This firm represents the Homosexual Information Center (“HIC”), and its representatives, regarding the above-referenced matter. Please direct any and all future correspondence regarding this matter to me at my office.
We have received a copy of your letter to Mr. Schneider and Mr. White of May 31, 2002. We have reviewed the circumstances surrounding the events detailed in your letter and take this opportunity to respond.
Contrary to your claims, the materials removed from 909 West Adams on December 24, 2001, were and are the sole property of HIC. The contents of the boxes and file cabinets removed had been housed within ONE pursuant to an agreement between HIC’s representative Jim Schneider and ONE subsequent to Don Slater’s death circa 1997. These materials were removed from space within ONE which bore the name HIC on the door. In addition, every single box, filing cabinet, or other means of storage was purchased by Mr. Schneider and clearly marked as property of HIC and/or James Schneider. This can be corroborated by the USC police officers who were summoned to the scene by ONE’s secretary Jim Morrow on said day. Your current claims that said materials are the property of ONE are completely without merit and lack any foundation.
The lawsuit to which you make mention, ONE Incorporated v. Slater, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. 864824, deals with materials disbursed at the time of the suit’s settlement in 1967. You may be correct in your statement that Agreement of Settlement in the said matter had entitled ONE to certain documents and materials; however, ONE’s representative Dorr Legg received those materials in 1967. The materials and documents you have laid claim to have been in the possession and control of HIC since 1965. Your claim of ownership of these materials now, over 30 years later, is suspect at best. Your further claim to said materials is due to ONE’s “rescue and preservation of documents after Don Slater’s death…” It is highly doubtful that ONE will be able to show any undue effort of “rescue and preservation” of said materials.
After Slater’s death, ONE invited HIC to house its collection in its temporary building at the University of Southern California. HIC reluctantly agreed to house its collection at the USC facility with the understanding and promise from ONE that HIC would be provided with secured office and storage space and that the building would be refurbished and open to the public within six to eight months.
ONE failed to comply with its end of the agreement. HIC was never provided the secure office and storage space. In fact, during the duration that HIC housed it material in ONE, several boxes including documents and historical artifacts belonging to HIC were stolen. Though complaints were lodged, no serious inquiry or investigation into the loss of HIC’s materials was pursued by ONE. Mr. Schneider repeatedly requested that ONE provide a lock on HIC’s space as had been promised. ONE failed and/or refused to provide that security, causing irreparable and substantial loss to HIC. In addition, the space provided was prone to water leaks, susceptible to insects, and lacked climate control required of a professional archives.
This, despite the fact that is was Mr. Schneider who stepped in and finalized the renovation of the building, utilizing his time and successfully acquiring funding on his own. HIC holds written evidence that ONE and its board members were completely aware of Mr. Schneider’s efforts and personal investments in this area, and their current false allegations to the contrary represent a breach of fiduciary duty to ONE and an attack on Mr. Schneider’s character that would most likely open some individual directors and board members to personal liability in this matter.
HIC and its directors have no intention of relinquishing their proprietary rights or their property to ONE. ONE has already caused extensive damage to HIC through the loss of historic materials and by wrongfully laying claim to HIC’s collection. HIC and this office hereby demand that ONE provide a formal written retraction of their claim of ownership of HIC’s materials to HIC, Cal State Northridge, and any other entity to which ONE has made its false and damaging claims. Failure to provide said retraction by July 15, 2002 and/or any further obstruction on ONE’s part, to Cal State Northridge or any other entity or organization, will result in immediate legal action against ONE for causes of action including but not limited to interference with business relations, conversion, fraud, slander, libel, and breach of fiduciary duty.
HIC has ample written evidence to prove its ownership of the materials in question , and should litigation be necessary we are more than confident that we will prevail in this matter. In the event such a course is necessary, HIC and its representatives will seek punitive damages as well as attorney fees and costs. TAKE NOTICE ACCORDINGLY.
Yours in earnest,
Spencer B. Lugash
Attorney at Law