The Dallas Museum of Art, UT Southwestern's Full Responses to Wendy Reves's Son Lawsuit

Categories: Arts
WendyReves.jpg
Dallas Museum of Art
Portrait of Mrs. Emery Reves by Graham Sutherland, 1978
Valeri Williams doesn't want to talk about why her client -- Arnold Leon Schroeder Jr., the only son of Wendy Russell Reves -- filed suit in Dallas federal court Friday, alleging that the Dallas Museum of Art and former UT Southwestern president Kern Wildenthal took part in an "intricate pattern of conspiracy and fraud to wrongfully steer hundreds of millions of dollars in assets" away from Wendy's estate before and after her death in March 2007. Williams, the former Channel 8 reporter-turned-attorney, tells Unfair Park that, for now, at least, "the pleadings speak for themselves."

But the DMA and UT Southwestern don't see it that way, which is why both have sent statements insisting that the federal suit is "untrue in many significant respects," per the DMA's lengthy rebuttal that follows. The statement from Tim Doke, spokesman for UT Southwestern Medical Center, is shorter and says, in full:
It is important to note that UT Southwestern is not named as a defendant in this civil lawsuit. Any reference to the University or to the suit's attempt to have UT Southwestern relinquish "ill-gotten" funds is simply inaccurate. In fact, UT Southwestern has received no funds from the Reves estate or from Emery Reves' foundations, directly or indirectly through the Southwestern Medical Foundation, and has received only one personal gift of $6,000 in 1993 from Mrs. Reves.

Dr. Wildenthal is not in the office and has yet to be served with this lawsuit. He has served and continues to serve UT Southwestern with the highest integrity and undoubtedly he will strongly refute the unsubstantiated claims in this lawsuit. Neither UT Southwestern nor Dr. Wildenthal will comment further on pending litigation.
The DMA's statement-slash-history lesson follows, also in full. I see the story behind the suit, first posted Monday morning on Unfair Park, has also made its way into the pages of The New York Times.
Statement from the Dallas Museum of Art Regarding Schroeder Lawsuit

A lawsuit was filed in Dallas on March 11, 2011, against several prominent individuals and the Dallas Museum of Art seeking the return of donations made through charitable trusts created by philanthropist Emery Reves of funds, artwork, and other assets acquired by Mr. Reves mostly prior to 1964. The suit has been filed by Arnold Léon Schroeder, the estranged and only son of Wendy Reves from her first marriage. In 1964, Wendy Reves married her third husband, Emery Reves, when Mr. Schroeder was nearly 30 years old.

This lawsuit follows several other suits that Mr. Schroeder filed in recent years in his ongoing attempt to claim an inheritance significantly larger than the $500,000 Wendy Reves chose to leave him in her will. Put most simply, Mr. Schroeder's lawsuit seeks to enrich Mr. Schroeder and his lawyers at the expense of charitable organizations. On behalf of the citizens of Dallas as well as the public at large, who are the ultimate beneficiaries of donations from the Emery Reves trusts, the Dallas Museum of Art not only has a legal responsibility to stand up to these unfounded claims, but a moral one, as well.

In the current lawsuit, Mr. Schroeder and his legal counsel have put forth a dramatic story that is untrue in many significant respects. They depict Wendy Reves as an ailing old woman who was manipulated into supporting charities in Dallas against her will. In fact, anyone who knew Wendy Reves is well aware that she was very clear, direct, and in charge of her life, including her intentions for her own estate and for the trusts created by Emery Reves that she directed. These donations followed the wishes of her late husband, and many of them were made decades before she passed away, including the 1983 gift to the Dallas Museum of Art of the Reves Collection.

Mr. Schroeder, an American citizen living in California, is hoping that French "forced heirship" laws will be applied to Wendy Reves's estate, thus entitling him to one-half of her assets, rather than the $500,000 left to him in her will. This lawsuit further contends that Wendy Reves's estate should include not only the personal assets inherited from her husband but also the Reves Collection and other assets of her husband's charitable trusts -- assets and artwork that were acquired by Emery Reves mostly before he and Wendy married and that were placed into charitable trusts by him. The suit argues that these gifts should be taken back in order that Mr. Schroeder can lay claim to them for his personal benefit.

Following the death of Emery Reves, Mrs. Reves acted as president of the charitable trusts and foundations established by him, which included overseeing the Reves Collection. She was therefore responsible for the donations of money and art made by his trusts, but she did not own their assets. These trusts and foundations were never part of Mrs. Reves's estate, and the current lawsuit seeking to claim their assets is clearly without merit. Mrs. Reves entrusted the Reves Collection to the Dallas Museum of Art nearly 30 years ago, and the courts should ensure that Mrs. Reves's generous wishes of public benefit, rather than Mr. Schroeder's desires for private gain, are respected.

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14 comments
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster

The DMA is claiming it was never part of the Reves Estate but claims Ms. Reves "entrusted" the collection.So, if the collection was never part of her estate,what authority transfered the ownership? Did the DMA benefactors spirit the paintings out of France without declaring them?That does not sound like a gift.Perhaps they are on loan? The DMA should tell us what part of the lawsuit is "untrue" and why.Is the DMA more creditable than the son? "Generous wishes" is an interesting statement.At the end of the day, the DMA better hope it can prove sufficient documentaion rather than "wishes".

Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster

I think it is curious to note that Kern Wildenthal was in France while Wendy Reves was in the hospital and he returned to Dallas the day after Ms. Reves' death. If he was there ,and her sole beneficiary,why didn't he stop by the hospital and check on her? Seeing how they must be "very close" , please don't tell me he didn't know she was hospitialized.I wonder why he never mentioned the visit , if he made one or why he wouldn't stop by to check on his wealthy donor? Then again, he had already gotten everything and he didn't need to flatter her or pretend she was special.She was probably droped from the University Hospital VIP list after she signed a new will....

Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster

Could we get the Dallas Museum of Art to provide a copy of the agreement between the DMA and Reves? When they allege the son is merely trying to enrich himself,they never say they have legal documents to the contrary or any documents that would preclude the lawsuit.If the case has no merit , then the defendants can obtain a sumary judgement and get the case dismissed. If they can not obtain a summary judgement,then there's fire under the smoke they are blowin'.

Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster

How can you call Kern Wildenthal a "fund raiser" when he is the sole beneficiary of Wendy Reves' chariable trust? Not the university.Not the foundation.But Kern Wildenthal.I have a difficult time believing that Wendy Reves,in a state od dimenia in France,made a call to Kern and asked him and Ed Copley to draw up a new will where Kern is enriched by the new will and drop by the estate next time they were in the south of France ( using "non-designated funds"-funds given by donors to UT Southwestern without specifying exactly where the funds were to be spent). Kern provides an alcoholic sufficient wine/champage to make her intoxicated and then she signs a new will-6 months prior to her death? The only "logic" to Kern's story is that he wanted the money for himself.A well executed search warrant for his Park Cities home may reveal some of the "booty" he has "looted" from the Reves' estate.A Federal Court should clearly rule the last will invalid and force the return of any/all gains already taken from the estate.Kern is a greedy self indulgent sociopath who cares only about himself.I would be embarassed to be related to the man.Donors who have given to UT Southwestern during Kern's reign should request an accounting of how their funds were used.Most of you will be surprised how you have elevated Kern's lifestyle and enriched his personal coffers.Kern said he had given a million dollars to UT Southwestern.The university records do not indicated that is a true statement.The man should be prosecuted and jailed.

Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster

UT Southwestern is "skirting" the truth regarding donations from Wendy Reves. She may have "personally" given only $6000,but her charities provided much more than that to UT Southwestern,such as the "Internation Breast cancer Fund".

Lexicon
Lexicon

Kern Wildenthal and UT Southwestern named again for unethical and sleezy conduct in defrauding someone else for their money. What a surprise! What did Kern have to do to con this poor woman and deprive her poor children of their inheritance?

Johnviramontes
Johnviramontes

A near identical incident, involving the Dallas Museum of Art and the private Foundation for the Arts, is the vigorously contested $4.5 million bequest by the late Virginia Lazenby O'hara, who was, like Wendy Reves, an elderly woman at the time. (More details at Dallas Art History blog www.dallasarthistory.com written by art historian Sam Blain.) Organized by the Friends of the DMA and the Artists Equity, hundreds of outraged Dallas taxpayers demanded the City Council of Dallas a hold hearings on the controversial O'Hara bequest, which they did; all to no avail. These taxpayers were and still are blacklisted in Dallas. Audiotape recordings exist and are available of the Council hearings. Why the Texas Attorney General wouldn't touch it is suspect! Is this a criminal pattern? Dallas arts critic Peter Simek was made aware of the O'hara bequest in 2010. He has yet to publicly address the issue. Why not, is it too radioactive? posted by Council for Artists' Rights - John Viramontes

OakParkStudio
OakParkStudio

Again, I say, The Reves Collection dates to 1983.

That's 28 years ago.

Where was Mr. Schroeder then? It's not as if the DMA was keeping the collection under wraps.

I want to know
I want to know

Everyone know that Wildenthal is a Golddigger and will always be his intenet was one thing to line his pockets with the money of the rich when she has no idea he was smooching her just for the money, poor Mrs. Reeves had she been clsoer to her only son she would have know she was being taken advantage of, this will be the story of the century more bad news for UT Southwestern, Tim he was the President at the time he did all this so yes UT is a part of this and why do you still pay him 1 Millions dollars a year and give him an office well because he is still part of UTWS.

Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster

All of the facts of this case have not been layed out at this point.How can one accuse the son "greedy" and Kern Wildenthal "saintly" when Wildenthal got the new will to Wendy in France 6 months before she died ? The French doctors had ruled Ms. Reves had dimentia two years prior to her death,so did she have the legal "intent" to sign a new will?Why ,of all people, would she appoint Wildenthal sole executor? There are many questions one could ask,but to accuse an only son as "greedy" is odd.French law called for half of the Reves' Estate to go to her son and does not recognize the non profit as it now exists with Wildenthal. The Dallas News ,under open records asked to see the agreement between Reves and the DMA under open records but the courts sided with the DMA. When all of the facts are in,people can decide on agreement with or against the son. What did Wendy Reves' orginal will say?Why did Wildenthal and Copley go to France with a newly prepared will for her to sign?If there is any greed,one may have to address Kern Wildenthal with that question.....

OakParkStudio
OakParkStudio

Where was Mr. Schroeder when the DMA constructed the exhibit with much fanfare and ballyhoo back in 1983?

This man must be nearly 80 now. Who is controlling this lawsuit? The lawyers? His children? And from California even? Come on.

Shameful situation. This exhibit is always a favorite of mine when I visit the DMA. It is a timecapsule and he should be honorable and leave well enough alone.

LaceyB
LaceyB

As a former Californian, even I know of AMAZING trust lawyers to go to. Why would you ever squander your inheritance on a dog and pony show in Texas on some padiddle "French Law" defense?Just one question, Mr. Schroeder. "Is greed good?"

Gabe
Gabe

Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?

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