AGMA: Cafesjian Generated Minnesota Lawsuits to Stop AGMA …

Armenian Genocide Museum of America
1140 19th Street, NW, Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20036
Phone: 202-383-9009
E-mail: [email protected]


July 30, 2008
CONTACT: Rouben Adalian
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: (202) 383-9009


Cafesjian Forced To Drop Claims But Now Asserts Defamation

Washington, DC-In another desperate attempt to halt the rapid progress
of the Armenian Genocide Museum of America (AGMA), Gerard Cafesjian
recently added yet another baseless suit, this one claiming he was
defamed by the Museum, the Armenian Assembly of America (Assembly), and
Hirair Hovnanian. This suit is on top of the multiple litigations he
started and has continued to file since May 2007. Ironically, the
Armenian Reporter, the newspaper owned by Cafesjian, previously
published the so-called defamatory material about which he is now suing.

Mr. Cafesjian’s latest filing arrives upon the heels of the approvals
obtained by AGMA from the District of Columbia Board of Zoning
Adjustment and Historic Preservation Review Board, and soon after the
U.S. District Court in Minnesota took action dismissing two of the three
lawsuits brought against the Museum by Cafesjian and the Cafesjian
Family Foundation and transfered the other one to the District of
Columbia federal court. All three of Cafesjian’s Minnesota lawsuits
were heralded in Cafesjian’s own newspaper but resulted only in
unnecessary expenses and a disgraceful public spectacle. These
developments follow upon the latest settlement efforts rejected by
Cafesjian. Throughout this process, the Museum and the Assembly have
sought a sober resolution in private, or in court as soon as possible,
but Cafesjian, who recently switched lawyers yet again, seems to be
intent on continuing his efforts to scuttle the museum. A trial this
year appears unlikely.

With no progress to show after years of running the project, in 2006,
Cafesjian abandoned the museum, sent a letter of resignation, and
rebuffed a request to continue with his "vision."

Earlier this year, he requested $27.5 million to walk away and allow the
museum to go forward.

The new allegations complain about the following statements:

a) Mr. Cafesjian "left the other trustees with serious problems,
unpaid taxes, leaking roofs, unpaid salaries, unpaid contractors, an
lien on the properties, no audits, and compliance problems with other
donors’ gifts, all of which left in tatters a project that the Armenian-
American community strongly endorsed and wants completed;"

(b) "In early 2007, after flat-out non-compliance with the Assembly’s
501(c)(3) conflict of interest policy and after legal review, Cafesjian
John Waters were suspended from the Assembly board;"

(c) "Cafesjian’s formation of his personal lobbying organization,
has caused additional damage;" and

(d) "Taking control of AGMM, [Mr. Cafesjian] failed to fund the project,
mismanaged development, resigned, and abandoned the properties and
project in 2006."

The latest lawsuit comes as a bizarre development because on December 8,
2007, the Cafesjian-owned Armenian Reporter itself published the exact
same language and commented on the October 31, 2007, release by the
museum and did not take specific issue on the above points. The lawsuit
creates the farcical situation where someone who publishes a newspaper
sues someone else over the information the same newspaper published.

"The new allegations are part of a pattern of setting up a smoke screen
to cover up Cafesjian’s own violations of trust and attempt to profit
from self-dealing and other breaches of fiduciary duty," AGMA attorney
Arnold Rosenfeld said. "Ignoring all the one-sided and intentionally
damaging stories about the museum project, its trustees, and the
Armenian Assembly published in the Armenian Reporter, the newspaper
owned by Mr. Cafesjian, Cafesjian is alleging that the attempts by the
Armenian Assembly and the Armenian Genocide Museum to inform the public
about the truth is defamatory because ‘his reputation is of the utmost
importance to his business dealings, both within the United States as
well as in Armenia,’ but the record is clear. The truth never is

"The facts of the matter have remained the same, that is, after his
utter failure to develop the museum, Cafesjian began filing lawsuits
with the purpose of delaying the building of the museum so that he could
recover substantially appreciated real estate without any intention of
building a museum. His offers of resignation were tied to distribution
to himself of this substantially appreciated real estate and efforts to
paint a different picture, and baseless legal filings only confirm the
pattern established by his own record," continued Rosenfeld.

The Armenian Genocide Museum of America is an outgrowth of the Armenian
Assembly of America and the Armenian National Institute (ANI), catalyzed
by the initial pledge of Anoush Mathevosian toward building such a
museum in Washington, DC.



From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS