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Merchant Marine Academy cleared to evict group

Seven people have been appointed to an advisory

Seven people have been appointed to an advisory board that will be examining instruction and management at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. (Feb. 22, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

A federal judge's ruling this week has paved the way for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy to evict its alumni foundation from its Kings Point campus, according to the foundation's president.

U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bianco on Wednesday denied the foundation's request for a preliminary injunction against the eviction. All sides are expected to confer Friday afternoon to determine the timeline for the foundation to actually leave the campus, according to court records and the foundation's president, Jim Tobin.

The impending eviction comes after months of back-and-forth between the academy and the foundation, which says it has raised millions of dollars in gifts for the academy over the years.

The foundation has operated on the campus rent-free for 56 years, but was asked last year to leave at the request of new superintendent James Helis, who cited concerns about the appearance of preferential treatment as well as the need for the space because of upcoming renovations.

The academy declined to comment Thursday.

The foundation, which last week filed its suit against the academy over the eviction, has said it suspects it is being punished for being an independent voice on campus. Tobin said his group is hiring movers and looking for office space in Great Neck.

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