EVERGREEN MUSEUM DIRECTOR HOPEFUL FOR FUTURE OF LOCAL MUSEUM
The interim director of the Evergreen Museum is hopeful after the latest day in court in the bankruptcy of the Falls Event Center. Museum Director John Rasmussen says Evergreen will probably not recover the 445-thousand dollars the Falls Event Center owes the museum, and it’s increasing 25-thousand dollars each month.
Money that Falls had promised to pay as part of the agreement the two entities made when the Falls Event Center took possession of the buildings. Rasmussen says the Falls Event Center has promised to pay 70-thousand every month from July through December, and 25-thousand dollars starting in January.
Rasmussen is hopeful the court is on a trajectory to determine the liabilities outweigh the assets, and that the trustee and the court will realize the Falls McMinnville campus is not worth the 45 -million dollars creditors were led to believe. Once that occurs, Rasmussen hopes the McMinnville property will be sold, hopefully to an entity favorable to the museum.
Rasmussen says there are entities, which he will not name, that are interested in purchasing the entire McMinnville campus and continuing to operate it as an air and space museum.
Yesterday Evergreen had made two motions. One to terminate the Falls Event Center Bankruptcy. The second was to remove the stay of relief so Evergreen could receive money owed to it by Falls. The judge did not terminate the bankruptcy and did not remove the stay, so the museum can not get the money owed it. Rasmussen admits there are so many creditors that the museum will probably never see that money. However, he says the museum is operating and can continue to operate without those payments.
Rasmussen says the judge in the case is disappointed the court appointed trustee has not made more progress and wants to see more motions in the case. Rasmussen says the trustee is expected to file a motion by Friday to consolidate all of the different Falls Event Center venues into one bankruptcy case.
Rasmussen does not want to see that happen. Rasmussen feels the court would prefer to see individual trustees for each Falls Event Center entity, so the case can move along more quickly if each trustee has to delve into a single location.
Rasmussen says one option is to move out of the space museum building. He says the county will only give non profit status with an annual lease and not a month to month lease. Rasmussen wants to impress upon the trustee that if the county removes the non profit status, then property tax liability increases significantly.
Rasmussen is pushing to get a longer term commitment to be in the building to retain that non profit status, and get out from under the cloud of the bankruptcy proceeding. That could happen with a new owner, if the court sold the building and assets to another entity. There are no immediate plans to move out of the space museum building.
Rasmussen says volunteers and workers are concerned, but no one has been laid off. He adds that tourism numbers and membership purchases are increasing. However, the national aircraft museum is hesitant to loan additional aircraft to Evergreen with the future in doubt. Rasmussen says it’s tough, but “we are survivors, and we will keep being survivors”.
The next court date is in five weeks, and Rasmussen is hopeful the court will move towards selling off the McMinnville campus in one piece, with all assets, hopefully to a “white knight” favorable to the museum.
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