Lawsuit accuses Met museum of admissions fraud

 

Metropolitan Museum of Art
(Image via Google Maps)

Visitors to the iconic Metropolitan Museum of Art might not realize they could waltz in for free.

And a new lawsuit charges that is because the museum sneakily makes visitors think they should pay for tickets at $25 an entrance.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, accuses the museum of fraudulently collecting millions of dollars in what it calls an admission-fee scheme.

The museum posts recommended admission prices, but visitors can pay what they wish.

The Met must admit members of the public for free at least five days a week, but they charge fees every day, the suit alleges, and “defrauds people into believing that fees are required for admission.”

Met spokesman Harold Holzer called the lawsuit “frivolous” and referenced earlier lawsuits raising the same “unreasonable questions about a 30-year-old pay-what-you-wish policy fully authorized by the city.”

“We firmly believe the ‘recommended admission’ system encourages full access to the Museum for all, regardless of ability to pay,” Holzer said in a statement.

The word “recommended” isn’t enough, said Arnold Weiss, attorney for the plaintiffs. Two are Czechoslovakians who paid $25 because they thought they had no option, and the third is a New Yorker who bought a membership for the annual free pass, Weiss said.  

“Here’s how they fleece people,” Weiss said. “The signs are deceptive. The big bold print, it says ‘Adult $25′ … Down in small print, if you have eyeglasses, it says ‘recommended.’”

Cashiers push people to open their wallets, Weiss said. “If you come in and say, ‘I’m paying nothing,’ they won’t let you in,” he said.

Weiss said they randomly surveyed more than 300 people outside the museum and 85 percent thought they had to pay admission.

Many Met visitors yesterday paid less than the recommended $25 fee, with mixed results.

“I paid a quarter,” NYU art student Marina Zheng, 18, told Metro.

French tourist Claude Allenou, 65, had read about the lawsuit.

When she tried to go in for free, someone told her it had never been free, and she paid $1.

“The man gave me the ticket, and he didn’t look very happy,” she said.

Upper East Side resident Eric Hendricks, 33, said he paid $10 for two people, and the clerk was “very nice.”

“She was very clear that it was a recommended donation,” he said.

Evelyn Cheng contributed reporting.

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter: @reporteralison

Follow Metro New York on Twitter: @MetroNewYork



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…