Suing the Met

July 9 2013

Image of Suing the Met

Picture: Metropolitan Museum

I mentioned a while ago an attempt to sue the Metropolitan Museum in New York for not adhering strictly to a free admission policy. To recap, a group of lawyers is trying to sue the museum, saying that by asking for a voluntary donation (of $25) a New York city law was being violated, and that thus decades worth of visitors are due a refund. Now this attempt to squeeze out a fat legal free class action lawsuit has reached the courts, and a key piece of evidence comes from one Gerald Lee Jones, who, according to Bloomberg, says:

he worked at the museum from 2007 to 2011, mostly supervising cashiers. They were instructed to never volunteer that visitors may pay less than the “recommended” fee, he said.

“Cashiers are not only trained to avoid disclosing the truth about the museum’s admission prices; their compensation and their continued employment may largely depend on them not revealing it,” Jones said in court papers.

Which is all surely phooey, for I remember visiting the museum many times between 2007-11, and always noted how the cashiers said (something like) 'you can pay what you like, or nothing'. It's true that the net effect is to make you feel guilty about not paying the full $25, but the offer not to pay was still there.

The Met says in response to Mr Jones:

Harold Holzer, the Met senior vice president for public affairs, described Jones as “one of many floor managers” and said Jones’ description of his job is “glib spin on his experience here.”

The museum tracks what cashiers collect because auditors require it, Holzer said in an interview.

“It has nothing to do with performance evaluation or salary,” Holzer said. “We at the museum contest in the strongest terms the allegations in the Gerald Jones affidavit. The Met will offer its responses in due course.”

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