The city of Peoria sent the Independent a response to those who are requesting their artifacts from the Peoria Arizona Historical Society be returned to them. Here is the text.
While the city would like to be able to accommodate the requests of people who would like the return of their artifacts, Peoria is merely the landlord of the historical buildings. Loans and donations of items were arranged with the Peoria Arizona Historical Society and the decision to return items must come from the Peoria Arizona Historical Society.
There are two groups vying for recognition as the board of the Peoria Arizona Historical Society and those two groups are suing each other for that designation. While the legal case is pending, the city is unable to release any items from the collection without agreement from all litigants involved in the legal matter who are claiming to be the board of the Peoria Arizona Historical Society.
The city has hired museum collections experts to ensure that items are catalogued, preserved and packaged correctly and will store these items accordingly until the parties reach an agreement or a legal decision. These experts are following nationally-recognized museum standards for inventory and tracking and the city is providing archival quality materials for proper storage.
The situation is regrettable but any other outcome is unavoidable until the third-party legal matter is resolved. Since PAHS has the authority to return items, the city is directing inquiries to the attorneys of the two groups suing each other for direction on how to return items.