Meeting was legal, board member says



The board has made great strides reducing Playhouse debt, a board member says.
By GARRY CLARK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Youngstown Playhouse board member Atty. Anthony Donofrio said Friday that allegations that the July 19 annual meeting of Playhouse members was illegal are "without merit."
Referring to a letter from Lynn Kirkwood of Boardman, a Playhouse season ticket holder who wrote on behalf of more than 50 other members demanding a "legal annual meeting," Donofrio said that the July 19 meeting was attended by 15 members, the exact number required by Playhouse bylaws to constitute a quorum.
He said that in addition to the eight board members, seven season ticket holders, including Kirkwood, attended the meeting.
Donofrio noted that all season ticket holders had been apprised of the meeting two weeks before its occurrence, also in keeping with the organization's bylaws.
Earlier this week, Kirkwood and the Save Our Stage Committee released a demand that the Playhouse hold a new meeting and indicated that legal action might be taken if the board failed to comply. The group has asked the board to resign and has continued to support a return of Bentley Lenhoff as the community theater's executive director.
Regarding the SOS Committee's continued call for current board members to resign, Donofrio said, "I find it ironic that the same group that call themselves 'Save Our Stage' are encouraging the public not to support The Playhouse and are essentially trying to shut the Playhouse doors."
He also expressed the opinion that SOS has a "hidden agenda." When pressed, Donofrio said he did not know what that agenda involves.
His assertion
Donofrio said "the public is not fully informed of the progress that the current board has made in the past year toward reduction of debt that has been in existence well before the present board was sworn in."
Over the past three years, a $320,000-plus debt has been reduced to under $190,000, which includes $82,000 owed on construction that was undertaken during that time. The combination of a grant through the city and the forgiving of a $140,000 bank loan were the two biggest items involved in that reduction.
Donofrio said of Kirkwood: "Her efforts to save The Playhouse are not sincere. If she truly wants to help, she can join the board."
He said Kirkwood was asked at the meeting to serve on the board but declined, saying that she would have to think about it.
With the resignation July 29 of then-board president John Maluso, the current board has seven members. Playhouse bylaws call for a 13-member board of directors.
Donofrio reiterated that the board is excited about and has announced its new season, adding that it is moving forward with a benefit performance at 7 p.m. Aug. 28. He also said that those performing at the event are donating their time.

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