(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The Virginia Performing Arts Foundation recently lost its biggest donor, the City of Richmond, after Mayor L. Douglas Wilder said the extension deadline granted to the foundation for fundraising is no longer in effect.
In late May, the city council voted to give the foundation an additional eighteen months to come up with the $30.1 million needed to receive $15 million from the city. Richmond had already kicked in $12 million initially to pay for construction and demolition costs.
Upon learning that the foundation had less than $1 million saved, Wilder said that the city would not contribute any more money to the project, according Richmond.com. Wilder said the extension of the deadline was granted with the understanding that the city would receive detailed financial reports from the foundation, something that has not happened.
The foundation did not dispute the accuracy of the bank statement; however, they claimed that the low figure is explained by the fact that many pledges are made in increments. The foundation purports to have raised $71.2 million, and has lived up to all of its obligations to the city and continues to receive money.
New figures for the cost of the project are not likely to improve the situation between Wilder and foundation. The Virginia Performing Arts Foundation’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee were informed that the cost of building the arts center could be close to $112 million, which marks a 20 percent increase from the original estimate.
The foundation has attributed the increase in cost to the flurry of construction activity happening in Richmond. There has also been a rise nationwide in the costs of building materials.
Bill Farrar, the spokesperson for the Mayor’s office, said the new figures for the cost of the arts center have no bearing on the mayor’s claim that the extension deadline is void.
“In that regard, the new numbers really don’t have any impact on that,” he told Richmond.com. “The new numbers haven’t even been provided to us. They’ve been provided to everyone else, it seems.”
Farrar said Wilder would have to agree to give the foundation the extra $15 million from the city, which would be unlikely without some major changes in operations. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers