Entries Tagged 'Washington Pavilion' ↓

There may be a reason why the Washington Pavilion Management is hiding the 2020 Financial Report

They pocketed gobs of money?

Over the past couple of days I have been told that the Pavilion has been actively trying to hide the 2020 report because of the buckets of money they brought in (a year that they were pretty much closed) and they fear if city leadership saw this or the public, their massive subsidies in operational and maintenance costs would go bye bye.

As I have stated for awhile, the Pavilion pretty much eats up the entertainment tax every year for maintenance. The bonds for the place have been paid off for a long time and the 3rd penny never went away, so it is slush fund for the Pavilion to add capital to the building without dipping into operational subsidies. The place is a complete f’ing money pit and the only thing that is FREE in the building is the bathrooms.

During COVID the Pavilion pretty much closed their doors, cancelled that season, laid off most part-time employees and a handful of full time. Most would assume that would mean financial ruin, but it is quite possible it is the exact opposite. Without any rent to pay, a significant reduction in labor costs, Federal Covid money and around 40%(?) of patrons never asking for a refund on their season tickets (they were allowed to make it a charitable donation toward the Pavilion) the place likely cashed in, BIG TIME while crickets roamed the halls.

I urge the city council to DEMAND the 2020 financial report be handed over and released to the public. It would also be nice to see what the 6-figure salary of the director has risen to (rumors are it hovers at $200K).

City of Sioux Falls Thursday’s Tidbits

Sioux Falls Ethics Commission met today, but we don’t know why

It says in the agenda;


This could be anyone with the city, employee or elected official. Since it is confidential we will never know. I think even if these meetings are in private, they should at least release the question and the decision without exposing who is asking. How do we know if the Ethics Commission made the right decision if we cannot watch the proceedings?

Will the Washington Pavilion be hired to run the Ice Ribbon?

With the new ice ribbon set to be built soon down by Falls Park, some are wondering if the Parks Department has what it takes to run the paid admission facility. Since they will have to have a ticketing booth and some kind of staff to assist people, they will likely have to hire a contractor to do it. While I am sure the Pavilion could handle it, what I don’t understand is why can’t the Parks Department? Oh that’s right, besides the department being ran by a two-faced liar, they can’t even hire part-time lifeguards, now try to find part-time ice guards. Maybe we should just let the Pavilion run our entire parks department, they are already draining our entertainment tax fund every year, might as well put them to work.

Available Liquor Licenses in Sioux Falls

After the 2020 Census, Sioux Falls has become eligible for more ON and OFF-SALE liquor licenses, I am awaiting the official numbers from the city but what I have heard unofficially is there is 27 additional Package (off-sale) licenses and 19 Retail (on-sale) licenses available. Not sure how many are already spoken for. Once I get more information I will let you know.

The Curbside Garbage ordinance is already on next week’s docket

I can almost guarantee the Rubberstamp Council will pass the curbside garbage ordinance and allow haulers to charge extra for valet service:

The Sioux Falls City Council will likely consider an amendment to the city’s garbage ordinances that could allow garbage haulers to require curbside placement of garbage cans for pickup or charge extra to continue valet service.

It should be up to the consumer if they want to do it and there should be NO extra charge for the service. But it sounds like the hauler wants the city to force the consumer to do it, and if they don’t want to, they will be charged extra.

Whether the city council will support the move is another issue. In his Facebook post, Neitzert said he was “torn on this issue,” and asked for feedback from residents, and Councilor Rick Kiley said earlier this year he’d be against any such change if haulers weren’t planning on lowering rates for reduced service.

Councilor Janet Brekke has also regularly expressed her support for the current ordinance and how it keeps trash cans away from the street, improving the city’s aesthetics.

You never know, it might come to a tie vote with Poops siding with the haulers, we will see. You know my feelings on it, I think the city should contract with 4 major PRIVATE haulers and divide the city into 4 sections and pay our garbage bill with our water and sewer. We already own the landfill, why would we charge tipping fees? Yesterday while driving to work thru Cathedral neighborhood I saw two trucks parked next to each other from different haulers collecting cans at the same time on the same street. Dumb.

Oh, and let’s hear about 3 city councilors who profess about apartment dwellers being great for a neighborhood, but don’t live next to them. I do, and I love apartments, but I love my house more.

When is the Washington Pavilion going to present the 2019 & 2020 Annual Report to the Sioux Falls City Council?

The last report to show up on the Pavilion’s site is 2018. If you do a search of city council informational meetings you are unable to find the last time the Pavilion has presented an annual report to the City Council. I guess I’m curious why the 2019 and 2020 annual reports are missing? The Great Plains Zoo will be presenting their annual report to the Parks Board on Wednesday (no supporting docs).

I would also like to see what the financials are for the Levitt from this past season (we may not see those until next spring).

