Tulsa Jazz Hall Of Fame Will Stay Put


Monday, October 8th 2012, 12:18 pm
By: Craig Day


Tulsa County and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame are working through a dispute that could have left the Hall kicked out of the historic Union Depot downtown. The issue was over unpaid fees and whopping bills.

Tulsa County's Industrial Authority held a special meeting Monday, and new developments mean the Hall will stay put.

The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, located in the County-owned historic Union Depot Building, was given 30 days by the Industrial Authority to fix its financial problems. That includes paying about $40,000 in unpaid utility bills.

"This was our hope all along, that we could come to some beneficial resolution of this," said County Commissioner John Smaligo.

The Hall of Fame says it has raised enough in private donations, almost $50,000, and is in the process of paying the balance of its electric bill to PSO.

"I'm really proud of the Jazz Depot for raising the money, and getting caught up," said Mark Darrah, Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. "This was a significant amount of funds for a small organization to come up with in a short amount of time."

9/24/2012 Related Story: Oklahoma Jazz Hall Given Final Chance To Pay $60,000 In Unpaid Bills

The Jazz Hall of Fame also owed money to the County in Ballpark district assessment fees, and insurance reimbursements.

Those have been paid.

"We're looking forward to having these financial issues behind us and continuing to move forward with the operation of the Union Depot building by the Jazz Hall of Fame," Smaligo said.

The Board says work still needs to be done in two areas. The Hall made structural changes to the facility, and subleased space without approval for either.

Attorneys will work out those matters.

"I am confident we can work through these issues," said John Smaligo, Tulsa County Commissioner.

The Deborah Brown school subleases space in the old depot. County leaders will urge the city of Tulsa to extend a temporary occupancy permit, which would enable the school to remain in the depot.

The Jazz Hall says it's also in the process of getting the utility account officially transferred to them instead of the County, required by the board.

The Tulsa County Industrial Authority will take up the issue again in a meeting a week from now, to make sure everything goes according to plan.

Jason McIntosh, the hall's chief executive officer, estimated that nearly 100 donors from across the country came forward to help after learning of the facility's financial troubles.

The 24-year-old nonprofit has struggled to stay afloat after years of bad budgeting decisions and a souring economy.