Isis pays $250,000 city tab
After letting the Isis Theatre skate on a $250,000 interest-free obligation since 1998, the city demanded its money, and on Thursday the Isis paid.Normally, the city acts more aggressively in collecting debts, but in the case of the Isis, it wanted to keep the movie theater in Aspen. “It’s not usual [to let debts go so long], but this is not a usual situation,” city attorney John Worcester said. “We believed they were in dire financial stress, and we wanted to do what we could because the community wants a theater.”He said at the time it didn’t look like the theater would have been able to stay in business if it paid the city. Otherwise, the issue would have probably gone to court long ago, he said. Instead the city waited until Dec. 27 to issue an ultimatum: Pay by today or face legal consequences. The debt originated from a 1998 remodeling of the theater, which required owners to keep a quarter of the lot as open space or pay $250,000 for the city to earmark for open space. The City Council gave the Isis five years to start paying the $250,000. The first increment of $50,000 was due in April 2003; the second was due a year later and the third in April 2005. When the Isis didn’t pay its first bill, Worcester followed up with a letter.”We had been in touch with them, and it looked like in April 2003 it was going to be sold,” Worcester said, adding that he thought the city would get the money then. “It happened a few times. We finally decided we can’t continue to wait until it gets sold.”On Thursday, Sam Houston, an owner of the Isis Theatre through CC Aspen LLC, handed a check for $250,000 to Finance Director Paul Menter.It will take up to 10 business days for the check to clear because it’s from an out-of-town bank, but Menter expects it is good. Thursday, he called the bank to inquire about availability of funds.”I hate to give out confidential banking information. We deposited the check, so …” Menter said, trailing off. “We’re happy we got this issue behind us.”Kimberly Nicoletti’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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