The Metropolitan Museum of Art has signed a new lease agreement with the city that allows the museum to charge admission. The change to the lease comes in the wake of lawsuits that accused the Met of duping visitors into believing they had to pay to enter the museum, which technically only suggested a “donation.”
The amended lease states that the museum can “set the terms of admission to its permanent galleries to the general public” with the consent of the commissioner of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York Daily News reported.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg pushed the Met to sign the amended lease, the museum said to a Manhattan judge on Thursday, according to the News.
But Michael Hiller, a lawyer who had filed one of the lawsuits against the Met claiming it tricked visitors, told the newspaper that the new lease was “nothing but a desperate stunt by the museum to defeat claims its lawyers must know are valid.”
“It won’t sell politically. It won’t pass muster legally, and if anything, [it] merely reinforces the fact the museum has been violating the lease for the last 43 years and that it must stop,” Hiller said.
Leases for the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of the City of New York were similarly amended, city officials told the Daily News. [NYDN] – Hiten Samtani