Seeking to avoid a breach-of-contract lawsuit over charges it has failed to adequately fund the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to meet with museum officials to settle their differences.
Under contracts dating from 1958, the county is required to fund the operation and maintenance of the museum, leaving the acquisition of art and other costs to a nonprofit group, said museum President Robert F. Maguire III.
But the county's share of the museum's budget has dwindled in the face of ongoing budget woes. In 1991-92, the museum had an operating budget of $31.5 million, of which $17.8 million came from the county and the remainder from Museum Associates, the nonprofit organization that manages the institution. In 1992-93, the supervisors cut $2 million in county funding and shaved another $2.7 million in 1993-94.
"We have to get a level of support that is adequate," Maguire said. "It's not discretionary; it's in the contract." Board Chairman Ed Edelman said he is hopeful that the dispute can be settled out of court. Sources close to the pending negotiations said the county may end up giving the museum more funds this year.