CHICAGO (CN) – Illinois wants to rescue John Lennon’s guitar from the defunct Peace Museum. The guitar and other stuff has been sitting at storage sites, one of which may have “suffered significant water and mold damage,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan says.
Madigan says that since no one, including museum administrator Melissa McGuire, has reregistered as a museum trustee, its valuables should to be handed over to “bona fide” charitable organizations.
The Peace Museum was founded in 1981 “to develop, promote, support and maintain facilities for research, writing, public discussion, creation, and exhibition of works of art, and education of the general public to promote world peace,” according to its Article of Incorporation.
According to its own description, the museum’s “staff members work with educators in inner-city Chicago and suburban public school[s] to teach peace and conflict resolution skills through art activity,” and “present topics of civil rights, human rights, non-violent conflict resolution in individual and national areas.”
In her complaint in Cook County Court, Madigan says, “The Peace Museum received donations of money and artifacts related to peace movements and peaceable conflict resolution from the public,” and housed “more than 10,000 artifacts,” including Lennon’s guitar.
The museum opened in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, then moved to Garfield Park.
Madigan says that in 2004 the museum stopped filing annual financial reports with the attorney general’s office, which canceled its registration as a charitable trustee. When the Peace Museum did not file an annual report with the Secretary of State in 2009, the state dissolved it.
Madigan says five people listed as the museum’s officers and directors as of 2008 had “either resigned from their fiduciary positions with the Peace Museum prior to 2008 or were not officer or directors of the Peace Museum to begin with.”
McGuire is now the sole signatory of the museum’s bank account, which is believed to contain $6,524.55, Madigan says.
Since McGuire has limited control of museum assets because the corporation went belly up, she is unable to get information about the artifacts being held at two private storage facilities, Madigan says. Madigan says that that some “peace-movement related artifacts” are also being stored at the Garfield Park Conservatory in two rooms, at least one of which has suffered “significant water and mold damage.”
Madigan seeks a court-appointed receiver to take over the museum’s assets, pay overdue storage fees, and transfer the artifacts to charitable organizations legitimately devoted to “peaceful conflict resolution” and “the history and accomplishments of the peace movement.”