Don Harrison, of SaveRichmond.com fame, has a back page editorial in this week’s Style magazine that revisits Center Stage saga and it’s next victim, the Mosque, sorry, the Landmark, no, sorry, the Altria Theater (?).
Now I’m no forensic accountant, but the foundation’s financial track record and recent lack of success raising private dollars suggest that there might be other motives behind the Landmark project, which City Councilman Marty Jewell recently called “the deal of a lifetime.”
If it’s so great, why shield its true cost to taxpayers? It’s been reported that only $14 million in public dollars will be invested. But the figure actually is closer to $30 million. Included in what’s called the private-fundraising side is an estimated $18 million in state and federal historic tax credits, which the foundation plans to use to finance the deal. This deal also hands over millions in Landmark corporate naming rights to the foundation, and since the theater is a city-owned facility, this is public money that is being given away (the city could independently sell these rights). Meanwhile, the mayor insists that he can’t address the city’s high meals and admission tax rates because the city is hurting for revenue.