I have resigned from ARCA

downloadI have had five wonderful years serving ARCA (the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art), but in any professional endeavor, there comes a time to leave. For me that time is now. I have made the decision to resign due to differences regarding the management of the organization. Though I respect much of the work ARCA has done; share its passion for exposing heritage crime; and understand the struggles of small non-profits; as an advocate who urges transparency on the part of museums and auction houses, I must part ways when my concerns have not been addressed.

2 thoughts on “I have resigned from ARCA”

  1. Derek;

    We share your advocacy for transparency on the part of museums and auction houses and would extend that list to cultural property related associations and government agencies as well. The Ancient Coin Collectors Guild (a 501c4 not-for-profit) has been extremely transparent regarding its views, objectives, programs and ultimate goals. Conversely, ACCG has filed numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the U.S. State Department in an attempt to shed light on actions of the department regarding cultural property related actions. The result has yet to produce any sort of transparency in spite of bold assurances by the Executive Branch that transparency is a priority in Washington. We can certainly agree and understand that opinions on the best way to preserve cultural heritage will differ and do. I hope that we can also agree that secrecy, manipulation, extra-legal actions and purposeful distortion of facts serves nobody well and merely perpetuates a growing hostility between well-meaning advocates of the divergent views. On behalf of ACCG members nationwide and internationally, I would like to say here that your public message on cultural property issues has been straightforward and fair. We do appreciate that and hope that your resignation from ARCA does not mark a withdrawal from the broader cultural property issues at hand.

  2. Thanks for that Wayne, I’m going to continue writing in this field of course. As for ARCA, in March of last year the organization received notice from the IRS that its nonprofit status was revoked (retroactive to 2012). This happened because ARCA had not filed the paperwork and given an annual accounting as it is required to do under U.S. law. I have been urging the organization to be more transparent, hold regular board meetings, go over annual budgets, avoid conflicts of interest, and confront the legal and financial consequences of this, to no avail. Things came to a head in the last month when I urged the board not to bring any new members on until the governance and tax problems were in hand. The response by current management left me deeply concerned and I just couldn’t find a way to continue. Small nonprofits here in the States have these kinds of problems, and the problem would be resolvable. But over a year has passed with no action.

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