WASHINGTON, D.C., November 18 -- Independent counsel Kenneth Starr's involvement with Ann Coulter, author of the anti-Clinton best-selling book "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" and a longtime conservative activist against President Clinton, has been cited a s one of the factors that forced the closing of a century-old downtown Washington museum.

John Edward Hurley, president of the Confederate Memorial Association that owned and operated the Civil War museum, said that a bizarre lawsuit filed against his organization was apparently manipulated through contacts with Michael Troy, clerk to Judge John H. Bayly, Jr., who is hearing the case in D.C. Superior Court.

According to Hurley, Troy was working for Coulter when a plot was hatched to sue -- in addition to the corporation -- each individual member of the Confederate Memorial Association's board of trustees, which included senior White House Correspondent Sarah McClendon. The 88-year-old McClendon was served with the court p apers in her room at the Veterans Administration hospital complex.

Not only did Judge Bayly allow this lawsuit to be appended to another 10-year-old lawsuit, but the judge froze the funds of the organization, an action that cannot be verified beca use the court audiotape of the proceeding has been "lost" and no transcript is available.

After the funds were frozen and each individual member of the board that supported Hurley was sued, an election was demanded. Hurley held the annual mee ting at the National Press Club, where he was re-elected as chairman and president of the organization.

Other connections with Starr that Hurley claims are not accidental include the opinion that Judge David Sentelle wrote against Hurley in anoth er case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Sentelle heads the three-judge panel that appointed Starr as independent counsel.

Moreover, Hurley said that a lawyer for Kirkland & Ellis, Starr's law firm, had visited the mus eum under the ruse that they were interested in renting the facility for a social event.

The Rutherford Institute, which paid $400,000 for Paula Jones legal bills, and a government computer contractor who gave large political donations to Sta rr's political allies were cited as additional evidence of Starr's involvement.

Hurley said it was clear to him that the reason for the court action against him was his refusal to use the facility, known as Confederate Memorial Hall, as a politi cal base for extremists.