[UPDATE] Peekskill Officials to Search for New Management at Paramount Building

Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster said the locks have been changed to the building for the Paramount Center for the Arts and the city's Corporation Council is working on RFP for new management at the space.

UPDATE, 11:05 a.m.:

This excerpt came from a press release that was just emailed by Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster:

While the City is moving immediately to get the theater operational again, officials are still waiting for a response from the existing board of directors of the Paramount Center for the Arts as to their plan to satisfy their existing financial obligations.

On Oct. 5, the City sent a written request to the board of directors to submit a written reorganization plan by Oct. 19.  As a registered not-for-profit agency in New York State, the board of directors of the Paramount Center for the Arts is required to provide a final financial audit to the state.

The City of Peekskill is not responsible for any financial obligations incurred by the current operator, the Paramount Center for the Arts, and all inquiries related to its obligations should be directed to their board and its president. 



Have experience running an 82-year-old performing arts center?

Peekskill city officials said they are searching for new management to run the Paramount Center for the Arts after the theater’s board of directors announced the facility was going on a hiatus earlier this month.

“Our corporation council has been dealing with the hired attorney’s of the Paramount board and the  staff is working on developing a RFP that will go out for proposal in a very wide circle to see what proposal we’ll get back,” Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster said during Monday’s common council meeting.

Paramount officials made the announcement following a September fundraising campaign in which  the goals was to raise $300,000. Vincent Vesce, the board president, said the money was needed to make up for a decrease in grants, sponsorships and other contributions.

According to the Paramount’s last filing with the state Charities Bureau on Aug. 31, 2011, the theater recorded a little more than $1,758,202 in expenses and $1,379,380 in revenues.

The Paramount has a deal in place to lease the building from the City of Peekskill for a dollar a year through 2033.

“There is a legal process to go through when the Paramount just announced on Oct. 3 that they were ceasing operations to getting this point—and getting control of the building,” Foster said.

Foster said locks to the building have been changed and the corporation council is working the Paramount’s attorney’s to determine what assets still exist in the building, what assets belong to the city and what assets belong to the Paramount. This information is necessary to determine what goes inside the RFP that’s sent out, according to Foster.

“Their [the Paramount’s] financial obligations are their  financial obligations and they are working with their attorney’s on how they will deal with their obligations that they have to ticket holders, artists who have been cancelled, businesses, etc.,” Foster said.

RealTimeRufus October 23, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Do they have any snacks lying around? I'll buy them for half price. Good for Halloween distro. I'm surprised Mary hasn't hired a consultant to evaluate the options here. REAL TIME 4 MAYOR "He'll Bring Back Donny Osmond"
leesther brown October 23, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Dee October 23, 2012 at 08:35 PM
"According to the Paramount’s last filing with the state Charities Bureau on Aug. 31, 2011, the theater recorded a little more than $1,758,202 in expenses and $1,379,380 in expenses." Huh??
Katie Schmidt Feder October 23, 2012 at 09:01 PM
There is an error in your paragraph: "According to the Paramount’s last filing with the state Charities Bureau on Aug. 31, 2011, the theater recorded a little more than $1,758,202 in expenses and $1,379,380 in expenses." Should read "$1,379,380 in revenues" - showing a loss over over $350K. As the Paramount was run by a nonprofit - anyone is entitled to view their 990 nonprofit tax return at www.guidestar.com. You will see there that the $300K deficit had been around since 2010. The 990 does not, however, support Mr. Vesce's claim that there had been a decrease in contributions, grants and sponsorships as the 990 states that charitable contributions in 2009 were $382,715 and in 2010 were $513,526. This was an INCREASE of $130,811. There is a decrease in program (ticket) revenues in 2010 and you can see that there was a cut back in salaries and expenses which seemed like an attempt at fiduciary responsibility. I do not understand why the Paramount lists "Buildings" valued over $1 million dollars (that is depreciated value - the original cost: over $2 million). If the Paramount org was leasing the building from the city for $1 a year (with an INSANE 20-year lease!) why do the list a building as an asset? Where is THAT building and what will become of that asset? When a nonprofit dissolves - it must distribute all its assets to another nonprofit. A nonprofit is obligated to be transparent - so the Paramount Org should be forthcoming with information.
Rasheed Oluwa (Editor) October 23, 2012 at 09:06 PM
I apologize for the error. The paragraph has been fixed.
Patty Villanova October 24, 2012 at 01:40 AM
There's so much more here than meets the eye. The City/taxpayers own the building yet the board /non profit was leasing it for $1 dollar a year. Can anyone explain why there was no oversight and how Vesce & Co. got away with such mismanagement?
peekskillman October 24, 2012 at 02:21 AM
you answered your own question, Ms V--"Vesce & Co" Incomprehensible that this board had no maintenance, less than a dime a month rent, reduced utility rates, endless donations and corporate sponsorships, and City subsidies, yet got the Paramount (read City and taxpayers) in the red for over $400K. An investigation into this board is warranted to see where the money went; is the DA around??
john basic October 24, 2012 at 02:30 AM
So, who are the people that are owed the $300,000.00+. Also, the $300,000.00 did not arrive overnight. Did the board not realize there was a problem when the deficit was $50,000.00, $75,000.00 or $100,000.00?. Can charges be brought against the board? Questons that need to be answerd by someone.
joshua tanner October 24, 2012 at 02:51 AM
People bought tickets in advance and need returns. Some shows probably had cancellation penalities. Then there are staff payments, benefits, utiltities, caterers etc. 300k isn't an unusually large amount to owe when a 1k seat theater closes in middle of season. While I know the Paramount has issues I think people are working the nefaious angles too hard. The Yankees had empty seats for the playoffs. A lot of things aren't doing well. I for one don't care the city owns the building and rents to a non-profit because it was going to be knocked down and made into a parking lot (or roller rink was another idea). The place did survive in the caboose of Westchester County for over 20 years. They could have done better over the years but they aren't run by the mafia
john basic October 24, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I wonder if money is owed to shows, they can sue the city? I guess not because they only rent it to the Paramont Center for the Arts. It's hard toimagine that a private organization could make it work if the current board could not with a dollar a year rent. How could expenses be almost $2,000,000.00 a year? How mant staff positions were paid at the center?
White Rice October 25, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Anybody that reads the Peekskill Patch knows that Vesce has blogged against Foster on this site. Why is he so quiet this time? Why hasn't he defended himself? Did anyone ever get any answers as to why he had a convicted cocaine dealer at his house "fixing his computer"? Maybe that's where the Paramount's money went.....up someones nose.


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