I am often curious how organizations that receive millions in tax dollars to subsidize and provide maintenance to their facilities can just skirt providing financial reports to the citizens or don’t even post them online to at least view. This is what happens when you have a city ran by a cruise control mayor who hates open and transparent government, or maybe he just doesn’t understand it?


In more cruise control government ineptness, the rumor is that the Chief Cultural Officer that the Mayor so desperately needed has resigned and leaving the city this week. If true, I find the timing ironic considering several councilors have asked publicly at meetings when they will get a review about what she has contributed to the city since her position was created. I guess the best way to get out of giving a report is to quit. LOL.

Will the Washington Pavilion’s Board of Directors consider cutting the Director’s pay during the Pandemic?

I’m not sure what Darrin Smith’s salary is as the Director/President of the Pavilion, in fact the public hasn’t heard in years what that pay level is since they moved the annual meeting until sometime in July(?). Moles have told me it is well over of $170K. Now, don’t me wrong, if Covid didn’t exist and the Pavilion was having sold out shows throughout the winter and the endowment was overflowing, it may be justified, but when you are cutting staff like mad and you literally have NO SHOWS going on (the Pavilion’s bread and butter) wouldn’t you consider cutting executive pay at least until they can start booking shows again? For all management?

Money wise, the Pavilion has turned a corner starting with the past presidents and continuing with Smith, but mostly because Smith has gotten out the axe well before the pandemic. Isn’t it ironic when a crisis occurs (even at a non-profit) the first to be thrown to the curb or receive pay cuts are the minions while the execs still roll in the dough. It’s pretty pathetic, but a continuing tradition of the Pavilion that has only been a drain on taxpayer’s entertainment tax fund.

Besides the Events Center (losing close to $3 million now) the Pavilion may be next in line for a bailout, we wouldn’t want Director Smith’s lifestyle interrupted, would we?

It looks as though the cartoonist who ran the VAC (he lasted longer than I thought he would) and the HR director are on the outs, probably not in too big of a hurry to rehire;

The Director of Museums is an amazing position responsible for the Vision and Mission of the Washington Pavilion Management, Inc. Museum filled with visual arts! This role reports directly to our Chief Operations Officer. FT, exempt-level (salary) position; Monday-Friday, Day shifts (flexible on creating a schedule)with some weekends and evenings for occasional & special events. Plus Director on Duty rotation every 6-8 weeks to be the on-call DOD for the Washington Pavilion. Excellent compensation based on education experience & leadership skills plus an excellent full benefits package!

The Human Resources Manager is an engaging position at the Washington Pavilion responsible for the overall administration, management and evaluation of Washington Pavilion Management, Inc (WPMI) human resource related functions, including recruiting and selection; on-boarding and employee development; performance management; compensation and benefits; policies and procedures; employee well-being & safety; and compliance with state and federal employment laws and regulations. The HR Manager will also have responsibility for submission and/or tracking of worker’s compensation information, OSHA logs, and FMLA records. This role will report to the CEO/President and work closely with the Accounting department to support Administration & the Executive team.

Washington Square Developer whines about the easement process

(FF 41:00)

Yes, folks, only in good old Sioux Falls would a developer complain about how he had to front a little money in legal fees and surveying (City Council Meeting, Items 16-17) after receiving some easements.

First the obvious, and replying to one of his main complaints, that while taxpayers are essentially giving him FREE land, that this gifting party should somehow also pay these fees?!

This same developer also received millions in a TIF (massive tax rebate) before the project was built. While I do complain sometimes when the council doesn’t discuss an item or answer constituent questions, I did chuckle a bit last night after this developer stood at the microphone and cried about how he had to spend a couple of grand (to receive FREE property). Their non-response to this unwarranted fit was completely appropriate. Not a single councilor, the mayor, the city attorney or any of the planning/environmental staff responded to his rant.

It reminds me of when I used to wait tables and people would want a free meal if I forgot to give them complimentary free bread. This developer has received free property and millions in tax breaks and has the nerve to complain about it?!

UPDATE: City of Sioux Falls spends over $200K of your taxdollars to promote covid tourism and super spreader events

After watching this press conference, I just shook my head, just like I do every time I see the POTUS at a press conference.

UPDATE: You will notice in the video, Teri Schmidt, who runs the CVB mentions that ClickRain is the company who has the contract with the CVB. This of course is Mayor TenHaken’s former company. The city council just approved over $200K to go towards this promotion, which will essentially be handed over to ClickRain. Can anyone say ‘conflict of interest’?

It was also pointed out to me after the meeting, that Paul stated to someone he is very nervous about how this is all going to work with our recent spike. As it has been said, Paul, now is the time to lead.

Why on earth would we be promoting tourism in the middle of a pandemic (and soon influenza season) while our numbers are spiking out of control?

A new program championed by the city of Sioux Falls called Sioux Falls Alive aims to give people safe programs and events during the fall and winter months.

