Irwin extends sales agreement to buy Lamp Theatre
Irwin Council extended its sales agreement with the Westmoreland Cultural Trust to purchase the Lamp Theatre until June 30 to make sure a $180,000 lien against the trust's properties is settled.
Borough officials also want to make sure the borough can secure $500,000 in state and county funding for renovations, according to council President John Cassandro.
“There was a time element with our original agreement, which was the end of March, and we just couldn't get everything done,” borough manager Mary Benko said. “We just want to make sure everything is cleaned up and need more time to do that.”
Irwin council agreed to purchase the Lamp Theatre from the Westmoreland Cultural Trust for $1 on March 20. Officials expected to finalize the sales agreement by March 30 but were not able to get confirmation of funding from state and county economic-development officials, Cassandro said.
Mike Langer, president of the Westmoreland Cultural Trust, said Westmoreland County Judge Anthony Marsili placed the lien against all of the trust's assets, which totals $14.25 million, on March 7. Marsili placed the lien after a jury ruled in favor of the Red Star Brewing Co., which sued the trust after being ousted from the train station in Greensburg, one of the trust's properties.
According to court documents, the trust was Red Star Brewing Co.'s landlord for 12 years. The brewing company's owners, Ernie Vallozzi and Albert Spinelli, said the trust forced their business out of the station to make way for the current tenant, the Supper Club.
Langer said trust officials did nothing wrong.
A jury ruled in favor of the brewing company and awarded the business $180,000 in damages, according to court documents.
“The lien is against all of our assets, so we cannot sell any of our properties until the ruling is settled,” Langer said. “Our insurance company, United States Liability Insurance (USLI), is negotiating with Red Star Brewing Co.'s attorneys to finalize the settlement.”
Langer said USLI is responsible for covering the $180,000 payment, which he thinks will be paid before June 30.
He said the lien only delays the deal and won't alter any part of the agreement between the borough and trust.
“When we started talking about this plan in November, we didn't know there would be a court case against us or that we would lose a court case,” Langer said. “The easiest way for Irwin is to wait until this case is settled and the liens are lifted, so I agree with their move to extend the agreement.”
Cassandro said he does not expect any issues with settling the lien and hopes to have confirmation of state and county funding, along with all of the building's title issues, resolved by June 30.
Cassandro said the borough's engineer, Lucien Bove, is evaluating the theater, and officials still plan to begin working on the building this summer, starting with the building's façade.
“We have a lot to do, and we just underestimated how much time we're going to need,” Cassandro said. “We just need more time to make sure we have everything in order before taking ownership of the building.”
Officials have not set a timetable, though Cassandro said he hopes the project will move ahead quickly.
Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.