Saturday, March 19, 2016

Court: Demolition of Doris Duke mansion can resume

In this Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015 file photo, a portion of the sprawling main mansion of the Duke Farms estate that tobacco heiress Doris Duke once called home is seen in Hillsborough, NJ.

Demolition work will now be allowed to resume at a historic New Jersey mansion once owned by tobacco heiress and socialite
Doris Duke.

Associated Press reporter Bruce Shipkowski writes:

A state appellate court on Friday removed an emergency stay that was issued March 6 at the request of a community group that's been fighting for months to stop the work. The panel said the group failed to show "a reasonable probability of ultimate success" with their case against The Duke Farms Foundation.

It wasn't clear Saturday when the demolition work would resume. A large portion of the Hillsborough Township mansion had been torn down the day before the emergency stay was issued earlier this month.

"We are grateful that the courts agreed with us," Michael Catania, the foundation's executive director, said Saturday. "We are hoping to get started again (on the demolition) in the near future, but we haven't set a schedule yet."

The 67,000-square-foot mansion has been empty since Duke's death in 1993. Foundation officials say it is in disrepair and would take at least $10 million to fix.

David Brook, a lawyer and a leader of the community group Demolition of Residence is Senseless, or DORIS, said the group has the option to take its case for an emergent motion to the New Jersey Supreme Court. However, he said that was not likely to happen.

"This is a sad day for us, for Hillsborough, for everyone involved," in this matter, Brook said Saturday.


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