American Conservatory of Music vs. Illinois Board of Higher Education
Illinois Litigation - 1996 to Present
Logo of the American Conservatory of Music
Litigation: ACM v. Illinois Board of Higher Education
On January 3, 1996, the American Conservatory of Music (ACM) instituted a law suit against defendant Illinois Board of Higher Education alleging that the American Conservatory of Music is a recognized Illinois grandfathered degree-granting educational institution.  The Illinois Attorney General (representing IBHE) counter-sued the American Conservatory of Music. Before January 3, 1996, there was no litigation outstanding between ACM and any Illinois Governmental Agency.
In 1999, Defendant Illinois Board of Higher Education published erroneous information about the American Conservatory of Music on the world-wide web.
Defendant Illinois Board of Higher Education has, together with its employees, attorneys, and agents, spread the following untrue statement:
False Statement: "The original American Conservatory of Music closed in 1992 after a bankruptcy proceeding, and the defendants had used a series of corporate creations to grant degrees under the conservatory's name, even though they refused to seek IBHE approval to grant degrees." 
Source: http://www.ibhe.state.il.us/Media%20Center/1999/19990128_AmeConservatoryofMusic.htm.False Statement: http://www.ibhe.state.il.us/Media%20Center/1999/19990128_AmeConservatoryofMusic.htmshapeimage_2_link_0
But the Chicago Tribune tells the true story in a series of articles beginning with September 11, 1991, (9/11/91 Chi. Trib. 3, 1991 WLNR 3753682):
"Another influence on development has been the growing presence of higher education facilities, which include Columbia College, Roosevelt University, De Paul University, Harold Washington College, the UIC, East-West University, Spertus College of Judaica, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Harrington Institute of Interior Design, American Conservatory of Music and John Marshall Law School."
And another article on January 10, 1992, (1/10/92 Chi. Trib. 9, 1992 WLNR 4154360):
"Leo Heim, 78, president emeritus of the American Conservatory of Music, was associated with the school since 1932 when he became a student there. He is credited with twice financially saving the 105-year-old Chicago conservatory... A memorial service for Mr. Heim will be held at 4 p.m. Jan. 25 at the school, 17 N. State St."
Another on November 16, 1994, (11/16/94 Chi. Trib. 10, 1994 WLNR 4358564):
"Amelia Sligting, 75, a former dean of students at the American Conservatory of Music, received her doctorate in music five years ago after having studied for 30 years... She received her doctorate from the American Conservatory of Music in 1989... She became dean of the school in 1992 at age 73... In the last year, she taught music theory and organ at Sherwood Conservatory of Music."
The above establishes that the American Conservatory of Music did not close its doors in 1992 at all, and establishes that the American Conservatory of Music was open during all of calendar year 1992 and beyond, thus calling into question the veracity of Defendant Illinois Board of Higher Education’s statement that is currently circulating on the world-wide web.
The Illinois Board of Higher Education's contention that ACM "had used a series of corporate creations to grant degrees under the conservatory's name" can be understood to mean that the IBHE and its employees and agents have an intent to cast a serious shadow upon the Board of Trustees of the American Conservatory of Music and its prestigious faculty and alumni as if to infer some kind of clandestine motivation and as if it is some kind of a serious crime for an institution to use its own name! But there was only one motive on the part of the ACM rescue committee; that was, to save the institution and to insure its future!
Did American Conservatory of Music Go Bankrupt??
In late Spring of 1991, the American Conservatory of Music educational institution and all of its assets were transferred to a new corporate entity. Later, in the Fall of 1991, the old entity filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy of the old entity did not affect the operations of the American Conservatory of Music, nor its new entity; yet, the Court Appointed Trustee in bankruptcy contended that some of the assets that were transferred to the new entity were still with the old entity and could be used to pay off the creditors of the old entity. In order to facilitate an agreed restructuring of the debt to the satisfaction of the creditors, the Illinois Attorney General and representatives of the American Conservatory of Music participated in a sale of assets back to the new entity's control and operation, thus clearing the way to the lawful operation and use of the assets, name, and goodwill of the educational institution known as the American Conservatory of Music. The above explanation of events clarifies that the American Conservatory of Music never went "bankrupt" as contended by the IBHE.
Effect of IBHE’s Untrue Conclusions
The IBHE untruthfully concluded that assuming their contention concerning "corporate creations" was true, then the American Conservatory of Music lost its grandfathered status and was consequently in violation of a 1945 law called the Illinois Private College Act and another 1961 law called the Academic Degree Act by continuing to operate and grant degrees. But Illinois courts in other previous cases before the ACM litigation began, have held to exactly the reverse conclusion. The Illinois courts have ruled that an institution of any kind, be it a hospital, a school, or home for the aged, can be successfully transferred to another new corporate entity without ceasing to exist. In another case, the Illinois Court ruled that pre-1945 educational institutions are not answerable to any provision of the 1945 Private College Act anywhere. There are no other cases in Illinois Case Authority that contradict or reverse the mind of the Court, and Defendant IBHE never produced any argument to contradict these cases. Similar logic may be applied to the 1961 Academic Degree Act because of the precise language of the law:
"Unless a degree granting institution...was in operation, on August 14, 1961, it shall not award any earned degree until one year after it has filed a written notice with and until such institution has received the authorization and approval of the Board."
It is clear that the American Conservatory of Music, as it exists today, was in operation on August 14, 1961. Therefore, pre-1961 universities and colleges, such as, for example, Northwestern University, are not answerable to any provision of the 1961 Academic Degree Act. Indeed, even the IBHE admits that fact. Likewise, for the American Conservatory of Music, it was, for example, following its purported "demise" in 1992, and equally now, is, at this present date, not answerable to any provision of the 1961 Academic Degree Act of Illinois because it, too, was in operation on August 14, 1961. Previous cases have backed ACM's allegations that it is a grandfathered educational institution under both the 1945 Private College Act and the 1961 Academic Degree Act.
