State wants money from mrs gardner

Clipped from US, Massachusetts, Boston, Boston Sunday Post, January 17, 1904

STATE WANTS $75,000 ' FROM MRS. GARDNER*Continued from Page 1sioner tMrs. Gardner and the eight nominal stockholders Who comprise the corporation s«tocK owner* reside i«n Boston. Because of this fact practically all the money collected by the State will be turned over to the treasury of the city, thus assisting towards bringing: about a lower tax rate and other benefits.,The Fenway “palace” is valued by the assessors at $245,900. The official book* of the assessing department show that the building is her personal property. The ‘'corporation'' ha* no hold whatever on it* She also haa within the palace walls $195,000 personal property, and upon this she pays a tax to the city. Tt illustrates the queer status the palace held, contributing to the mandate of the Washington officials when the latter rode roughshod over the looaJ qustoms officials.While the federal government* through the local customs officials, recognized the palace as an educational institution, the State tax commissioner took a similar view. Now that the Washington officials ay it 1* not ah educational institution.the commissioner accepts this decision and will pnoceed accordingly.When Mrs. Gardner resided on Beacon street sihe peid taxes to the city on $175,000 personal property. The following year she moved to the palace, and the assessors collected personal taxes on $186,000, an increase of $10,000, showing that s»he has not paid any tax on the art treasures exhibited in the palace. For the year 1903 Mrs. Gardner paid 196000.The figures Show that while Mrs. Gardner regarded the palace aa an institution, and the public was led to believe that it was a public museum, the much discussed society leadet had personal effect* valued at $193,000 within the palace walls.This striking anomaly was called to the attention of the assessors, and the latter smiled broadly. Their hands, however, have been tied. When Mrs. Gardner formed the Isabella Gardner Museum of the Fenway it placed all the imported art treasures outside the Jurisdiction of the State. The corporation did not own the building and Mrs. Gardner admitted having almost $200,000 worth of personal effects. All other effects were •aid to belong to the “corporation.Under t*he laws of the State the Hx commissioner collects a tax on the shares of the corporations incorporated under the laws of the State. Educational, charitable, historical and like corporations aro exempt from taxation. Thus the Isabella Gardner Museum of the Fenway escaped taxation because it was set forth in the article of incorporation that it was to be an educational insttiutlon.No attempt was made to collect taxes for the year 1902 or 1903. The t$x commissioner says it is improbable that he can collect the bask taxes.Chairman Comins of the Board of Assessors said: We have no jurisdiction in the matter. It is purely within the Jurisdiction of the State.Tax Commissioner Trefry said: We have always considered the museum within the class defined as educational. Inasmuch as the federal government has given an.opposite ruling we will act like* wise. At the proper time I shall send a 'return* blank to the corporation.The foregoing facts add another chapter •to the many written since Mrs. Gardner first conceived the idea of erecting her palace. For two years the public was led to believe that the “palace and ail it contained would be the personal property of the noted society woman. One day a Post reporter learned, while working on another line of inquiry into Mrs. Gardner’s Importations, that she was exempt from the payment of customs duties. A rigid investigation proved that this was so. At the same time It was learned . at Mrs. Gardner had formed the corporation that has now become famous because of Its dual character. When the facts were given to the public by the Post a sensation was caused. *As matters now stand the city hereafter wil receive annually about $75,000 addditional from Mrs. Gardner.t H ataiwnlt;tl♦aivlt;Ptiirbhntlt;ondPhMitCiafi8Pni!PWtltltltl + 1