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The Cleveland Museum of Art got what it wanted from the board of the Cleveland Cuyahoga County Port Authority today – a 6-0 vote approving port issuance of $75 million in tax-exempt bonds.

The vote means the museum will have access to the cash it needs to finish a $350 million expansion and renovation on time in 2013. The museum’s board is scheduled to vote Monday on whether to proceed with the final phase of construction, which started in 2005.

“We’re going to get it done, we’re going to get it done,” a smiling Janet Ashe, the museum’s treasurer and deputy director for administration,” said immediately after the port vote today.

William Friedman, the port’s new president and chief executive officer, called the vote, “my first success. I’ll claim it. Why not?”

The port will be a “conduit issuer,” meaning that its credit and bond rating are not at risk. The museum bears the sole financial risk for the bonds. The same is true of $90 million in museum bonds issued through the port in 2005.

Port board member Anthony Moore, a partner at the law firm of Jones Day and a professional colleague of museum board member Michael Horvitz, abstained.

The bonds, which will mature in an average of 10 years, will be backed by donations made for the museum’s project, for which it has raised $220 million since 2002.

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Article courtesy cleveland.com

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