Image via The City Project
Just because a bunch of women, mostly older, have a nice arts-supporting social club where they get together and have luncheons and meditation workshops, don't assume they can't get a little cutthroat too. Some members of the 106 year old Woman's Club of Hollywood are accusing other members of staging a club coup, possibly so they can turn its clubhouse at La Brea and Yucca into condos. A few years ago, members Nina Van Tassell and Jennifer Morgan started spreading rumors that preservation group Hollywood Heritage wanted to take over the club, raze it, and put up condos for some reason, according to the New York Times. Part of the property was originally the Hollywood School for Girls (students included Jean Harlow, teachers included Edith Head), which was built in 1904 and is a city historic-cultural monument, according to the club's website. The part used today as the clubhouse was built in 1947 and designed by Arthur E. Harvey.
Last year, Van Tassell appointed herself president of the Woman's Club, then hired Morgan to run the place. Members say that Morgan asked for $100,000 a year and a $300 a week expense account, and that it's really these two who want to put up condos on the site. Club officials including Morgan are trying to evict a woman who has lived in a house on the property for 16 years.
Last year, several former Woman's Club presidents filed a lawsuit against Van Tassell and a judge ruled that the club's elections needed a court-appointed overseer. In response, Van Tassell and Morgan filed for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy judge is not buying it, though, saying "this is not a bankruptcy case, this is an internal fight."
Last year, the NYT covered the plight of the Hancock Park women's club, the Ebell Club, which has the very innocent-in-comparison problem of having a tough time recruiting members.
· A Fixture of Hollywood’s Past, Now Tarnished by Internal Strife [NYT]