Tulsa County Industrial Authority tells Deborah Brown Community School to leave Union Depot
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
9/18/12 at 8:07 AM
Tulsa County officials turned up the heat Monday on the financially troubled Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.
The Tulsa County Industrial Authority sent a letter Monday to the Deborah Brown Community School, telling it to leave the county-owned Union Depot immediately.
The Jazz Hall has a no-rent lease on the depot, 111 E. First St., and is renting space on the building's first floor to the school as part of its efforts to resolve financial problems.
A letter to the school from Tulsa County Commissioner John Smaligo, chairman of the Industrial Authority, cited two reasons for the decision: The building does not have a certificate of occupancy to allow its use as a school, and the hall of fame's lease with the county doesn't allow for occupancy by other groups that aren't approved by the authority.
At the Industrial Authority's Monday morning meeting, members voted 3-0 vote to notify the school to leave the building.
Smaligo said during the meeting that he was promised a certificate of occupancy by Sept. 4, but he has yet to receive the documentation.
Reached by telephone Monday afternoon, Crystal Keller, development service coordinator for the city's Planning and Development Department, said there were some electrical and plumbing issues at the site but that she anticipated that a temporary certificate of occupancy would be issued by the end of the day Tuesday.
A certificate of occupancy is required anytime a building's use is changed to assure that the structure is safe, she said.
Even if the school gets a certificate of occupancy, the lack of permission from the authority still would be unresolved.
Calls to the school were referred to an attorney, who did not immediately return a telephone message.
Mark Darrah, an attorney for the Jazz Hall of Fame, said the school has 68 students at that location.
Earlier this month, the authority notified the Jazz Hall that it was in default on its lease and had 30 days to come into compliance or face lease termination.
The Union Depot was bought and refurbished by the county with $4 million in Vision 2025 funds.
According to the notice provided to the Jazz Hall, the lease violations include the late payment of insurance and downtown assessment and utility fees totaling more than $60,000.
In addition, the Jazz Hall violated the lease by making alterations to the building and permitting the school to use the facility without the Industrial Authority's permission.
At Monday's authority meeting, County Commissioner Karen Keith, a member of the board, said she was troubled by reports that people seeking to rent the facility for events are being told that they must pay full price in advance instead of putting down a deposit.
Although that isn't a primary concern of the county as the Jazz Hall's landlord, Keith said it isn't standard practice for similar locations, and she is concerned that advance payments are being kept in escrow for the event clients.
Jason McIntosh, CEO of the Jazz Hall, has said its agreement with the Deborah Brown school would help the Jazz Hall make ends meet, but an attorney for the charter school has said it doesn't intend to pay any rent this year because it has paid about $104,000 toward building improvements to create classroom space.
Darrah said he expected the financial arrangements between the school and the Jazz Hall to be cleared up by an agreement later this week.
Original Print Headline: School at Jazz Hall is told to leave building
Wayne Greene 918-581-8308
Tulsa County Commissioner John Smaligo: He is chairman of the Industrial Authority.