A three-judge panel has sided with Johns Hopkins University in a legal battle over the fate of Belward Farm, a 138-acre site along Darnestown and Muddy Branch Road.
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals on Thursday agreed with a lower court’s ruling that the University’s plans were in line with an agreement it had with Elizabeth Banks when she sold the land.
Johns Hopkins issued this statement Friday:
“Johns Hopkins is gratified by the ruling of the court. The university remains steadfast in its determination to develop the Belward Research Campus for the benefit of Montgomery County and in full compliance with its obligations under its agreement with Elizabeth Banks and her siblings. We are grateful to them, as we have always been.”
Banks’ family members plan on taking the case to the next level, to Maryland’s Court of Appeals, Tim Newell, lead plaintiff in the case, said in an emailed statement sent to Patch.
Newell provided the following statement:
"Once again, the Courts have made a ruling
in this case as if it is solely a matter of basic Contract law.
"This case is not about a Contract. This case is about the misuse of a generous charitable gift made by my aunt, a woman of modest means, to one of the nation's wealthiest universities.
"Belward Farm was my aunt's only real asset. It was her legacy. And as the Court of Special Appeals judges admit in the very first page of their judgment, my Aunt 'was renowned, even revered, for her opposition to development in Montgomery County' and 'undoubtedly had a vision of how The Johns Hopkins University could, and would, steward her beloved family land.'
"That vision was the creation of a bucolic suburban campus that preserved the land, as she articulated numerous times. The university agreed to those conditions.
"She never would have gifted Belward Farm to Hopkins if she felt the university would have carte blanche to do anything it wanted with the property, especially create a commercial mega-development of nearly five million square feet.
"The university's horrible breach of 'donor intent' and the Court's failure to hold it accountable for that breach is sure to send a chilling signal to all charitable donors in Maryland and throughout the nation that nonprofits can accept a gift for a specific purpose, and then thumb their nose at the donor and use it for another.
"We look forward to the Maryland Court of Appeals agreeing to hear our case and settling this matter in way that protects donor intent once and for all."
- Johns Hopkins Files Motion to Dismiss Donor Intent Lawsuit on Belward Farm
- Hearing Date Set for Belward, Hopkins
- Updated: Belward, Hopkins Ready For Wednesday Hearing
- Update: No Ruling in Belward-Hopkins Hearing
- Belward Farm, Hopkins Await Judge's Ruling
- Tim Newell Issues Statement Awaiting Belward Ruling
- Judge Yet To Rule On Belward-Hopkins Dispute
- Judge Denies Hopkins' Motion To Dismiss Belward Lawsuit
- Judge Fast-Tracks Belward Farm, JHU Lawsuit
- Report: Belward Farm Successor Opposes Transit Plan
- UPDATE: Trial Date Set for Belward Farm, JHU Case
- Hopkins, Former Heirs, File Cross-Motions for Judgment on Belward Farm
- Judge to Weigh Resolution of Long Dispute Over Belward Farm
- Court Rules in Favor of Johns Hopkins on Belward Farm Development
- Report: Belward Farm Back in Court