Johns Hopkins University Takes New, “Extraordinary” Position in Development Lawsuit Over Belward Farm, Plaintiffs Claim
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Contact: Sonia Blumstein, (205) 620-2087 or
Rockville, MD – On Friday, October 26, at 3:30 PM, Judge Ronald B. Rubin of the Montgomery County Circuit Court will preside over the summary judgment hearing in the donor intent dispute between the successors of Belward Farm and Johns Hopkins University. The hearing will take place in Courtroom 10 of the Montgomery County Courthouse, which is located at 50 Maryland Avenue in Rockville..
Both parties in John Timothy Newell, et.al. v. Johns Hopkins University filed for summary judgment in September.
On October 12, the University responded to the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment with what the plaintiffs are calling an “extraordinary,” new position.
“In their ‘Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment,’ Hopkins treats Belward Farm not as a charitable donation, but rather as an arms-length real estate sale,” said Tim Newell, lead plaintiff and spokesperson for the donor family. “Hopkins’ latest position disregards the fact that the property was sold at a fraction of its appraised value and the contract noted that the difference between the value and sale price constituted a charitable donation.
“It is now Hopkins’ view, apparently, that my Aunt Liz’s donation of Belward Farm was nothing more than a straightforward real estate transaction – in which JHU, the now aggrieved party, generously allowed her to stay on the property until she passed away.
“Of course, this is a huge departure from JHU’s previous position. In the past, JHU referred to Aunt Liz’s donation as ‘the largest gift to the Campaign for Johns Hopkins.’ And until just recently, they still referred to her gift as one of the largest Hopkins has ever received.”
In response, the plaintiffs’ October 19th ‘Reply Memorandum In Support of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment’ points out:
“In the past, the Contract effectuated a major gift to JHU grounded in the extraordinary, self-sacrificing generosity of the Owners, as JHU has consistently recognized. Now the gift is portrayed as a sale that was larded with the benefits for the ‘sellers’. [JHU’s] sudden transformation of the essence of the Contract and Deed is indefensible from every perspective.”
After the October 26th summary judgment hearing, Judge Rubin could grant summary judgment to either side, which would effectively end the case barring an appeal. If the Court refuses to grant summary judgment to either party, the formal trial in the case will begin November 13th.
“We’ve said it before, but the fact remains that Johns Hopkins University would not own Belward Farm if not for the generous donation my family made, and that donation would not have been made without the agreed upon restrictions on the development of the property,” said Newell.|