AMSA gets hefty arbitration award


Steven Smyth

The long-term fate of the “White Building” is uncertain.

By Alyana Vera, Co-opinion editor

In an email message sent on Jan. 15, Board of Trustees chair Pauline Jen Ryan informed the AMSA community that the school has been awarded nearly a million dollars in a binding ruling by an arbitrator as part of ongoing litigation between AMSA and its landlord.

“While resolving differences in court is never an approach we prefer, we continue to believe this is the right course of action for the long-term benefit of the school because of the landlord’s breaches of its lease obligations,” Mrs. Ryan wrote.

Since 2011, AMSA has withheld a portion of its lease payments, claiming that it was being overcharged by 201 Forest Street LLC for certain maintenance costs. The arbitrator agreed and awarded the school $966,576.

“The money will be used for the benefit of the school,” AMSA Executive Director Dr. Joseph McCleary said. “A lot of those costs involve things like the rent, upkeep and maintenance, purchasing equipment, paying salaries, paying benefits.”

Mrs. Ryan also reminded people that “this is only one of many items that are under dispute with the landlord and that the other matters are still ongoing.”

Those matters include the fate of 165 Forest St., known colloquially as the “White Building.”

“The landlord has breached the mortgage for this building so his bank is now foreclosing the property and selling it at auction,” Mrs. Ryan wrote. “At this time, we do not believe we are at risk of being evicted from any of our buildings.”

Dr. McCleary declined to comment on that and other legal matters.

“I don’t have any comment on those right now because those are still under dispute,” he said. “That’s not really something I can talk about.”