Monday, May 17, 2010

The saga of the (now closed) souvenir shop at the Matenadaran continues. For nearly two years, the shop has been closed. In 2008, the shop was operating, but not paying artists whose various items were for sale, saying that due to an ongoing suit by the government tax department against the shop’s operator, the money was under lock and key. But the shop continued to sell the artists’ merchandise. None of the artists questioned the operator or workers, figuring that being under the umbrella of the Matenadaran, all would be well. No contracts were signed, as trust ruled. I was one of those with merchandise being sold there.

Today those with claims against the souvenir shop met at a courtroom in Zeytun, as a date and time had been given to appear in court. An attorney associated with the case said that there wasn’t a free courtroom, and passed out papers to fill in so he could present them to the judge. Odd, people thought, that a time and date were given, but no courtroom was available. Or so we were told.

The attorney then said that the case was written so that the five individuals with the largest claims would be receiving money, with the future of the others’ claims still uncertain.

It happens that those with the largest claims are the shop workers and administrators, who supposedly didn’t receive their salaries for several months, and a relative of the shop operator.

As one of the artists involved said, “This gives us a good lesson. Don’t work without a contract. Don’t trust anybody, no matter who they are, and how good their name supposedly is.”

Any developments will be reported here.

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