Paramount Board to Dissolve, Clear Way for New Management Team

The current Paramount board of directors filed papers to dissolve last week. Details on refunds for tickets customers are still being worked out.

PEEKSKILL, NY – The board of the Paramount Center for the Arts is moving to dissolve its operations, officials announced today.

A petition was filed in state Supreme Court Friday and comes at a time when Peekskill officials are actively seeking proposals from new management teams. Peekskill city officials are hopeful that new theater operator will be in place for the theater by February.

The Paramount’s Board of Director’s announced the theater was temporarily closing  its doors on Oct. 3 due to financial difficulties. In September, the Paramount held a fundraising campaign for $300,000 in order to make up for cuts in grants and other contributions, but raised less than 10 percent of its goal.

“The Board of Trustees and the dedicated staff did everything humanly possible to keep the marquee lit and the theater operational amid immense financial challenges,” said Vincent Vesce, president of the Paramount’s board of directors. “The Board wants to thank them, our sponsors, supporters, patrons and the community-at-large for their support of this most important institution over the last 30 years and for their understanding during this transition.  This amazing performance venue should never be taken for granted in the future.  Admire it, enjoy it, but most importantly, support it.  As we have done throughout this process, we remain committed to helping the City reopen the Paramount as soon as possible.” 

The 1,025-seat theater was built in 1930, during the Great Depression and was owned by the Paramount until it was  sold to a private party in 1973. The City of Peekskill acquired the structure through a tax lien in 1977 and executed an agreement with the current board to lease, manage and operate the facility.

The theater is currently working with the city and the state Office of the Attorney General to come up with a plan to reimburse people who purchased tickets for shows scheduled after Oct. 3.

 Anthony Quinn, the attorney representing the Paramount’s Board of Directors, said his clients ability to pay back ticket holders was hampered by the city’s decision to seek new management. Quinn said the board still has some assets inside the theater that it plans to liquidate and use to refund ticket payments.

Quinn said the city is also working with the board to on a solution for ticket refunds once a new management team is in place.

RFP Process Outlined

City officials plan to give a tour of the theater to prospective operators on Nov. 29.

 James Slaughter, Peekskill’s economic development specialist, said the city will take a look at proposal from for-profit and nonprofit groups. The city will look to make a profit off the new lease agreement and new operators will be responsible for maintenance and utilities.

 Operators will also be required to hold a minimum of 100 performances for each calendar year, including dance, plays and other live entertainment

 It’s not clear how many of those performances will be allotted for community events and productions. 

A lot of those discussions will be had as we meet with interested parties and see what they’re proposing,” Slaughter said.

Slaughter said a few dozen groups have already come forward and expressed interest in the proposal. A copy of the RFP can be seen in the PDF attached to this story.

