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Lawsuit filed to block Japanese garden sale by UC Regents

UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden
UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden
Photo by Drew Wilder-Goodwin via Flickr Creative Commons

To block to the proposed sale of the Hannah Carter Japanese garden in Bel Air that was gifted to UCLA in 1964, heirs of the garden's namesake have filed suit against the UC Regents in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The 1.5-acre garden, viewed by the university as an opportunity to raise millions for endowments, programs and professorships, has been strongly opposed by conservationist groups like the LA Conservancy and Garden Conservancy.

The lawsuit asserts breach of contract by the UC Board of Regents for not upholding the donation documents specifying the garden, designed by landscape architect Nagao Sakurai, be maintained in perpetuity.

A spokesman for UCLA said the university "intends to contest the lawsuit," notes the L.A. Times, adding that all appropriate steps had been taken and there was "every legal right to proceed with the sale."

In January, it was reported that the university had started removing objects from the site, and planned to keep some significant pieces -- including a Buddha statue and pagoda -- at the Fowler Museum or other locations on campus.


Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner