Real Estate

The Museum Tower-Nasher Debacle is Getting Uglier By the Minute [Updated]

The Morning News has obtained an email from Dallas attorney Tom Luce, in which he tenders his resignation as the facilitator in the endless dispute between the Nasher Sculpture Center and the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System.

The email, sent to pension system administrator Richard Tettamant, has the subject heading, "resignation as facilitator." According to the newspaper, it reads, in full:

Richard; recent events have made clear that the conditions and spirit under which I agreed to serve to help find a mutually beneficial solution for all parties are not being adhered to by you. This saddens me because I believe this is such an important issue for our City as a whole together with the financial future for our wonderful police and fireman. From the sideline I will be hoping this situation can be mutually resolved with your approach.

Luce signed on as a facilitator between the two sides in May. He asked both parties not to comment publicly on the negotiations.

His resignation follows a very pointed visit to the Nasher by the DPFP's trustees. According to the DMN, "outside consultants" told the trustees before the visit that the best solution to the reflection issues caused by Museum Tower would be for the Nasher to reorient the conical light-receptors on their roof. That "outside consultant" is Cy Cantrell, a professor at the University of Texas. Cantrell also recently had a cameo in a video produced by Museum Tower , the one that declared the building to be both an icon and a fabulous neighbor.

Pension trustee board chairman George Tomasovic also wants the Nasher to consider re-orienting their roof; he suggested as much in a recent editorial in the pension plan's newsletter . The Nasher doesn't seem excited about that prospect and has suggested this is Museum Tower's problem to fix.

DPFP is in the middle of their annual workshop, where the trustees are reviewing their current investments and discussing plans for 2013. They're in recess today, but will return tomorrow and Friday; they were scheduled to tour several of their properties yesterday.

We've contacted both Tettamant and Luce for comment and will update accordingly.

Update, 1:45: Mayor Mike Rawlings has released an official statement on Luce's resignation, which reads, in full:

Tom Luce has worked hard to resolve the issue between Museum Tower and Nasher Sculpture Garden and I am grateful for his leadership and commitment to our city.

I don't blame Tom for resigning. To be effective, he must have leadership on both sides that are forthright and working tirelessly on this issue; unfortunately, he has not had that. I know that attitude does not represent the sentiment of the Police and Fire Pension Board of Trustees. They have told me they want to resolve the issue quickly because the financial success of Museum Tower, the retirement security of our brave fire fighters and police officers as well as the future of Nasher Sculpture Garden is at risk. We need to work harder.

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Anna Merlan
Contact: Anna Merlan