Group Title: Historic St. Augustine: B8-L4 Hispanic Garden
Title: Press Release
Full Citation
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 Material Information
Title: Press Release
Series Title: Historic St. Augustine: B8-L4 Hispanic Garden
Physical Description: Report
Language: English
Subject: Saint Augustine (Fla.)
97 Saint George Street (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Hispanic Garden (Saint Augustine, Fla.)
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Saint Johns -- Saint Augustine -- 97 Saint George Street
Coordinates: 29.894996 x -81.312832
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00091358
Volume ID: VID00034
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution.
Resource Identifier: B8-L4

Full Text


The State of Florida, through its Department of State, and the
St. Augustine Foundation, Inc., have settled the lawsuit filed in
1989 by Historic St. Augustine Preservation Board against the
Foundation. A mediation conference suggested by Judge William C.
Johnson, Jr., of Daytona Beach, who has presided over the lawsuit
since 1989, precipitated settlement of the suit. The Honorable
Melvin Orfinger of Ormond Beach, a former Chief Judge for Florida's
Fifth District Court of Appeal, served as mediator.

The lawsuit claimed the Foundation allegedly held title to
eighteen historic properties in St. Augustine in trust for the
benefit of the Preservation Board. Each of the properties was
acquired by the Foundation prior to 1968. Subsequent to the
lawsuit's filing; the parties determined that the Foundation
actually owns only seven of the eighteen properties. The other
eleven properties were either sold by the Foundation to the Board
or were sold to independent purchasers.

The seven properties at issue in the lawsuit are all located
on historic St. George Street. They are currently owned by the
Foundation and most are leased to local businesses. The seven
properties include the Acosta House, Hispanic Garden, Oliveros
House, Ortega House, Pan American Building, Santoyo House and
Villalonga House.

After conducting a thorough investigation of twenty-seven
years of the Foundation's ownership of properties in St. Augustine
through the business records of the Foundation and the Preservation
Board, and interviewing numerous witnesses, the State could find no
evidence of any wrongdoing whatsoever by the Foundation or any of
its officers or directors. The State also could find no evidence
the Foundation has mismanaged the seven properties at issue in any
way or acted in a manner inconsistent with the purposes set forth
in its corporate charter. But the State did determine during the
course of its investigation there was an element of uncertainty
under the Foundation's corporate charter as to who would receive
title to the properties in the event of the Foundation's

The Foundation's corporate charter had provided for the
transfer of the properties to the State, or possibly to a qualified
tax exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Code or the
Federal Government if the Foundation ever dissolved. However, it
was, and always had been, the Foundation's intention to transfer
title to the seven properties to the State in event of dissolution.
In order to effectuate the Foundation's intent, the parties
determined it would be necessary to eliminate both the Federal
Government and qualified tax exempt organizations as possible
recipients of the properties under the Foundation's corporate

The settlement requires the Foundation to amend its corporate
charter to provide specifically for the transfer of the seven
historic properties to the State in the event of the Foundation's
dissolution. The corporate charter will be further amended under
the terms of the settlement to guarantee that the seven properties
remain unencumbered and to prohibit their sale to any purchaser
other than the State. The Foundation will continue to manage the
seven properties and the rights of the properties' current tenants
are unaffected by the settlement.

The State wishes to acknowledge the significant contributions
made by the Foundation to the restoration and preservation effort
in St. Augustine, including the significant contributions of the
Foundation in the area of historic research. The State also wishes
to acknowledge specially the many contributions Mr. Lawrence Lewis,
Jr., a director of the Foundation, has unselfishly made and
continues to make to the city of St. Augustine and the people of
the state of Florida, and the key role he played in helping to
settle the lawsuit. The State believes the settlement is clearly
in the best interest of the people of the state pf Florida and willJ.
help foster an era of renewed cooperation between the Foundation
and the Preservation Board in their ongoing efforts to preserve and
interpret St. Augustine's past.


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