GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – The Glenwood Springs Arts Council may be forced to close its doors for good after a police investigation and the discontinuation of funds from the city.
The City of Glenwood Springs pulled its taxpayer funding, $50,000, from the organization after developments that the nonprofit cannot pay its bills. The arts council said that it needs about $75,000 to pay all bills and instructors.
“While our hearts go out to the families who rely on the center’s programming and the employees of the center, the City believes it is imprudent to risk additional taxpayer funds by subsidizing the organization’s operations during an ongoing police investigation,” read a statement from the city.
According to city leaders, they were made aware of a lack of financial oversight within the organization in 2015 and notified the Glenwood Springs Arts Council of those concerns.
The city does not have any supervisory responsibilities over the organization but can decide whether to continue supporting it financially.
According to documents obtained by CBS4, the city annually committed $50,000 of Acquisition and Improvement Funds to the Center, in addition to funding the public art program administered by the GSAC.
In 2017, the city continued to provide funding to the Arts Council under the new A & I taxing question. To date this year, this funding has amounted to $18,861 in salary, $20,000 in direct payments and an additional $10,000 in public art funding, according to the city’s statement. They denied CBS4 requests for an on camera interview.
Two days before the police announced the investigation into the finances of the nonprofit, then-executive director Christina Brusig resigned.
Reached by phone on Monday afternoon by CBS4’s Matt Kroschel, Brusig said the organization has “always struggled financially.”
“They are twisting my unfortunate personal matters and taking them too far, I’ve never done anything wrong while working for that place,” Brusig added.
Brusig is referring to her recent guilty plea to felony check fraud charges in Eagle County. She admitted to writing nearly $18,000 worth of bad checks to a landlord whom authorities said she avoided for months before writing the checks.
Brusig said the reason she resigned is because she was working too much and that she lacked adequate support from the board. She said it had nothing to do with the fraud case.
The board said in a statement that “… could not, in good faith, ask our staff and teachers to continue working when we know the funds to pay them are not there and may never be there. We have determined that we need about $75,000 to pay all bills and instructors.
What only recently come to light about the art center’s financial situation has brought more than just shock to this board; it has brought anger, confusion and a deep, bitter sadness. We are feeling many of the same things our teachers, parents, volunteers and community members are feeling.
The Board is hopeful that we will raise $75,000 or more and will be able to reverse our decision to cease operation of this wonderful community asset. If so, the Board and its incredible community of teachers, volunteers and members are prepared to work tirelessly to make sure this never happens again and the art center thrives once more.”
It is unclear whether the arts council will close or when.