Missouri Theatre names interim director in wake of recent resignation

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 10:40 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 27, 2009

COLUMBIA — Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts announced Tuesday that Kanani May, current director of public relations and marketing for the theater, will serve as interim executive director following David White's resignation on Monday.

White leaves the theater after nine years, saying he had accomplished the two goals he identified at the outset: restoring the theater and bringing life back to the Hot Summer Nights music festival.

“It’s time for me to slow down and find new creative, productive ways to help make a difference inside this community,” White said Tuesday evening.

He said he looks forward to spending more time with his family after working 60- to 80-hour weeks for the theater.

John D. Phillippe, president of the theater's board of directors, said the theater is grateful for White’s contributions.

Meanwhile, the theater is currently involved in litigation regarding the $10 million restoration project completed in May 2008.  

A pair of lawsuits by two subcontractors against both the theater and Huebert Builders, the project’s general contractor, address unpaid bills and alleged contract breaches, according to court documents.

These specific claims against the theater and Huebert total $372,988.37. Other contested bills not directly involved in that litigation — and still unpaid — are connected with multiple lien claims against the theater property totaling $2,037,202.59. Included in this figure is $1,618,569.69 being sought by Huebert from the theater outside of the suits.

As part of these lawsuits, the theater is also seeking payment from and damages against the general contractor for breaches of contract. The theater cites construction delays, unapproved changes and resulting expenses, along with the alleged loss of revenue and potential tax credits as the basis for its claims. That cross-claim asks for $1,181,592.78, along with related accruing expenses.

Pending tax credits from the Missouri Department of Economic Development total $3 million, according to the court documents. These credits can be applied to the outstanding bills and loans associated with the renovation project.

According to a press release issued Tuesday by the theater, a partial settlement has been reached regarding the subcontractor claims through negotiations and financial assistance from local lenders Landmark Bank, Boone County National Bank, Callaway Bank, United Missouri Bank and Hawthorn Bank.

The press release further indicates that unresolved issues remain between the theater and the general contractor.

At press time, there had been no new filings indicating resolution of the two lawsuits. Bruce Beckett, attorney for the theater, declined to comment for this story.

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Ro Sila June 3, 2009 | 9:42 a.m.

Mr. White, thank you so much for keeping this treasure alive in Columbia.

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