NEW YORK (AP) — A New York judge has dismissed claims by museum goers suing the Metropolitan Museum of Art that the Met doesn't have legal authority to charge admission fees but their lawsuits will go forward on allegations that the Met has been deceptive in how it asks for fees.
State Supreme Court Judge Shirley Werner Kornreich released the ruling Wednesday, which dismissed parts of two lawsuits.
In dismissing the allegation that the Met has violated its 1893 lease with the city, which required admission without fees, the judge said the city has approved the Met's admission fee decisions since the fees have gone into effect more than 40 years ago. She said the plaintiffs didn't have standing as private citizens to sue the museum on grounds of a lease violation.
"For those without means, or those who do not wish to express their gratitude financially, a de minimis contribution of a penny is accepted," the judge said. "Admission to the Met is de facto free for all."
She went on to say that forcing the museum to not charge anything and lose revenue "would put the museum's ability to provide the current level of access in jeopardy."
Museum officials said in a statement that they were "delighted" with the ruling and believe it validates the Met's "pay-what-you-wish admissions policy."
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