Since 1989, the Peace Center, created and funded through the generosity of Aris Anagnos, has provided rent-free offices and meeting spaces to diverse peace and justice groups throughout Los Angeles, enabling them to focus on the work they do best: educating and organizing for justice. To ensure that the Peace Center would permanently house its social justice tenants rent-free, Aris established the Aris and Carolyn Anagnos Peace Center Foundation. Prior to his death, the Peace Center Foundation Board voted to grant the social justice tenants at the Peace Center rent-free office space in perpetuity. Soon, after Aris died in 2018, his son Demos Anagnos, began to undermine his father’s legacy and take actions that his father would never have approved.
The nondescript brown building on Sepulveda has been the long-time home of many organizations that, without the availability of this space, might not exist. The Center for the Study of Political Graphics, one of the building’s non-profit tenants, has led the fight to preserve the Aris and Carolyn Anagnos Peace Center Foundation (ACAPCF) against the efforts of Aris Anagnos’ son, Demos, to dissolve it.
In July 2020, CSPG created an ad hoc committee of advisors to save the ACAPCF. They secured legal representation from the law firm Miller Barondess to challenge the sale, and with support from high profile political and cultural figures, they have taken the fight public.
Carol Wells, the Executive Director for CSPG has stated “News features about our efforts were in the LA Times and shown on Spectrum TV. We filed a complaint with the California Attorney General’s office challenging Demos’ right to dissolve the ACAPCF. As a result, the Attorney General rescinded permission to dissolve the ACAPCF that was previously granted, and issued a temporary order halting Demos’ efforts to sell the Peace Center building and evict the tenants.”
“A few weeks ago, Demos successfully appealed the Attorney General’s Cease and Desist order before an administrative law judge. This is a recommendation, not a legal ruling. Staff attorneys for the Attorney General’s office filed a vigorous dissent, claiming the recommendation was both factually and legally wrong. ” Wells concluded. “The Cease and Desist Order remains in place while we wait the 120 days the AG has to rule on the recommendation.”
If the AG rules against Demos, he can still appeal. If the AG rules against CSPG, they still have the pending suit against Demos’ illegally reconstituted Peace Center Foundation.
These legal proceedings will drag on for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, CSPG continues the work, advancing the project, and making plans for the future.
Your support is critical to the mission of the CSPG, and to keeping the Peace Center in Culver City. To sign the petition to save the Peace Center, go to /www.politicalgraphics.org/petition
To make a financial donation to the mission of the CSPG, go to /www.politicalgraphics.org/financial-donation
Photo credit – Nicole Scott