Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame pays off remaining debt
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
10/16/12 at 6:08 AM
After failing twice to come up with $75,000 to pay past-due bills, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame has made good on its debt, Tulsa County officials learned Monday.
The Jazz Hall leases the historic Union Depot building downtown from the Tulsa County Industrial Authority. The authority's board is made up of the three county commissioners.
The Industrial Authority had set two previous payment deadlines - Sept. 4 and Oct. 8 - that the Jazz Hall was unable to meet.
The bills included approximately $50,000 owed to American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma and $25,875 owed to the county for insurance and downtown assessment fees.
As the second deadline passed last week, Jazz Hall CEO Jason McIntosh told the Industrial Authority that the bills would be paid in the next day or two.
Authority Chairman John Smaligo began Monday's meeting by saying that the last funds owed - $13,496 to AEP-PSO - had been paid Saturday, five days after Oct. 8.
After the meeting, Smaligo said the Jazz Hall of Fame had not received special treatment from the county.
"I don't think that we were especially lenient," he said. "We followed the letter of the terms of the lease, and I believe that we were fully prepared to enforce those terms if the Jazz Hall had not ultimately paid the bills that they owed."
He added, "I think that the authority feels satisfied knowing that all of the bills had been paid, and regardless of following the letter of those deadlines, the public has been made whole because the bills got paid."
The Industrial Authority also voted to give the Deborah Brown Community School, which operates in the Union Depot building, permission to obtain its permanent certificate of occupancy from the city.
The authority, in conjunction with the Jazz Hall, is working on a sublease that would permit the school to operate in the building.
Industrial Authority member Karen Keith pressed Jazz Hall officials Monday for details on its organization, saying she would like to see a list of the Jazz Hall's board members, minutes of recent board meetings, tax filings and financial plans.
She also made it clear that she expects the Jazz Hall to pay the $7,000 in legal fees incurred by the Industrial Authority to ensure payment of the past-due bills.
"I just think, in the public interest, it would be good if we know how viable that entity is going forward," Keith said after the meeting.
The Jazz Hall's financial troubles date to at least the spring, when a $3,882 check to the Industrial Authority to cover half a year of insurance on the Union Depot arrived months late and then bounced.
At the time, McIntosh described the incident as an embarrassing error.
The Jazz Hall is now responsible for all bills at the Union Depot building as well as any other obligations under its lease with the Industrial Authority, Smaligo said.
Failure to meet those obligations would cause the authority "to have to consider whether or not to enforce its authority" under the lease, he said.
Original Print Headline: Jazz Hall pays off remaining debt
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313
The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in downtown Tulsa paid the remainder of its past-due bills Saturday. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World file