Should taxpayer money be given to the Stanley Theater?

Created by Thomas Lamb on Mar 23, 2014

77 votes

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Give no taxpayer money to the Stanley.

Give them taxpayer money with no strings attached.

Only give tax money if they Reorganize debt 1st.

Thomas Lamb

Ilion, NY

#1 Mar 23, 2014
After the recent story on WUTR and the posts on Topix, I decided to do some research to find out for myself how the Stanley has been doing. From what I have found, it does not look good.

I would first like to say I enjoy going to the Stanley and I hope that it is open for another 85 years. I just hope that it does not take millions of taxpayer dollars to keep it open.

I was able to find their 2010 IRS Form 990 on the internet. This information is also available to review at the Stanley. They are required by law to let you see their tax returns.

They had $829,331 of Revenue and $1,482,346 of expenses for a net loss of $653,015 for the year. That means they lost on average over $54,000 per month that year. Their expenses were almost twice their revenues.

They had total loan liabilities outstanding of $5,448,814 at the end of 2010 as follows:

$100,000 un-secured line-of-credit to an un-named bank. The balance was the same at the end of the year as at the beginning.

$5,097,814 line-of-credit with NBT Bank Assoc. The balance was the same at the end of the year as at the beginning.

$250,000 un-secured line-of-credit with Bank of Utica. This appears to be a new loan as the balance at the beginning of the year was listed at $0.

You can draw your own conclusions, but the numbers on their tax return certainly tells a story. Hopefully, their 2011, 2012, and 2013 tax returns are not this bad. According to the story that was recently on WUTR, it sounds like they are still losing money. Jerry Kraus was quoted in the story as saying "We are basically just trying to run day to day to keep the doors open because we all understand it would be a crying shame to shut the building down." This is at their busy time of the year. What are they going to do in July and August during their slow time of the year?

Now they have their hand out looking for government money. I would be very cautious about throwing good money after bad if they do not have their fundamental problems fixed. Their two main problems are their Income Statement and their Balance Sheet. In other words…pretty much everything.

Their tax returns for 2011, 2012 and 2013 would clearly indicate if they have found any solutions for their income statement. You would have to look at it closely to identify any one-time donations such as the $99,812 "Sustainability Grant" that they received back in 2011. I believe that grant was just to keep the doors open back a few years ago and it was not to be an annual re-occurring grant.

Their recent tax returns would also show any trends with their liabilities. I doubt that the balances have gone down much, if any. Of course, I doubt that they have gone up much either since most banks would not loan money to a non-profit organization with such bad financial statements.

The only LONG-TERM solution that I can see for the Stanley is to go through a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reorganization. Otherwise, it would take a huge amount of taxpayer money to solve their long-term problems. Any money that they get now is just going to go toward the interest on their loans.

The only way that I would be in support of giving taxpayer money to the Stanley, would be if the banks agreed to write-off most of the loans. Otherwise, this is just going to be a taxpayer "money pit" for the next fifty years. If nothing is done and the doors close they would end up going through a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Liquidation instead of a Chapter 11 Reorganization. The Reorganization most likely would be the best option and allow the Stanley to continue to operate.

The main options that I see are as follows:

1. Give no taxpayer money and let the Stanley sink or swim on their own.

2. Start giving them taxpayer money with no strings attached to allow them to stay open a few more years.

3. Demand that their huge debt problems are taken care of via a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reorganization before any taxpayer money is given to them.
dick

Utica, NY

#2 Mar 23, 2014
They spent $20 million on that place and they can't make it they should have done it a little at a time just like when you own a house no one does all at once
Taxpayer

East Hartford, CT

#3 Mar 23, 2014
Do not spend any taxpayer money. We have had too many government bailouts for mis-managed organizations.
Driver

Utica, NY

#4 Mar 23, 2014
Yes. Some money should go to the Stanley. Especially now that the county is getting money from the Indian nation. Give the Stanley a little because the casino is not helping the Stanley at all but a little bit of their money would.
Truth

Utica, NY

#5 Mar 24, 2014
Driver wrote:
Yes. Some money should go to the Stanley. Especially now that the county is getting money from the Indian nation. Give the Stanley a little because the casino is not helping the Stanley at all but a little bit of their money would.
The Stanley is a business. The Turning Stone Resort is a business. It's called competition.

Would the revenue from the OIN agreement be better spent propping up the Stanley or employing local workers to improve and update Oneida County infrastructure? Maybe if there were more jobs that paid well in Oneida County then more people would tend to spend more on entertainment like the Stanley provides.
ABC

Peekskill, NY

#6 Mar 24, 2014
Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
The Stanley is a business. The Turning Stone Resort is a business. It's called competition.
Would the revenue from the OIN agreement be better spent propping up the Stanley or employing local workers to improve and update Oneida County infrastructure? Maybe if there were more jobs that paid well in Oneida County then more people would tend to spend more on entertainment like the Stanley provides.
That is exactly what I was thinking. We need more people with ideas like this and even more to implement them.
Truth be known

New Hartford, NY

#8 Mar 25, 2014
Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
The Stanley is a business. The Turning Stone Resort is a business. It's called competition.
Would the revenue from the OIN agreement be better spent propping up the Stanley or employing local workers to improve and update Oneida County infrastructure? Maybe if there were more jobs that paid well in Oneida County then more people would tend to spend more on entertainment like the Stanley provides.
business and competition aside Turning stone has shady back door deals with promoters and booking and artist mgt. They do. I know it sounds silly but there are all kinds of deals we dont know about.
Truth be known

New Hartford, NY

#9 Mar 25, 2014
HEY give them some of the millions of dollars turning stone HAS TO GIVE oneida county every year. Turning stone is shutting places out of the good shows and bands. Its true. T-stone has promoters in their pockets. Have the tribe give it up. Ill go to stuff t the stanley. Keep it open.
Taxpayer

Southbridge, MA

#10 Mar 25, 2014
Truth be known wrote:
HEY give them some of the millions of dollars turning stone HAS TO GIVE oneida county every year. Turning stone is shutting places out of the good shows and bands. Its true. T-stone has promoters in their pockets. Have the tribe give it up. Ill go to stuff t the stanley. Keep it open.
How about they give it to Vernon, Verona and Sherrill to compensate them for all of the property taxes that they have lost due to the properties that the Oneida Indian Nation has purchased?

