Danforth Sought as Museum Negotiator; He Would Work out an Agreement between Two Boards That Oversee Missouri History Museum amid Furor over Land Purchase

Article excerpt

Former U.S. Sen. John C. Danforth said he would decide today whether to accept a request to work out a new agreement between the two boards that oversee the Missouri History Museum.

For weeks, the museum has been criticized for its 2006 purchase of one acre on Delmar Boulevard from former Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. Bosley is a former member of the museum's board of trustees.

Critics point to problems in the museum's governance. The museum reports to a nonprofit board of trustees with 50-plus members, and also to a 10-member commission appointed by the city and county.

The commission is responsible for approving taxpayer-funded expenses - about $10 million a year, or 61 percent of the museum's budget in 2011

But critics say the trustees wield the real power.

Former members of the commission have said they didn't learn about the land purchase until after the fact.

In a letter dated Tuesday, city and county officials asked Danforth to "lead negotiations on a new contract that would comply with the law and balance the interests of all parties on a going- forward basis."

The letter was signed by St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, Zoo-Museum District Chairman Ben Uchitelle, Trustee Chairman V. Raymond Stranghoener and Commission Chairman Romondous Stover.

It notes that Danforth is a partner of Bryan Cave LLP, the same law firm that has represented the Missouri History Museum for years. …

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