Museum of Science and Industry reaches settlement with donor who sued over move to downtown Tampa
TAMPA — A settlement has been reached between the Museum of Science and Industry and a major donor who sued the museum over its move to downtown Tampa.
Robert Lang, a former chairman of MOSI’s board of directors, filed a lawsuit in December alleging that if MOSI closed its north Tampa campus it would be in violation of the terms of a $1.4 million donation he made in 2004. Lang had an agreement to name a wing of MOSI’s Fowler Avenue building after his deceased wife, Whitney Lang, for at least 20 years.
But on May 5, the two sides reached a settlement after mediation, according to Hillsborough County Circuit Court records.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
“After meeting to discuss the situation, a resolution was reached that satisfied everyone involved,” MOSI spokesman Grayson Kamm said in a statement. “There will be no further legal action involving Robert Lang and MOSI and no more public comments or statements will be made about the issue.”
On April 19, MOSI made official its plans to move from its longtime home near the University of South Florida to the redevelopment project of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and Cascade Investment.
At the time, Lang said the decision to move meant he would continue with the lawsuit, insisting that the Lang Center for Learning would be a shell of itself in a smaller, downtown location. He was seeking reimbursement of his donation.
"I sat on the board there for 22 years and I gave a lot of my heart and soul to MOSI," Lang said in April. "You have a new group of board members, new people running downtown, new commissioners, and all the new people want new things and they just dump the old things by the wayside, so that's where we are.
"I do think it's going to affect (the Lang Center)," he said. "And so I'm going to move forward with (the lawsuit)."
A voicemail to Lang was not immediately returned.
Lang’s 2004 agreement with MOSI also promised $500,000 to the museum from his estate after he died. It’s not clear whether that was affected by the settlement.