Wilson Center questions II
Regarding the news story “County, city leaders urge removal of Wilson Center court-appointed receiver” : Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald want Judith Fitzgerald fired. Why? Because she has the temerity to favor selling the August Wilson Center to a (shudder) for-profit bidder?
They want the foundations to take over, although the foundations' bid was less than half the top bid of $9.5 million.
The center never generated revenue sufficient to pay operating expenses and debt service. But the mayor and county executive want to take over and “negotiate” with the creditors. That's a euphemism for “or else” threats directed at Dollar Bank and others to accept much less than the $10 million owed them. The center would then operate under the same losing business model that put it in receivership. And it'll be begging for taxpayer dollars again. Furthermore, as a nonprofit, it will pay no taxes.
The top bidder would allow the center to retain office, exhibit and storage space and theater use. The top bidder, intending to earn a profit, would construct additional facilities, generating taxable income for the city, state and feds. Plus, more taxpaying employees. It's a win-win solution.
Aaron Walton, former board chairman for the center, says the top bid is in the best interests of the black community. So, why don't these politicians want it to happen?
Stanley J. Penkala