Patty Villanova November 21, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Just like Vesce & Co. to blame the long-suffering taxpayers who contributed millions to the Paramount for not "supporting" the theater. Meanwhile, generations of politicians refused to even look at the mismanagement that was obvious to anyone with half a brain. The business owners, taxpayers and other stakeholders deserve to find out what happened to their money and their needs to be an audit by the State Comptroller's office and/or AG as was done with the BID. The entire Downtown community depends on the Paramount for a regular influx of paying customers. There is no other venue that can bring in over 1000 people in one night who are spending money. Let's face it, the local residents who live in the projects and subsidized housing and who are the only people allowed to live in the Downtown thanks to the worst zoning laws in Westchester, are not interested in attending events at the theater or going out to dinner. I guess food stamps don't cover meals at Restaurant Row.
paula November 21, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Are you actuallyt faulting low income peoople for 'not being interested in attending events or going out to dinner'??????????????????? If you are low income, you can't afford ticket prices.. that doesn't mean you're not interested. As for not going out to dinner.. that's not affordable on a limited income either. I am not on food stamps but I cannot afford ticket prices and dinner out. How dare you put down those on food stamps as not supporting a theatre. What reality do you live in? People who are retired, disabled, on pensions..may be on food stamps too. Elderly, veterans.. there are other groups other than those you think are the only ones on food stamps! There are more people on food stamps because there are more people out of work - plus, more people over the age of retirement who cannot live on social security alone! Don't attack the poor for not supporting the theatre. Oh, and food stamps don't pay for meals at restaurants, so you're last remark is just ignorant and inflammatory. You're casting your stones in the wrong direction.
paula November 21, 2012 at 03:28 PM
*your* last remark, not 'you're'
paula November 21, 2012 at 04:34 PM
you should read this article and especially the comments regarding surviving on food stamps: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/11/20/cory-booker-challenges-tea-partier-to-live-on-food-stamps-for-a-week/ Happy Thanksgiving
Patty Villanova November 21, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Paula completely misunderstood my comments about the Paramount and the plight of the poor residents of Downtown Peekskill who use food stamps and can't afford to go out at night to bars and restaurants. I understand that in today's brave new world of Obama phones and government goodies of all sorts, it must seem unbearaly cruel not to be able to get free entertainment locally if you're one of the 47% who depends on such largesse for their existence. My point was that because these financiallly challenged local folks arguably do not shop or go out to the theater, the merchants and business owners depend entirely on outsiders for their patronage. Thus it was a heavy blow when the biggest draw for the tourists, namely the Paramount, closed its doors and left them with an audience of people who have no interest or ability to become their customers. It's just a fact of life in Downtown Peekskill as anyone who's ever tried to run a retail establishment can tell you. Until the Powers that Be implement the suggestions of their own consultants and change the zoning to permit more affluent workers to reside in the business district, there's no way things will get better.
paula November 21, 2012 at 08:07 PM
No, I didn't misunderstand you. Your own words show your disdain and ignorance of the poor and services available to them. As for "Obama phones" as you put it, Lifeline service was implemented in 1984 under RONALD REAGAN. It was expanded under Clinton and then againin 2008 under GEORGE W BUSH. It only covers monthly discounts on landline or wireless telephone SERVICE for eligable customers. It does not pay for cell phones although some providers choose to offer that to their customers. Here is the link with the information: http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/cellphone.asp As for this obnoxious and sarcastic comment, " government goodies of all sorts, it must seem unbearaly cruel not to be able to get free entertainment locally if you're one of the 47% who depends on such largesse for their existence." GET A GRIP LADY - Your hatred is showing.
paula November 21, 2012 at 08:09 PM
More affluent workers living in the business district? Lady, Peekskill has been rebuilding and on the upswing since (at least) I was in High School - and that was over 30 years ago.
Patty Villanova November 21, 2012 at 08:32 PM
No Paula, not hatred, just realism. Honestly, I don't understand why you're getting so bent out of shape and emotional about the true state of affairs in Downtown Peekskill. Have you ever had a business there? Do you know anyone who does? Do you yourself know the first thing about financing and running a successful small business? I can't believe that you're so caught up in racial stereotypes that you want to deny the obvious: downtown businesses depend almost entirely on non-residents for their customer base. Most of the locals simply don't shop or dine Downtown, mostly because as you pointed out, people on food stamps who live in subsidized housing can't afford to do so. And if you think that is hateful, well, that's on you, not me.
paula November 21, 2012 at 08:49 PM
Your own words show you to be a bigot. and biiter, and ignorant. A quick google shows you to be a very horrid person. Thats on you, not me. Perhaps you SHOLULD move to Texas. Oh, and you were'nt/aren't happy with Cold Spring either, guess you're not a good business person in any town. As for me getting 'bent'.. lol, I countered your hatred with facts, you countered with.. nothing. Romney lost on that 47% line.. he LOST. Get over it.
Patty Villanova November 21, 2012 at 10:07 PM
How sad that not only the once great City of Peeskill but also the soon to be unrecognizable great Republic of the USA are quickly being destroyed by the likes of the anonymous coward "paula" who finds it much easier to call names and shoot the messenger(figuratively speaking) than to engage in a meaningful dialog with anyone who disagrees with her world view. Getting back on topic which is the Paramount and how city government allowed this cultural icon to get to the place where it's at now- facts are stubborn things and I defy "paula" or any of her ilk to disprove the situation I have outlined. The Paramount primarily depended on support from taxpayers and those outside the community who bought tickets and made donations. It is also a fact that due to the restrictive zoning that exists, upscale workers with better paying jobs are simply not permitted to live within the boundaries of the downtown business district. This isn't something that I came up with on my own, it's in the City's own Retail Recruitment study that was done by a professional consulting firm. There was a copy on the city's website and I suggest that if you honestly want to gain some knowledge and understanding about the Downtown, this study is must reading. On the other hand,that may not be what you're interested in.
paula November 21, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Your words: "I wish I could move to Texas. NY is like living in Ameritopia. The only thing keeping this state solvent is NYC. Most of upstate above a 100 mile radius is in poverty thanks to these EnviroFascists. The big joke is on them- looked what happened to the Manhattan libs during hurricane Sandy when they had to live off the grid for a few days. If it had lasted much longer they would have been eating their young." Patty Villanova WOW.
Patty Villanova November 21, 2012 at 10:22 PM
I didn't know you were a fan.
Bob November 22, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Patty constantly references her experience as having operated a business in Peekskill. We all know her business failed but not because of the Paramount or any incompetence on the behalf of City Hall (Foster, Vesci etc.). The fact is that people didn’t care for her merchandise and frankly didn’t care much for her either. I had the displeasure of buying earrings for my wife in her shop several years ago. Didn’t know who she was at the time. The energy she brings to this comment page also permeated her store. In a word, miserable! My 9-year-old Son who joined me that day got the creeps from her. We never went back and I am apparently the coveted non-Peekskill customer she was hoping to attract. Patty. At some point one would hope you’d take a long hard look at yourself and recognize how transparent your crazy hostile screeds have become. Put this energy into making yourself a better person. Success will follow and perhaps you’ll be less inclined to keep revisiting what was clearly a painful period in you life.
Patty Villanova November 22, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Aside from its similarity to an episode of Oprah, this is the level of political discourse in Peekskill: bullying, denial and denigration. Don't let the truth get in the way and instead resort to name calling and intimidation by cowards who have to hide behind make believe pen names. I'd really love to know what they are afraid of that they feel so threatened by anyone who disagrees with their political beliefs.
Bob November 22, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Like Paula said. Wow!!
Frank a Catalina November 22, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Patti, thanks for an uplifting inspirational piece of prose. It's is exactly what we (Peekskill as a whole) do NOT need on thanksgiving eve! There may be a time for finger pointing (then again, hopefully not) but now certainly is not the time...but you have the right to say whatever is on your mind... I just wish I had not read it and became sick in the stomach on thanksgiving morning! Try to have a nice holiday.
Patty Villanova November 22, 2012 at 04:22 PM
If you lift up a rock in Peekskill, one never knows what sort of creatures will come scurrying out from under it, metaphorically speaking of course. In the last few years there have been a few brave souls with integrity and the courage of their convictions who have spoken up about the problems that affect this beautiful city. They have done so online (using their real names) and in public at meetings and in doing so have jeopardized themselves and even their families by doing so. These are people who actually love Peekskill (as I do) and who have a lot invested here. The universal response is for the soldiers of the Regime to come out swinging on behalf of their puppet masters, and to try and tear down those people through name calling and often vile insinuations about their character. If that doesn't work, then stronger measures are used such as SLAPP suits and other actions that are enough to scare off even the most stalwart dissidents. You see, there is a penalty for speaking out, no matter what the motive; the people in power, in the background, will not tolerate any disagreement. Everyone is supposed to hold hands in a circle and sing Kumbayah and keep repeating the mantra "things would be great in Peekskill if only those nasty people would keep their mouths shut." Well here's wishing all the detractors a happy & joyous Thanksgiving; hope there's plenty of Koolaid to go around.
paula November 26, 2012 at 08:51 PM
you are crazy lady. just saw another post from you on LoHud. Crazy.


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