WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Danny Cross 10.16.2013
Posted In: News, Not-for-profit at 01:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Requiem Project Wants UC to Give Up Emery Building

Nonprofit says UC and lessees have failed their charitable purpose

When Mary Emery donated the money to build the Ohio Mechanics’ Institute in 1908, she stipulated that the building would contain an assembly hall available to the public. Her charitable trust has been tasked with ensuring that The Emery Theatre, located in the basement of the building at the corner of Walnut Street and Central Parkway in Over-the-Rhine, is used for public performances ever since. The Requiem Project, a nonprofit organization formed in 2008 to oversee programming and raise money to renovate the century-old theater, says that’s exactly where the University of Cincinnati has failed to fulfill the requirements of overseeing the property, and it is asking the Court of Common Pleas to remove UC from ownership of the building. The Requiem Project yesterday filed an amendment to its lawsuit against UC and lessees of the property housing the Emery Theatre, arguing that UC and the organizations operating the building have systematically failed their charitable purpose by allowing the theater to fall into disrepair after non-use for so many years. The suit asks the court to award the Requiem Project the lease under which another nonprofit, the Emery Center Corp. (ECC), is currently operating the theater via a series of subleases from UC. If UC is removed as owner, the building could be overseen by the city or another nonprofit organization and Requiem could sublease from it. UC assumed control of the building in the 1970s but needed permission to renovate most of it into apartments because of the charitable trust’s requirement that the building continue to serve the community. A 1999 court ruling allowed the development but required all profits to be used to renovate the Emery Theatre. Fourteen years later, the apartment operators say there are multiple mortgages on the property and no profits.  “The Court should remove UC as owner and trustee of the property, as UC has proved itself an unfit custodian,” the complaint states. The complaint includes photos of various rundown areas inside the theater with captions such as, “Closed-off bathrooms. UC’s ‘saving’ The Emery” and “UC’s standard of fiduciary ‘care.’” CityBeat covered the original lawsuit in August here. The complaint accuses UC, ECC and Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnership (ECALP) — the for-profit company that oversees the building’s apartments — of conspiring to breach a 2010 letter of intent that stated ECC would sublease the theater to Requiem on the same terms as ECC is currently operating the theater. Requiem says the binding letter of intent is still valid and gives its organizers the right to a long-term lease that will allow them to raise money while operating the theater. The Requiem’s cofounders, Tina Manchise and Tara Gordon, maintain in their lawsuit that the ECC and UC are purposely blocking the Requiem from moving forward with their original plan to incrementally update the 1,600-seat theater and allow programming to continue during the process.  After signing the letter of intent in 2010, the Requiem Project temporarily opened the Emery Theatre in 2011 to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Mary Emery’s dedication of the theater and to reintroduce the public to the long-overlooked resource — the theater was modeled after Carnegie Hall in New York City and is considered “acoustically pure.” It was the home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1912-36 and has hosted the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Although UC owns the building, it subleases the building to ECALP, which subleases the Emery Theatre to ECC. When contacted by CityBeat in August, UC spokesperson Greg Hand declined to comment, only stating that UC doesn’t have a relationship with the Requiem Project because its only relationship is with ECALP. ECC informed Requiem in January that it would not renew its management agreement “for no cause,” according to the lawsuit, and then asked Requiem to vacate the building in August. The complaint also seeks damages related to money Requiem has invested in the theater and losses caused by the August eviction. It is schedule for trial in February.
 
 
by German Lopez 08.14.2013
Posted In: News, Courts, Emery Theatre at 02:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Requiem Could Be Evicted from Emery Theatre Following Ruling

Judge says case is too early to call either way but refuses to grant restraining order

Hamilton County Judge Carl Stitch today ruled against granting a temporary restraining order that would prevent the trio that owns and leases the Emery Theatre from evicting the nonprofit seeking to renovate the building. The ruling comes as a minor victory to the University of Cincinnati, Emery Center Apartments Limited Partnership (ECALP) and the Emery Center Corporation (ECC), the groups that own and lease the Emery Theatre, and a loss to the Requiem Project, the nonprofit formed in 2008 to restore the theater to its former glory. Still, Stitch cautioned that both sides potentially have a case and the rejection shouldn’t be seen as indicative of who will ultimately win the legal battle. Given the ruling, both sides agreed to come back to the judge in 30 days with a status report on what their legal intentions are going forward. Requiem argued that it needs the temporary restraining order to continue with the momentum the organization has built to renovate the theater. The nonprofit says it needs a permanent lease to use and raise funds that would go toward restoring the theater, which is cited as one of the few “acoustically pure” complexes in the nation. On the other side, the various groups that own and lease the Emery Theatre claimed Requiem has shown little progress in raising funds to renovate the building. They said they would still like to see the theater restored, but not under the management of Requiem. UC also continued denying any direct involvement in the case, instead arguing that ECALP handles the Emery building in its entirety for the university. Tina Manchise and Tara Gordon, the two women who founded Requiem, said after the hearing that the three organizations are trying to eschew responsibility by pointing fingers at each other. In particular, they pointed out that UC has consistently claimed a lack of culpability, yet it’s also getting involved by asking the city to take over the building. Last week, emails revealed that UC is offering to give the Emery Theatre to the city. UC Vice President of Governmental Relations Greg Vehr wrote in a June 21 email to Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan that giving the building away would allow the university to avoid becoming “a lightning rod in the private dispute between (ECC and ECALP) and the Requiem Project.” If the city takes over the building, the legal dispute would likely become unnecessary and Requiem would probably be allowed to carry on with its plans. For an in-depth look at the situation and history between Requiem and UC, ECALP and ECC, check out CityBeat’s original coverage here.
 
 

City Could Acquire Emery Theatre, Allow Requiem Project to Proceed

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The city of Cincinnati might take over the Emery Theatre following a legal dispute between the nonprofit seeking to renovate the theater, and the group of leasers and owners trying to push the nonprofit out of the building.   

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