by Danny Cross
Posted In: News
at 01:22 PM | Permalink
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.’”
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.
4 Comments · Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The racist brouhaha swirling around
University of Cincinnati College of Arts and Sciences Dean Ronald
Jackson should quell once and for all any lingering nonsensical verbiage
about a “post-racial” America or the “end of blackness” since the
election and return of President Barack Obama.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 25, 2013
The current Martin Tucker: Remembered
exhibit at the DAAP Galleries on the University of Cincinnati campus
spotlights a local artist — a retired art professor who died this year —
whose work showed a keen eye for the seductive, colorful quality of
American consumer culture.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 28, 2013
FRIDAY AUG. 23: Fascism is a scary word that most people
think was invented in Germany to try to exterminate a race of people and
make everyone left drive shitty cars. In turn, it is not the most
interesting subject to conservative Americans.
1 Comment · Wednesday, August 21, 2013
In the herd there are so
many students who come to college who’ve absolutely no business there;
they’re no more prepared for the intellectual rigor, the dicey social
matrix and the expectation of talent in their respective disciplines
than an average junior high school student, and no one’s had that
come-to-Jesus conversation with them until maybe well into their third
by German Lopez
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
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.
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.
by German Lopez
CPS gets national attention, city might take Emery Theatre, SoMoLend accused of fraud
New York City mayoral candidates see Cincinnati Public Schools’ (CPS) community learning centers as a model for their city’s schools.
The centers bring members of the community, including dental clinics,
mental health therapists and mentors from local banks and churches, to a school hub to
keep students engaged after traditional classroom hours end. But an
analysis from The New York Times also finds that progress has
been fairly modest, with some schools in the district still struggling
and graduation and attendance rates showing little sign of improvement.
Still, CPS officials argue the initiative has helped mitigate the
effects of poverty and hunger in the classroom. CityBeat covered CPS and its community learning centers back in October here.
The city of Cincinnati could take control of the Emery Theatre
following a legal dispute between the Requiem Project, a nonprofit
seeking to renovate the theater, and the University of Cincinnati, Emery
Center Apartments Limited Partnership and the Emery Center Corporation,
the group of leasers and owners trying to push Requiem out of the
building. Requiem stated in a letter Friday that it would approve of the
city taking over the building, a possibility currently being analyzed
by Cincinnati’s legal team. CityBeat first covered the Emery Theater situation in further detail here.
SoMoLend, the local startup and city partner that connects small businesses seeking loans and lenders, is being accused of fraud by the state of Ohio.
The charges could force the high-profile business to shut down; for the
time being, it’s not giving out any loans in the state. In December,
the city of Cincinnati teamed up with SoMoLend in a partnership that was meant to land local small businesses and startups much-needed loans through crowdfunding.
Ohio will spend $6.2 million this fiscal year to combat gambling addictions.
With casinos, racinos and gambling generally expanding in Ohio, the state government is directing more
money to county mental health and addiction boards to ensure problem
gamblers are treated.
The two officers who were on the clock when death row inmate Billy Slagle hung himself have been put on paid administrative leave
while the Ohio prisons department investigates what happened. Slagle
was convicted of murder and sentenced to death — a punishment the Ohio Parole Board and Gov. John Kasich upheld in July despite pleas from a county prosecutor — but he hung himself days
before he was supposed to be executed. CityBeat covered Slagle’s case in further detail here.
Attorney General Mike DeWine is asking Ohioans to be cautious of unsolicited phone calls offering medical alert devices.
Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino accidentally awarded two $1 million prizes
on Saturday night. It turns out the casino gave a $1 million check to
the wrong Kevin Lewis, so it decided to keep course with the original
check and give another $1 million to the Lewis the check was
originally intended for.
Cursive might get kicked from the classroom.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is directing federal prosecutors to minimize the use of mandatory minimum drug sentences.
The change will mostly benefit drug offenders with no ties to
large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels and no history of violence.
Ohio gas prices dropped this week and remain below the national average.
Actual headline: “Video shows thief stealing cigarettes.”
Check out Kings Island’s new roller coaster: Banshee.
Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and CNN’s medical respondent, is now down with marijuana.
The Requiem Project sues UC over its Emery Theatre contract; UC and its lessees shift the blame
14 Comments · Wednesday, August 7, 2013
The University of Cincinnati and the chain of command
between it and the Emery Theatre are giving conflicting explanations about
whose decision it was to cut the Requiem Project out of the picture.