bundy, speaking for the Corporation, has argued that it is to the Arboretum's "best interests" for its herbarium and library to be housed with the University's own botanical collections in Cambridge.

The court will probably consider the case in late January of February. A decision against the Corporation would require the return of the Arnold collections to Jamaica Plain. The Association hopes, in that event, to raise funds to enlarge the building there, Hemenway said.