An appeals court has ruled against residents of Ipswich, Mass., who sought to block the sale of seaside land one of the state’s first settlers donated more than 350 years ago for the benefit of local schoolchildren, writes the Associated Press.
The 17th-century bequest by William Payne created America’s first charitable trust, which oversaw development of rental cottages on the 35-acre property to create revenue for local schools. Mr. Payne’s will stipulated that the land not be sold.
Trustees sought to sell the units to tenants to settle a 2006 lawsuit over rent increases, but the move was challenged by local residents, who contended that the deal violated the donor’s intent and undervalued the land, thus shortchanging schools.
The deal was backed by state officials, who said the sale would guarantee a continuing revenue stream for the schools, and a probate judge, whose ruling was upheld by the appeals court.