The mayor of Belleville, New Jersey apparently “borrowed” a 200-year old painting from the town’s library, and refused to return the painting after the library’s requested it be returned.
The mayor of an Essex County town who was criticized for moving a 200-year-old painting out of the public library and into his office has returned the artwork to the library and it will later be loaned to a museum for five years, officials said.
“Landscape of Belleville,” by Thomas Natt, appraised at $125,000 to $150,000, had been on display in the township’s public library for nearly 60 years – until the mayor relocated it. Mayor Michael Melham asked the library’s board of trustees if he could move the painting into his office to protect it from water leaking through a library ceiling. The board agreed.
The article claims the library may not have had permission to loan out the painting, but hey, when a New Jersey politicians wants something, they almost always succeed.
The Belleville Historical Society, which claimed ownership of the painting after it was donated to them in 1962, had demanded the artwork be returned. Melham, until recently, had refused.
Some residents contacted the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General to accuse Melham of theft. No charges have been filed, according to Township Manager Anthony Iacono.
Of course no charges have been filed, just like there were no charges when Governor Phil Murphy miraculously found thousands of ballots in Mercer Country on election day. New Jersey doesn’t get much press, but believe me when I tell you; the state is one of the most corrupt in the country.