The Metropolitan Transit Authority has threatened to evict the experimental media and theater group 3-Legged Dog from its Lower Manhattan building. The authority notified the group on Friday that it would begin eviction proceedings on Monday if 3-Legged Dog did not pay the more than $306,000 it owes the authority in back rent and interest. The group signed a 20-year lease in 2002 for space at 80 Greenwich Street, now known as 3LD Art & Technology Center, agreeing to pay $21,666.67 per month there after its former location at 30 West Broadway was destroyed in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, The Wall Street Journal reported. Kevin Cunningham, 3-Legged Dog’s executive artistic director, confirmed that the company had fallen behind in payments when foundations withdrew financial support because of the recession. He also said the theater had been forced to spend its own money on building maintenance, including asbestos abatement, without reimbursement from the authority. Though he said he had offered to negotiate a payment plan, the two companies have been unable to reach an agreement. The authority’s spokesman, Jeremy Soffin, told The Journal, “I don’t know how anyone can justify letting this tenant rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in back rent at a time when state cuts and deteriorating tax revenues have forced the M.T.A. to lay off station agents and cut service.”
And this is Kevin Cunningham in a comment on Mathew Freeman's excellent blog On Theatre and Politics, www.matthewfreeman.blogspot.com:
If you want to help get the word out that 3LD is open and booked into 2012. The real story is that the MTA owes us $1.6 million in construction costs and reimbursement from our build out of their facility which sat empty for a decade before 3LD turned it into an internationally recognized arts center. They have been very arrogant and have ignored our demands for payment since we first made them in March of 2005. Write your elected officials and tell them to make MTA do the right thing and repay 3LD. Write to the news outlets and demand that they print our side of the story. Donations always help when hard times hit. 3LD is not alone unfortunately. The City and the Funding community are going to have to change their priorities or there will be many more stories like this in the very near future.