Attorney General: Richard G. Akeroyd, Jr., Connecticut State Library, 1993-034 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal

November 15, 1993

Richard G. Akeroyd, Jr.
State Librarian
Connecticut State Library
231 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106

Dear Mr. Akeroyd:

We are writing in response to your letter of October 27, 1993 in which you request our advice on the question of whether the proceeds of a sale of certain pistols, the "Van Syckel Dragoons" (the "firearms"), by the State Library Board (the "Board") in connection with the deaccession of the firearms from the collection of the Raymond E. Baldwin Museum of Connecticut History, must be used exclusively for the purpose of furthering or of enhancing the Museum's collections of Colt materials.

Conn.Gen.Stat. 11-1 establishes the composition and duties of the Board. In pertinent part, it also provides that:

[e]xcept when specifically prohibited by the conditions, if any, upon which a gift was created or by a conditional sales agreement, the board is authorized to sell, trade or otherwise dispose of any unwanted, duplicate, out-of-date or irrelevant materials within the collections of the state library, provided that the monetary proceeds of such a transaction, if any, shall be deemed to be funds from private sources. The state library board is authorized to establish a non-profit foundation for the purpose of raising funds from private sources to enhance the collections and programs of the library and the Raymond E. Baldwin Museum of Connecticut History and Heritage. All funds from private sources shall be held in the manner prescribed by section 4-31a for use in furthering any purpose the board considers to be in harmony with the original purpose of the gift or purchase of such materials.

Conn.Gen.Stat. 11-1(d). The Board has established such a non-profit foundation pursuant to the statute. The Board's power to operate the Museum is contained in Conn.Gen.Stat. 11-6a, which provides that the Board "shall establish and operate the Raymond E. Baldwin Museum of Connecticut History and Heritage to acquire, preserve, and exhibit collections and artifacts that interpret the state's culture and heritage and to provide public programs and activities."

Conn.Gen.Stat. 4-31a(a) in turn provides that:

[a]ny gift, contribution, income from trust funds, or other aid from any private source ... shall be entered upon the records of the general fund in the manner prescribed by the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management. When so recorded, such amounts shall be deemed to be appropriated to the purposes of such gift, contribution or other aid and shall be allotted in accordance with law.

Id. (Emphasis added).

As you indicate in your letter, the firearms at issue were obtained in 1981 by trade by the Museum in an attempt to further and enhance the Museum's Colt Firearms collection, which had been donated by the Colt company in 1957. Having now reached the considered opinion that the firearms at issue are not of Colt manufacture, the Board, under its statutory powers to operate the Museum, may sell the firearms pursuant to Conn.Gen.Stat. 11-1(d) and 11-6a as unwanted or irrelevant materials in furtherance of its duty to enhance and improve the Museum's collections and artifacts which "interpret the state's culture and heritage." The proceeds of any such sale must be treated as "funds from private sources." Conn.Gen.Stat. 4-31a in turn mandates that as funds from private sources, such proceeds must be deemed appropriated only for the purposes of the original gift or contribution, i.e., furthering the Museum's collection of Colt materials and artifacts.

Thus, it is our opinion that any proceeds of the sale of the firearms must be used by the Board for furthering and enhancing the Museum's Colt materials and artifacts collection.

Very truly yours,

Richard Blumenthal
Attorney General

Ralph E. Urban
Assistant Attorney General

RB/REU:ac


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