With its hotly anticipated 200,000-square-foot expansion opening to the public early next month, and a preview for press just weeks away, the Glenstone Foundation in Potomac, Maryland, has been hit with a lawsuit by HITT Contracting, which worked on the building project. HITT alleges that Glenstone owes $24 million that was not paid for a number of changes made during construction.
News of the suit against Glenstone, which was created by Mitchell and Emily Wei Rales to house their formidable collection of postwar and contemporary art, was first reported by the Washington Business Journal and then picked up by the New York Times. The suit was filed late last month and alleges that Glenstone “demanded a torrent of changes in the work”—more than 2,400 in all—“and repeatedly disrupted or delayed HITT’s work,” and then failed to pay for the ensuing costs.
“HITT and its subcontractors were effectively forced to self-fund the project for the benefit of defendant for months at a time,” it reads at one point, and elsewhere it claims that from “approximately March 2014 to April 2016, the owner directed an average of two changes per working day, but refused to acknowledge the time and extended cost impacts associated with many of those changes.” (The emphasis is in the original.)
Asked for comment, a spokesperson for the museum sent the following statement: “We will not comment on pending litigation, except to say that we look forward to responding to these claims vigorously in court, where we are confident they will be found to be without merit.” A rep for HITT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Glenstone opened in 2006 with a Charles Gwathmey-designed building and manicured grounds dotted with sculptures. The soon-to-debut expansion, designed by New York-based architect Thomas Phifer, was announced in 2013.