PLAINFIELD, NJ — According to a legal notice published Thursday, David Minchello of Rainone, Coughlin, Minchello, LLC, filed an Order to Show Cause, on the City of Plainfield's behalf, in Union County's Superior Court to allow for the sale of two Albert Bierstadt paintings that were gifted to the Queen City by Dr. J. Ackerman Coles in 1919.
The administration announced its intention to sell the Bierstadt paintings, "The Landing of Columbus" and "Autumn in the Sierras," in a 2017 press release that said various auction houses appraised the paintings at a value of several million dollars.
The money from the sale would have funded The Plainfield Promise, Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's educational plan to help prepare children and young adults for tomorrow by: providing every child in kindergarten a bank account to promote financial literacy and establish savings for college; creating a scholarship fund for high school graduates who live in Plainfield seeking to attend Union County Community College, but who lack the financial means; and creating vocational and job training initiatives.
There was an uproar from residents who were against the sale, and the complaint and order filed with the Superior Court to show cause for permission to sell the paintings was rescinded. (See video below.)
- The City of Plainfield Files Order with Union County Superior Court to Authorize Sale of Paintings
- Sale of Bierstadt Paintings, Plainfield Promise FAQ'S
- Mayor Adrian O. Mapp Unveils Plans for Commission to Review Plainfield Promise
But today's legal notice indicates the City of Plainfield is attempting to do exactly what it didn't accomplish in 2017.
Details for anyone who wishes to be heard on this matter are stated in the notice below, and filings must be completed by next Thursday, August 20.
Read the full notice:
NOTICE FOR PUBLICATION On behalf of the City of Plainfield, David L. Minchello, Esq. (#041412003) of the law firm of Rainone, Coughlin, Minchello, LLC located at 555 U.S. Highway 1 South, Suite 440, Iselin, NJ 08830, Phone: 732-709-4182, Fax: 732-791-1555 initiated a matter entitled "In the Matter of the Bierstadt Paintings Charitable Trust, dated October 6, 1919 between DR. JONATHAN ACKERMAN COLES, GRANTOR, and THE CITY OF PLAINFIELD, TRUSTEE" in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Union County, Chancery Division General Equity Part Docket No.: C-72-20.
An Order to Show Cause Summary Action has been entered by the Honorable Robert J. Mega, P.J.Ch. as follows: THIS MATTER having been opened to the Court by Rainone, Coughlin, Minchello, LLC, attorneys for Plaintiff, City of Plainfield, seeking relief by way of summary action based upon the facts set forth in the verified complaint filed herewith; and the Court having reviewed the verified complaint, and the letter brief submitted herewith, and being satisfied with the sufficiency thereof, and the Court having determined that this matter may be commenced by order to show cause as summary proceeding pursuant to R. 4:67-4(b):
It is on this 7 day of August, 2020, ORDERED that the parties in interest named in paragraph 11 of the verified complaint appear and show cause on the 28 day of August 2020, before the Honorable Robert J. Mega, P.J.Ch., Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, General Equity Part, at the Union County Courthouse, New Annex- 1st Floor, 2 Broad Street, in Elizabeth, New Jersey at 9 am/pm, or as soon thereafter as counsel may be heard, why judgment should not be entered:
a) Declaring that the City of Plainfield may sell the Bierstadt paintings and dedicate the money to the "Plainfield Promise, in memory of Dr. Abraham Coles," which will: 1) create a financial literacy program for Plainfield youth; 2) create a scholarship fund for Plainfield residents seeking to attend a college or university, but who lack the financial means; and 3) establish and construct the Plainfield Center of Excellence; and
b) Awarding Plaintiff such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper in the circumstances;
AND IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT:
1. Any party in interest who wishes to be heard with respect to any of the relief requested in the verified complaint served with this order to show cause shall file with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, General Equity Part, and served upon the attorney for the plaintiff at the address set forth above, a written answer, an answering affidavit, a motion returnable on the date this matter is scheduled to be heard, or other response to this order to show cause and to the relief requested in the verified complaint by August 20, 2020.
Filing shall be made directly with the chambers of the Honorable Robert J. Mega, P.J.Ch., Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, General Equity Part, at the following address: Union County Courthouse, New Annex- 1st Floor, 2 Broad Street, in Elizabeth, New Jersey, 07207.
2. Any party in interest who fails to timely file and serve a response in the matter provided in paragraph 1 of this order to show cause shall be deemed to be in default, the matter may proceed to judgment without any further notice to or participation by such defaulting party in interest, and the judgment shall be binding upon the defaulting party in interest.
3. Parties in interest are hereby advised that a telephone call to the Plaintiff, to the Plaintiff's attorney, to the Surrogate, or to the Court will not protect your rights; you must file and serve your answer, answering affidavit, motion or other response with the filing fee required by statute. The check or money order for the filing fee shall be made payable to the Surrogate of the County where this matter is being heard.
4. If no party in interest timely files and serves a response to this order to show cause as provided for above, the application may be decided by the court on or after the date this matter is scheduled to be heard, and may be decided on the papers without a hearing, providing that the Plaintiff has filed a proof of service and a proposed form of judgment with this Order to Show Cause.
5. If a party in interest timely files a response is provided for above, the court may entertain argument, on the date this matter is scheduled to be heard.
6. The Plaintiff must file and serve any written reply to the response of a party in interest by August 24. 2020. The reply papers together with a proof of service must be filed with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, General Equity Part, and a copy of the reply papers must be sent directly to the chambers of Judge Mega.
7. The court will entertain argument, but not testimony, on the return date of the order to show cause, unless the Court and parties are advised to the contrary no later than _3_ days before the return date. A copy of the pleadings and order to show cause is available via E-Courts, by request for records to the Court, or upon request to Law Firm of Rainone Coughlin Minchello, LLC. ($70.52)