Last week four local, state and national agencies filed a brief in the lawsuit over the control of Island Landmarks, the nonprofit that owns the Mukai farmhouse and garden, arguing a group of island activists should be granted control of the organization.
The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Seattle and 4Culture — King County’s cultural arts agency — filed an amicus, or “friend of the court” brief detailing why the Friends of Mukai’s attempted takeover of Island Landmarks’ board and ousting of director Mary Matthews under the organization’s own bylaws in 2012 should be considered legally valid, contrary to what a King County Superior Court judge ruled last fall.
A three-judge panel with the Washington Court of Appeals will now hear the case; a hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the court’s Seattle offices.
Jim Kelly, executive director of 4Culture, said the agency normally doesn’t get involved in legal matters, but felt compelled to support the Friends of Mukai’s case after watching the current leadership of Island Landmarks fail to maintain the historic site or make it available to the public.
“When you get away from the technicalities and those kinds of issues, it comes down to who is the best possible steward of the site, and I believe it is the people who care about this site and live on the island,” Kelly said.