When it comes to the missing money from the Imperial, people sure do like to talk.
What’s growing remarkable is just how similar what they have to say happens to be.
For the better part of a year we’ve been discretely asking questions and listening carefully to the answers. We’ve heard a lot, and so much of it is corroborated, so much of it is the same, that the conclusion is unavoidable — this isn’t so much a whodunit as a howdunit.
It’s the unavoidable conclusion because no one is scratching their heads wondering where that $150,000 went, including people who would be far better served to be seen scratching their heads wondering. Instead, the conversation immediately turns to the ins and outs of how it could happen, who should have known and why nothing substantial was ever done in its aftermath.
It’s clear that there were red flags. It’s clear that people who could have done something about it, people who should have done something about it — in other words, board members — knew there were serious problems with the way the theater was being run.
This is not the idle gossip of people with no skin in the game. The corroboration of these stories is coming from people on the inside. People who knew how things were then and know how things are now.
And that, ultimately, is why this story matters, and why it resonates so strongly in the community. People love the Imperial. They want to see it thrive and prosper and become again what it once was.
But the theater is about to receive a lot of money. A million dollars is a lot of money, and it can do a lot of good in that old theater. Yet there are many informed people looking in that direction and wondering if it’s worthy of such a check, and that doubt should not be swept under the rug along with everything else.
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