For example, in the year 1978, Northwestern University was involved in a tuition dispute with several of its students. The students contended that Northwestern University had violated the 1945 Private College Act by making a change in tuition at variance with a provision of the 1945 Private College Act. The Illinois court ruled against the students in the following manner in Eisele v. Ayers, App. 1 Dist.1978, 21 Ill.Dec. 86 as follows:
"In class action brought by second and third-year university medical students against university, challenging imposition of $2,505 increase in tuition, which increase was seven times greater than past average increase, in which students contended that university was bound by a standard of reasonableness in determining future tuition rates, Privately-Operated Colleges, Junior Colleges and Universities Act, which allegedly supported students' contention, was inapplicable because it expressly excluded pre-1945 universities such as university in question and Uniform Commercial Code (ch. 26, par. 1-101 et seq.), which allegedly supported students' contention, was inapplicable because it was limited to sale of goods."
This case expressly tells any reasonable person that for pre-1945 universities (that's the American Conservatory of Music), all provisions of the entire 1945 Privately-Operated Colleges, Junior Colleges and Universities Act, now known as, the 1945 Private College Act (110 ILCS 1005/1 et seq.), are inapplicable.
By logical extension, this case expressly tells any reasonable person that for pre-1961 universities like, for example, Northwestern University, all provisions of the entire 1961 Academic Degree Act are equally inapplicable.
“The Board of Higher Education also has statutory responsibility to approve operating authority and degree-granting authority for certain independent and out-of-state institutions operating within the state of Illinois. In addition, the Board must approve all new degree programs proposed by those independent institutions established or beginning to offer degrees after August 14, 1961.”  Source: http://www.ibhe.state.il.us/Academic%20Affairs/default.htm
So, for IBHE to be successful in the ACM litigation, it would have to resort to fabricating a legal theory based on IBHE’s untruthful contention that there were two separate institutions, i.e. “the original American Conservatory of Music which closed in 1992”, and “the new institution opened by the ‘Schulzes’ who made use of the name of a defunct organization.”  By use of this deception, the IBHE deprived the Illinois Courts of any legal jurisdiction to hear the case and to make a ruling.  The IBHE’s untrue statements of fact were so confusing as to make the litigation a free-for-all Schulze bashing effort, instead of an ordered proceeding that interpreted Illinois law as to the standing of the American Conservatory of Music.
In answering the web of confusion infused into the proceedings by the IBHE, ACM countered by alleging that the IBHE conclusion that "corporate creations causes institutional death” is patently not a part of Illinois case authority. The State of Illinois has had a series of decisions in In Re Fuller's Estate, 294 N.E.2d 313, and In Re Estate of Trimmer, 330 N.E.2d 241, that quoted in agreement and approval to the outcome of another case entitled In Re Hagan's Will, 234 Iowa 1001, 14 N.W.2d 638, which matched a set of facts very similar to ACM's set of facts. Quoting from In Re Estate of Fuller in pertinent part:
"In the case of In Re Hagan's Will, 234 Iowa 1001, 14 N.W.2d 638, the supreme court of Iowa considered the construction of a will where the testatrix had left the remainder of her estate in trust to Drake University and Penn College. Testatrix further provided, 'should either Drake University or Penn College cease to exist, the income from said trust fund shall be turned over to the surviving institution for the purpose above set forth * * *'. Penn College experienced financial difficulties following the Depression. In 1933, Penn College leased its property to a new corporation named William Penn College, which assumed management and control of the institution. The trial court held that Penn College ceased to exist on June 5, 1933 at the time of the new incorporation; thus, Drake was to receive the portion designated for Penn College. In reversing the decision of the lower court, the court found that 'ceased to exist' meant 'cease to exist as an educational institution.' Penn College had not ceased to exist as an educational institution. The change in name was not important nor was the fact that a new corporation had taken over legal title and business management of the college."
This Illinois case precedent tells any reasonable person that no matter how many times an educational institution changes its operating entity, it still remains distinctly the same educational institution and such institution is not bound by the terms of the 1945 Private College Act. Therefore, such reasonable person can conclude quite correctly that:
This web page speaks of the very same American Conservatory of Music that was established in Chicago, Illinois, in 1886.
Prospective students should ignore Illinois' erroneous information because there is no factual basis upon which the Illinois Board of Higher Education can support their wrongful claim. It is public record that the Illinois Attorney General participated in proceedings in which ACM was restructured by the United States Bankruptcy Court under the Honorable Robert E. Ginsberg, Judge, in such manner as to leave no question that ACM remains in lawful operation. Since Illinois does not wish to recognize the precious asset of having the American Conservatory of Music in Illinois that they once possessed, then the great State of Indiana deserves the inheritance of such a cultural asset. The plain fact is that the Conservatory has the right to grant degrees in Illinois, but, by its own voluntary act, has elected to grant degrees under the laws of other jurisdictions. ACM has promised Indiana that it will not ever return its main campus to Illinois.  Students are further protected by the fact that ACM has established a campus location in the beautiful British Independent Country of Belize.
The Illinois Court orders that were issued enjoining the American Conservatory of Music from offering and issuing degrees in 1999, are void and nugatory for want of any legitimate jurisdiction and because the orders were contrary to Illinois legal authority. The Court recognized all degrees granted by the Conservatory previous to 1999 as valid for the benefit of the students.  The American Conservatory of Music relocated to the State of Indiana, in 1999, to protect its students and to ensure that its legal authority to grant degrees and to operate was beyond question.