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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Monaghan's AMSL Leases From Monaghan's AMU

The Naples News has an article about Ave Maria School of Law receiving its license to operate in Florida and the law school signing a 4-year lease of the Vineyards Naples campus from Ave Maria University. The license to operate in Florida was contingent on ABA acquiescence, which came in February. What is interesting is that the Naples News also has posted the letter from the ABA informing the Florida Commission that gives operating licenses about the grant of acquiescence. The ABA letter, written by Hulett Askew, states that at their February 13-14 meeting, the ABA "granted acquiescence in the application of the Ave Maria School of Law for a Major Change in Organizational Structure, in relocating the School from its present location in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Naples, Florida. The School will move to Naples, Florida, in August 2009, for the opening of the fall 2009 semester."

The Naples News article goes on to state:
The law school signed a four-year lease with the university to use the property in January. The law school plans to relocate again to Ave Maria town, but there's no timetable for that move, school officials have said.

Ave Maria University founder and chancellor Tom Monaghan also founded the law school and sits on both boards, but there's no institutional connection between the two schools.
Right... no institutional connection.

Again, what's interesting is that the Naples News has posted a memorandum of the lease agreement. The language states that the landlord is "Ave Maria University, Inc., a Florida not-for-profit corporation" and the tenant is "Ave Maria School of Law, Inc., a Michigan nonprofit corporation registered with the State of Florida as a foreign not-for-profit corporation." Paul Roney as Treasurer and CFO, signed for Ave Maria University or Landlord, and Eugene Milhizer as "Acting Dean" signed for Ave Maria Law School or Tenant.

I guess it would have looked weird to have a document where Tom Monaghan signed as both the Landlord and Tenant. (Monaghan could have done that, couldn't he? After all, isn't Monaghan CEO of Ave Maria University, Inc. and CEO of Ave Maria School of Law, Inc.?)

Also, note that Milhizer is only "Acting Dean." That's because Bernard Dobranski is still Dean and President of the law school. Finally, the document was prepared by a familiar Ave Maria Law grad at the offices of Roetzel & Andress. Good to see that Ave Maria grads still have legal work in this economy!