Posted under Culture
The Trustees have a PR machine that says the Gardens will re-open in a couple years. But what this really means is that a different garden will reopen in a different Conservatory. Not Doris Duke’s elaborate set of interconnected display gardens. They will be destroyed forever.
These Gardens are a labor of love and a work of art. Doris Duke spent years creating them, and would sometimes spend 16 hours a day working in them. She created the Duke Gardens Foundation in 1960 to sustain them. They are being destroyed only 15 years after Doris Duke’s death, on the 50th anniversary of their creation, by her Trustees, who say the gardens don’t ‘represent the best environmental practices’.
[Duke Farms is a] 2,740-acre country estate … that was once the home of Doris Duke and is now maintained by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. This magnificent glass building (actually, one long conservatory and five attached glass houses) is about 60,000 square feet (one of the largest glass houses in America and bigger even than the New York Botanical Garden’s Enid Haupt Conservatory). It was designed by Horace Trumbauer for Ms. Duke’s father, and construction was begun in 1909 and completed by 1917.
When I talked to Mr. Taylor, he explained that shortly after he was hired in 2004, “a strategic revisioning process” got under way to enable Duke Farms to “make the transition from being a minor tourist destination to an ecological environmental learning center.” The plan calls for turning the entire park into a “living green environment.” This will be done by restoring a native meadow habitat, removing invasive plants, keeping deer in check, and providing a 700-acre network of biking and hiking trails. There will be a new “green” orientation center, new perennial borders planted with only native plants, and a number of new educational programs.
This is interesting:
Mr. Taylor categorizes [lovers of display gardens] as being “primarily Caucasian females over the age of 50″
Save Duke Gardens Site (with some surprisingly high compensation numbers.)
The foundation has nearly $2 billion in assets. So, there’s plenty to maintain the gardens.
Wow. The entire following page is shocking:
Last Will of Doris Duke
TEN.B. I direct that the initial directors or trustees of these foundations shall be BERNARD LAFFERTY, MARIAN OATES CHARLES and such three (3) additional persons as BERNARD LAFFERTY (or failing the exercise of such power by Bernard Lafferty, as MARIAN OATES CHARLES) shall designate in writing, signed and acknowledged. BERNARD LAFFERTY (or failing the exercise of such power by Bernard Lafferty, then the initial directors or trustees) shall select the member(s), if any, of these foundations and determine the procedures for (i) the selection and removal of additional and successor members, directors or trustees, (ii) the selection of officers and (iii) the length of term of each member, director, trustee or officer.
As seen above, Doris Duke’s will specified there should be 5 Trustees, and specified her friend Marion Oates Charles and her butler/confidante Bernard Lafferty as the first Trustees. But nothing is that simple.
www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/forensics/welner/6.html: “Dr. Harry B. Demopoulos, a pathologist who had devised a dietary regimen for Doris and her dogs, was among her transient friends. He learned that in an earlier will, Ms. Duke had named him co-executor, but that shortly before her death, she had dropped him in favor of her butler and traveling companion, Bernard Lafferty (passed along to her by singer Peggy Lee). Demopoulos accused Lafferty of influencing Duke while she was mentally incompetent to make clear decisions. He hired an attorney to contest the will.” This website has a book chapter discussing forensic psychiatrist Dr Michael Welner’s work for Demopoulos and other aspects of the case, which on balance led him to conclude: “What he had seen of greedy leeches who attach themselves to ailing wealthy people appalled him. “The lesson I took away,” he says, “is that it’s truly awful to get old in Malibu.”.
NY Times, April 11th 1996: After over 2 years of litigation involving 44 lawyers from 10 firms, a settlement was reached. The new board of Trustees had Demopoulos himself, plus “J. Carter Brown, former chairman of the National Gallery of Art in Washington; Marion Oates Charles; James Gill, a partner in the law firm of Robinson, Silverman, Pearce, Aronsohn & Berman; Nannerl O. Keohane, president of Duke University, and John Mack, president of Morgan Stanley”.
http://www.ddcf.org/page.asp?pageId=333: By early 2008, two more Morgan Stanley employees had joined Vice Chair Mr Mack (Duke ’68 and now CEO of Morgan Stanley) as Trustees. William Schlesinger, from the Duke University faculty joined former Duke President Nan Keohane (Chair) on the board, as did her fellow IBM director, Joan Spero (president of DDCF). At the time Duke Gardens were closed, the number of Trustees had grown to 11 including President Joan Spero. Each Trustee may accept least $126,000 year for 60 hours commitment to the Foundation’s work (public 501(c)(3) tax filings).
In June 2008 the position of Mr Mack at DDCF changed from Vice Chair to Trustee Emeritus.