The August Wilson Center for African American Culture has until Nov. 18 to appoint a conservator to oversee their operations and help them avoid foreclosure. But according to AWC attorney, Stanley Levine, the center is having trouble coming up with enough money to pay a conservator.
Several AWC donors have been holding back funding in light of the center’s insolvency, and Levine says it could take time to regain their trust.
“We need to restore confidence within the community so people have the comfort of knowing their philanthropic dollars are being put to a purpose that will serve the community and not simply go down the drain,” Levine says.
At a hearing today with Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lawrence O'Toole, Levine met with representatives from Dollar Bank who initiated foreclosure proceedings on the center in September. AWC is in default of a $7 million dollar mortgage with Dollar Bank and hasn’t made payments since January.
“They’re willing to work with us,” Levine says. “They have to protect their loan but they’ve been patient and understanding with us and I think the action (to foreclose) they’ve taken now is understandable.”
Also present were representatives from the Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office. Kane has called for an audit of AWC’s financial records and believes it is in the best interest of the community to repair the center.
Despite financial barriers, Levine says the center is in talks with potential conservators and believes they will find a suitable candidate soon.
“First we need to find funding to restore some balance and stability to the organization as it exists right now and then we need a broader plan to assure people we’re able to pay our obligations,” Levine said. “We’re not really that far behind. We have to restore our confidence, restore our financing.”