Clarifying four decades of legal vagueness, the Bloomberg administration has amended New York City’s lease with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, spelling out that the Met is allowed to charge a suggested admission fee, as the museum has done since 1971 under an agreement with the city. The amendment adds that fees for special exhibitions may also be charged, a widespread practice in the art world but something the museum decided against in the 1980s.According to the New York Times,
It is unclear what the amended lease will mean for the lawsuits — one of which says that the museum deceives its visitors and is guilty of fraud, and the other a class-action suit seeking recompense for people who claim that they were duped by the policy. Arnold M. Weiss, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in both cases, was highly critical of the city and the Met in deciding to change the lease while the suit was under way.
“This lawsuit’s been pending a year and now in the dead of night, without any public process, as this administration is leaving, they suddenly come up with an amendment to the lease,” Mr. Weiss said. “The process is very inappropriate.”