Citing sworn testimony from Charles A. Frank, a Barnes trustee who has given notice of his resignation, the countersuit charges that the Barnes abused the legal system by filing a civil-rights suit with the ulterior motive of pressuring the township to grant a parking lot.
The countersuit says Glanton's actions ``were and are knowingly intentional, willful, wanton, outrageous, and were performed with evil intent.''
Glanton yesterday called the charges ``legal gobbledygook.''
He said the Barnes filed its suit in good faith because the township enforced regulations in a discriminatory manner against it. The Barnes is controlled by historically black Lincoln University.
``Most racists don't like being called racists,'' said Glanton, who is African American. ``Their hand has been called, and they don't like it.''
Paul Rosen, who represents the commissioners, painted a different picture. ``It had nothing to do with race,'' he said. ``It had to do with Glanton not wanting to wait a year and a half to go through the zoning process.''
Rosen laid out this version: Over Frank's objections, Glanton rushed the Barnes into suing the neighbors ``to hold them hostage'' so that they would pressure the township to settle quickly and act in his favor. But, Rosen said, the neighbors and commissioners thought settling would imply that they were admitting to racism, and they held out.
``His bold plan is not coming together,'' Rosen said.
Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley, the law firm that filed the Barnes suit, pulled out of the case Tuesday, said Blank Rome lawyer Richard McElroy. ``I don't think the countersuit had anything to do with it,'' he said.
A federal judge recently dismissed the neighbors from the Barnes suit. The Barnes has asked for the removal of the judge, Anita B. Brody, charging that personal ties to Lower Merion made her biased.
To support its claims, the countersuit cites a deposition Frank gave in April, when he was a defendant in a defamation suit the commissioners filed against the Barnes trustees. Rosen has since moved to drop the suit against Frank.
Frank testified that he never heard Glanton mention any racial discrimination by township officials until two days before the suit - which alleges the racist conspiracy began in early 1995 - was filed.
``I don't know why he's saying these things,'' Glanton said yesterday. ``Of course, people talked about this.'' He declined to say when he had discussed the alleged racism with the board.
``I didn't have to explain to board members who saw people carrying signs,'' he said, referring to a November protest where he said two people carried racist placards.
Frank said that on Jan. 16, he received a draft of the lawsuit along with a letter from Glanton asking him to respond within two days, to meet a township deadline. Frank said he thought that meant a deadline to answer a Dec. 13 zoning violation notice.
Rosen said that Glanton's letter was misleading because the Barnes had already appealed the notice on Dec. 11, and that the letter was improper because it showed the motive for the federal lawsuit was to affect an unresolved local proceeding - the zoning matter. Glanton denied those allegations.
On Feb. 18, Frank wrote Glanton that he had ``serious concerns'' whether the suit's allegations were ``appropriate or accurate'' and believed it would be ``inappropriate'' to proceed. He testified that Glanton told him that the suit was ``a done deal'' and, when Frank said he could not give his signature to authorize it, Glanton ``made some comment about, `Well, I have got three signatures anyway.' '' There were three other trustees.
Quoting handwritten notes he said he took during and after a Jan. 29 board meeting, Frank testified that ``the lawsuit was aimed at avoiding protracted hearing re: parking on the Barnes Foundation grounds. The intent, to bring intense pressure on parties named to get what other institutions had.''
In an interview yesterday, Glanton acknowledged that he had hoped that the suit would lead to parking lot approval, but said it was wrong to extrapolate that that was the only reason the suit had been filed.