Until the City of Warren shuts them down, members of the Warren Convention Center Authority plan to keep working to get some money to pay their debts.
At the group's quarterly meeting Tuesday morning, Treasurer T.K. Creal said, "Our liabilities exceed our assets by $9,500."
The authority has an account balance of $64.78 and liabilities of $9,613, he said.
The group's insurance is paid through the end of the year, but two more audits - 2011 and 2012 - will have to be performed on its books. Vice Chairman Gregory Fraser estimated the authority's final eventual liabilities, including the two audits, at $16,500.
"We're not going to let go of this" unless city council disbands the authority, Chairman Gary Baldensperger said.
"We are here for one reason," Baldensperger said, "to get funds. If city council has no legal authority to collect that revenue (and the authority is disbanded) the city will be out that revenue."
"We don't want to pull a GRO-Warren on you and leave you holding the bag," Fraser said, referring to the now-defunct downtown revitalization organization that is at the center of an on-going controversy over a failed downtown development project.
The former economic development organization pulled its own plug in October; the executive board members resigned en masse shortly before details of financial problems related to the failed Allegheny Center for the Arts anchor building project came out and four months after its executive director resigned, saying she had not been paid for months.
Authority members have reason to expect they will be paid.
In the letter in which he notified the authority that the state Infrastructure and Facilities Improvement Program (IFIP) grant would not be utilized in the development of the property, Tim King of Warren Development Group wrote, "In our work to move forward we will provide for repayment of all funds advanced to the WCCA by the City of Warren. We thank the WCCA for their work and participation through a very arduous period."
"Has anybody asked Mr. King when he intends to pay you?" City Council member John Lewis asked.
Creal said King had indicated a period of 30 days. "It's been 60 days," he said.
"That is consistent with the history of Mr. King," Fraser said.
No payment had been made as of Tuesday morning.
Securing funding from a source other than the city coffers seems to be all that is left for the authority.
The group's work toward the establishment of a convention center is at an end.
"The reason for this authority is the IFIP grant," Creal said.
"None of us has any vested interest in perpetuating this authority," Fraser said.
Still, "there's no need to rush to judgment," he said.
"The insurance has been paid through the year, our time... isn't costing the city anything," Creal said. "We've decided to move forward and try to get that money for the city."
The authority sent a letter to city council "giving them our basic position on this committee," Baldensperger said. "The committee was formed over four years ago. The current and former members have put in a lot of time to get something started in a positive light."
The members would like to hear from city council and the city solicitor. According to Acting City Manager Mary Ann Nau, council expects to form a committee at its July meeting to work with the authority.
Authority members agreed that all available members would attend any meetings called by the council committee.