Jazz Hall still owes money on utility bills
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Friday, October 12, 2012
Four days after telling the Tulsa County Industrial Authority it had enough money to pay $75,000 in past-due bills, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame still owes AEP-PSO $13,496, county officials said Friday afternoon.
The Jazz Hall leases the Union Depot at First Street and Cincinnati Avenue, a facility bought and refurbished by the county with $4 million in Vision 2025 funds. It pays no rent.
The Tulsa County Industrial Authority — which is made up of the three county commissioners — had given the nonprofit until Monday to pay its bills or face possible termination of its lease.
“First and foremost, we are very happy that the Jazz Hall of Fame has been able to pay what they have,” Industrial Authority Chairman John Smaligo said. “However, we had been given assurance that all of the past-due bills would be taken care of, and if that is not the case when we meet Monday, then we will have very important decisions to make at that time.”
The past-due bills included approximately $50,000 owed to American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma and $25,875 owed to the county for downtown assessment and insurance fees.
Smaligo said the county has been paid.
The Jazz Hall of Fame has also failed to come up with the $8,400 needed to put the utility bill in Jazz Hall’s name, as required by the authority. The bill is currently in the authority’s name.
Jazz Hall CEO Jason McIntosh said the down payment would be included in the Jazz Hall’s first bill.
McIntosh told commissioners Monday that AEP-PSO had been paid about $32,000 last week and the remaining $18,000 over the weekend.
“We are in the process of paying the final (portion),” he said. “That remaining balance should be completed today or tomorrow.”
On Friday, McIntosh said the Jazz Hall was waiting on a donation that would take care of the outstanding utility bill. He said he expected to receive the funds today and would then transfer them to AEP-PSO.
“I am not worried about it,” McIntosh said.
The Jazz Hall’s latest run-in with the county over late payments began in August when the county was notified of the past-due utility bills.
Jazz Hall officials said at the time that their cash-flow troubles were caused by the cyclical nature of grant and foundation funding, slow payments from their customers and a misunderstanding of its obligations under the lease.
McIntosh then told commissioners the bills — including those owed to the county — would be paid by the end of the month.
He returned to the Industrial Authority on Sept. 4 to say that the bills had not been paid and acknowledged that the Jazz Hall had only $5,000 in its account for bills.
The Industrial Authority then gave the Jazz Hall written notice that it was in violation of its lease and set an Oct. 8 deadline to comply with the terms of the agreement or face termination of the lease.
Earlier this year, a $3,882 check from the Jazz Hall of Fame to the Industrial Authority to cover half a year of insurance on the Union Depot arrived months late and then bounced.
The Industrial Authority will meet again Monday to discuss the Jazz Hall’s lease.
Smaligo would not say whether the Industrial Authority would consider evicting the Jazz Hall from the Union Depot building.
“We certainly have the option to assert our rights under the terms of the contract,” he said.
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, which leases space from the Tulsa County Industrial Authority, is still behind on its utility bills as of Friday. Tulsa World file