New York’s Attorney General Letitia James has issued subpoenas this week to key members of the American Irish Historical Society following the resignation of four board members.
Those members who resigned were former President General Maureen Bateman, Professor John Feerick of Fordham Law, Guy Smith former Executive Vice President of Diageo and top New York attorney Tom Moore.
All strongly disagreed with the decision of the board to look into the sale of the iconic 5th Avenue building and potentially moving the organization upstate to the Cooperstown region, 200 miles from New York,
Two current board members and an employee who were issued subpoenas will now be questioned under oath about management and other aspects of the society which has long been in the hands of the Cahill family. The current president-general is Michael Higgins Junior, son of Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins.
The Attorney General’s office has been investigating the non-profit management of the society since a petition, signed by over 40,000 Irish Americans, asking for a complete review of the management of the institution which is home to invaluable manuscripts, books, and historical artifacts was delivered to the Attorney General.
IrishCentral understands the subpoenas were delivered earlier this week after the news of the board resignations became public. Yesterday IrishCentral reported that the society had dropped the asking price of the building from $52 million to $44 million seemingly in hopes of a quicker sale.
The subpoenas are just the latest in a saga that has become a major focus in Irish American circles and in Ireland.
In addition, the Irish government is said to be considering its options having given the AIHS a million dollars for development but were never advised of the plan to move the AIHS upstate.
The funding was approved and paid on their clear understanding the government would be aware of all future developments at the Society but that has not proven to be the case.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has called for the society to keep its Fifth Avenue home.
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