New York State Attorney General Letitia James
By Ray O'Hanlon
New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, has signaled that her office is closely moitoring the proposed sale of the American Irish Historical Society Building in Manhattan, a move that has aroused a storm of protest in the Irish American Community and has prompted objections from the Irish government.
In a statement released on St. Patrick's Day James said: “Like so many New Yorkers, I know the importance of honoring the spirit of our cultural institutions.
"The American Irish Historical Society building on Fifth Avenue has been a focal point of the Irish experience in America for decades, and I take the recent concerns regarding the future of the building seriously.
"We are vigilantly monitoring the situation, and I want to reassure Irish communities here and abroad that any potential transaction would not move forward without consent from my office or consent from the courts.
"Irish Americans are an integral part of the fabric of our nation, and we are better off because of their hard work, strength, compassion, and resilience. I firmly stand in support of the Irish-American community and this historic landmark, on St. Patrick’s Day and every day.”
"The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has not received a formal request from the American Irish Historical Society building regarding the sale of its building. The American Irish Historical Society is a nonprofit entity. Under state law, the sale of property by a nonprofit organization is contingent on approval by OAG or the New York State Supreme Court."
The proposed sale, at an asking price of $52 million, has led to widespread expressions of concern, letters from community leaders and politicians and an online petition that has attracted tens of thousands of signatures. The proposed sale has also attracted broader press coverage in recent days with stories in the New York Times and New York Post.