September 28, 2007

Good news and Bad News for the Coconut Grove Playhouse

According to this Miami Herald story, the Coconut Grove Playhouse is slooowly creeping out of debt.

Or are they?

Recently, a portion of the Grove's holdings was on the brink of foreclosure; the bankrupt company had defaulted on a mortgage on a parcel known as 'The Bike Shop.' At the last minute, the Aries Development Group stepped in and saved the property.

Kind of. What they really did was assume the mortgage; ADG now holds the mortgage instead of the prior holders. And do you know who held that mortgage, the one that was being foreclosed on?

From the Herald article:
"a group that included four former members of the Playhouse board."
I've confirmed that these four people WERE on the board when they made the original loan. And doesn't THAT stink all to high heaven? I mean, you're on the board of a theater, you help get it INTO debt, you take steps to help get it OUT of debt, and then you make sure it's back IN debt?

It really does seem that ADG wants to get the CGP out of debt, as they have loaned $180,000 to the Playhouse to help them pay off monies owed to its former employees. Some of the money will also go to repaying mis-used grant money that the Playhouse must return to the State.

That's the good news.

The bad news? The idiot board of directors is still there. And they're still idiots. No, I'm not just being mean, or indulging in personal attacks. These people actually ARE idiots, and I can prove it.

Review the facts; the Grove gets itself in terrible debt; they failed to exercise financial oversight and the management team they hired misused funds while the theater had dropping attendance and skyrocketing budget overruns. Instead of taking advantage of its assets, such as arranging rentals or sales of its huge costume, scenery, and prop stock, they fire everyone and lock the building. They've had over a year to come up with a plan to save the theater, or at least cover its debt, and instead of coming up with a comprehensive plan, they find a savior at the eleventh hour.

After all they've been through, wouldn't you think the Grove board would make sure that it had made the best possible arrangements to save the company? I know that I would. Wouldn't you?

Well, here's the comment made by their board Chair on the loan they just received:
''Hopefully the loan agreement is a different type of an agreement than we had in the past,''
Wait a minute! "Hopefully?" "Hopefully" it's a "different type?" Shouldn't she KNOW that it's a different type? Shelly, repeat after me: "Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me TWICE, shame on ME." HOPEFULLY, you have made wise arrangements this time. HOPEFULLY, these new loans will have a better result. But hoping it's a different type of loan? You should really KNOW that before you sign the papers.

It's scary shit. Remember, these "new funds" are not investments, they are not donations, they are LOANS. LOANS have to be REPAID. The CGP got into this mess because they didn't have any funds to repay loans, and they were failing at that back when they were ACTUALLY SELLING TICKETS TO SHOWS. The CGP isn't doesn't have ANY revenue at the moment; how are they gonna repay these loans?

Don't get me wrong; I reeeeeallly want to see the CGP reopened. But I have no faith that their current board can do it.

No comments:

Post a Comment