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Macomb Township Man Joins County Residents in Lawsuit Against DIA

Former state representative Leon Drolet is one of five Macomb County residents to file a lawsuit against the Detroit Institute of Arts claiming they were denied the free admission promised to county residents after passage of the August millage.

A Macomb Township man, along with four other Macomb County residents, filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Detroit Institute of Arts claiming that the museum denied the five free admission to the Faberge exhibit.

The lawsuit, filed in Macomb County Circuit Court, argues that this denial violates the museum's promise of free admission to residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties following passage of the DIA millage in August, The Detroit Free Press Reports.

Former state representative Leon Drolet of Macomb Township, Simon Haddad of Clinton Township, Judy and Dennis Buchholtz of Warren, and Philis DeSaele of Sterling Heights are all listed as plaintiffs on the lawsuit, according to court records.

In the lawsuit, Drolet, Hadded and DeSaele claim to have been denied free admission to the Faberge exhibit on Dec. 1.

According to the Art Institute Service Agreement between the Macomb County Art Institute Authority and the DIA, the museum would provide "unlimited, free museum admission for all residents of Macomb County, including self-guided student field trips" should the millage be passed.

The lawsuit alleges that by failing to provide this "unlimited, free museum admission," and charging for special exhibits, it breaches this contract and violates the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, according to The Detroit Free Press.

"The Detroit Institute of Arts lied," Drolet told Local 4, speaking on behalf of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. "They said with this millage passed that people in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties would have unlimited admission to the art museum. And now they are charging people for what they call 'special exhibits.' That's not what's in the contract and that's not what they said in the campaign."

Should the court rule in favor of the residents, the DIA could be required to permanently refrain from collecting any admission fee from Macomb County residents and award the residents $250 each plus attorney’s fees, The Free Press reports.

The musuem has not commented on the lawsuit at this time.

Susan Happell-Opsomer December 07, 2012 at 05:53 PM
Another broken campaign promise. Didn't voters understand that our money was going to the curator and his cohorts? This definitely doesn't surprise me but it does infuriate me, as a taxpayer who did not support this tax.
Al Basil Sr December 07, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I would take the word 'unlimited' to mean ALL admissions!
Frank Cusumano December 07, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Here is the link to the actual Art Institute Service Agreement between the MACOMB COUNTY ART INSTITUTE AUTHORITY and the DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ART. http://www.macombcountymi.gov/CorporationCounsel/pdf/executed_contract_withDIA.pdf Please note items 4.7 (arbitration clause) and 4.10 (no third-party beneficiaries). These Plaintiffs lack standing, and even if they didn't, any party with standing must seek arbitration. So what is this lawsuit, doomed to dismissal in my opinion, all about? Big splash and then an ignominious dismissal. There may be a way to avoid the standing issue and sue the Macomb County Art Institute Authority under a writ of mandamus action, but this breach of contract and consumer protection act lawsuit is, in my opinion, legally insufficient to withstand summary disposition. 2012-005406-CK BUCHHOLTZ, JUDY vs. DETROIT INSTITUTE OF ARTS THE JCF
The Enforcer December 10, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Hey Frank, it is interesting how you glossed over Sec. 2.4 in that same contract which clearly says. FREE ADMISSION. Period. Knowing this groups history if they get turned down by the Judge they will go onto appeal and win. This is a gross violation of the contract signed by the CEO of the DIA Aren’t you the same Frank that just ran for a board of some sort? Something to do with schools that are in favor of the DIA? Just wondering.
Taxed Enuff Already April 05, 2013 at 04:47 PM
It will be interesting to see where this goes next.

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