Reduce their taxes and more people could afford to go to shows at the Stanley.
Truth be known

Utica, NY

#11 Mar 25, 2014
Taxpayer wrote:
<quoted text>
How about they give it to Vernon, Verona and Sherrill to compensate them for all of the property taxes that they have lost due to the properties that the Oneida Indian Nation has purchased?
Reduce their taxes and more people could afford to go to shows at the Stanley.
i agree with you. theres 12 million a year to divide up. theres enough to go around. the people up in vernon verona do deserve a break.
ByeBye Comets and Riggies

Glenside, PA

#12 Mar 25, 2014
Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
The Stanley is a business. The Turning Stone Resort is a business. It's called competition.
Would the revenue from the OIN agreement be better spent propping up the Stanley or employing local workers to improve and update Oneida County infrastructure? Maybe if there were more jobs that paid well in Oneida County then more people would tend to spend more on entertainment like the Stanley provides.
You can't skim money if it's not given directly to a business like the Stanley theater. Just ask the hotel utica.
Truth

Utica, NY

#13 Mar 26, 2014
Truth be known wrote:
HEY give them some of the millions of dollars turning stone HAS TO GIVE oneida county every year. Turning stone is shutting places out of the good shows and bands. Its true. T-stone has promoters in their pockets. Have the tribe give it up. Ill go to stuff t the stanley. Keep it open.
It's pretty simple. If it is as you say then all you have to do is prove it. I'm not sure that our laws extend to the OIN in matters like this but if you can prove wrongdoing then it would be a terrible pubic relations problem for Turning Stone. You just have to prove it. Posting on an anonymous blog read by a relatively few people isn't going to get it done.

Comparing the Stanley with the Turning Stone venues is apples and oranges anyway. Shows are not bypassing the Stanley in favor of the Turning Stone because of dirty dealing. Promoters are in the business of making money. They are going to go where they can maximize their profits. If they could make a profit putting on shows at the Stanley then they would be standing in line to make the arrangements. Use your head.

The Stanley should not get any money from the OIN agreement. That money belongs to all of the people of Oneida County and should be used to benefit all of the people of Oneida County. How about lowering the sales tax? How about repairing and upgrading the county's aging infrastructure? How about a symbolic lowering of property taxes?
Truth

Utica, NY

#14 Mar 26, 2014
Truth be known wrote:
<quoted text>
i agree with you. theres 12 million a year to divide up. theres enough to go around. the people up in vernon verona do deserve a break.
In the big picture $12 million isn't really that much. The Oneida County budget for 2013 was just shy of $372 million. If you had $372 dollars in your pocket, would $12 seem like a lot?

People in all of Oneida County deserve a break and it's not only because the OIN doesn't pay taxes. Lower taxes for everyone.
Thomas Lamb

Ilion, NY

#15 Sep 28, 2014
From the article in the OD today, I would say it is definitely time for The Stanley Theater to call a good bankruptcy attorney. Actually, they shoud have taken that step about five years ago. The only way to save the The Stanley is for them to get rid of their debt in bankruptcy court.
Dan Rostenkowski

Cortland, NY

#16 Sep 28, 2014
Taxpayer money is spent by elected officials on projects that will directly affect that official's chance of being re elected.
If the Stanley theater is that project, it will receive whatever it needs; if not, then it won't.
Don Dudley

United States

#17 Sep 29, 2014
Maybe Steve Dimeo could share some of the money he blows every year
Truth

New York, NY

#18 Sep 29, 2014
The question all taxpayers should ask themselves is pretty simple. If taxpayer money is given to the Stanley(again), will it help with the long term problem or does it just kick the can down the road for a little while?

Millions of taxpayer dollars were given to the Stanley for the backstage expansion a few years ago. Everything done in that project was designed for the comfort of everyone but the patrons.

We were promised that our "investment" would pay dividends in the form of the revitalization of downtown. The Stanley we were told, was key to that. Now, after years of the Stanley not meeting projections or expectations they need more money just to keep the lights on.

The party is over. If the same elitists who picked the taxpayers pockets for the backstage renovations/expansion want to keep it open then they need to put up the cash. It would be a shame if the Stanley were to close but in orders of magnitude we have much bigger problems.
Jerry Krauss

Potsdam, NY

#19 Sep 29, 2014
Only in Utica you cant fix stupid
Move On

Philadelphia, PA

#20 Sep 29, 2014
When all else fails in Utica look to the taxpayer.

Bottom line is it's an average venue in a horrible region. The thought that the Stanley is something unique or special is ridiculous. It's just quite simply a doctored up old theater (they are all over central New York) that no one cares about because of location. Shut it down and move on.
Tipsy

Watertown, NY

#21 Sep 30, 2014
Here's an idea. Why don't you use tax payer money to PAVE THE STREETS THAT ARE FALLING APART?

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