“We have to figure out how we co-exist with COVID-19 over the winter,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

“We have to continue to look at ways to give our community, give our families, give people in Sioux Falls ways to stay engaged in the community, ways to stay involved in activities to do but doing so in a very safe and socially distant fashion … believe it or not those things can co-exist.”

Sioux Falls is “going to demonstrate how that can be done,” he added.

We have hardly figured out how to keep our workplaces and nursing homes safe, how on earth can you have beer gardens and masquerade parties? At least people will be wearing masks at one of the events.

While I often have said Mayor Stoneless really does have stones (mostly between his ears) I wonder who is really pushing this hair brain idea of ignoring the covid, let’s party?!

He is right about one thing, the hospitality industry will be devastated over the winter in Sioux Falls. With our numbers spiking, especially in Minnehaha and Lincoln county, our bars and restaurants this winter will be practically empty. They struggle anyway when it gets cold out, put Covid on top of that, not a good situation.

While I commend our city leaders for trying to keep the hospitality industry going in SF during a pandemic, this is a poor plan.

There should be more exploration of how to make takeout and food delivery more convenient and affordable AND profitable for these businesses instead of worrying about our public entertainment facilities (the Romans called it Bread and Circus for a reason). One of my friends suggested easing the laws so bars/restaurants can deliver pre-made cocktails to your home with food, or to avoid the alcohol laws, deliver setups with recipe instructions on what alcohol to add.

There are many great ideas out there to keep businesses open, but promoting a Covid holiday and super spreader events in our city, while using my tax money, is about as Covid stupid as I have seen.

Events Center Complex loses $2.5 million in past year

Of course, it was no surprise they lost this much, it was just a little unusual we heard it at a SF City Council informational meeting from the finance director. The complex (EC, CC and Arena) was probably expected to lose money during Covid, but as I have mentioned over the past few days and weeks, the Denty hasn’t exactly been that stellar in attendance for well over a year and trust me, the bleeding of the complex will continue well into 2021.

What was not included in the discussion is the $10 million a year bond payment the taxpayers will continue to have to pay out of our 2nd penny (which should be spent on needed infrastructure and roads). We will also have to keep the lights and heat on as well and timely maintenance while the city’s finance director has given sponsors a pass on paying their dues.

While the management company has said they laid off many people, what they didn’t mention is if the executives took a pay cut? I mean really? What are you doing right now? I can only imagine they have all built George Costanza beds under their desks. Why not just furlough the entire management company until we can start booking shows again? Why are the taxpayers subsidizing these salaries?

The Washington Pavilion, as I understand, cut 25% of their workforce, for that very reason, if you have no shows, you don’t need people to work them.

As I said, the Denty was already bleeding, and this place will eventually become the dented up yolk around taxpayers necks for decades. I don’t expect the place to turn a profit again for at least 5 years, but that’s okay, we can keep digging into the taxpayer’s pockets even though almost 50% voted against it.

Taxpayers may have to bailout the Pavilion

Hey, I don’t blame the Pavilion for having to cancel their shows, Covid has wreaked havoc on the entertainment industry;

The Washington Pavilion has canceled its 2020-21 Performance Series, which would have brought hit shows such as “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Hairspray” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to Sioux Falls.

Many Broadway tours have been put on hold or canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to supporters, the Pavilion said it is working to rebook as many shows from this season as it can for next season.

This will hit the Pavilion hard since they depend on this revenue to float them each year. In fact the Pavilion has made money from these shows over the years and if they didn’t have to float the arts center and science centers (which lose money) the Pavilion would have been very profitable. The problem is they don’t split the pot of money up between the entities, they just move it around.

Of course they have a plan, not a very good one mind you;

While refunds will still be offered, the loss of the tours has put the Pavilion “in a very challenging situation,” Smith said. “As a nonprofit reliant on ticket sales, sponsorships and gifts of support from the community, the loss of these tours – a $3 million impact – has put the organization in a very challenging situation. We are asking our loyal customers – if they are able – for their support at this unprecedented time.”

In all reality, it will probably be the taxpayers that will have to bailout the Pavilion during this down economy. But we have already been giving it millions in maintenance for years. It is what I suspected it would turn into, a money pit, and the Events Center and Aquatic Center are not to far behind.

Want to practice social distancing? Visit the Pavilion’s Visual Arts Center


I decided to break down today and pay the entrance fee to the Pavilion’s VAC to see the latest exhibit of the permanent collection. It was nice, because in the over an hour I was there, there wasn’t a single soul in the joint. Why? Because it cost me an astounding $15 dollars and change to get in. I have never paid this much to enter the MOMA in San Fran, the Institute in Chicago or Minneapolis or the DAM in Denver. Not sure why the Pavilion thinks charging this much to see dusty old paintings is worth that? But it’s all about the Benjamins with the Pavilion these days, even recently making the city subsidize them for low income visitors even though the taxpayers already own the building and subsidize the place each year in management and maintenance. I guess the millions we throw at them already isn’t enough.

While it was nice to see an impressive permanent collection without worrying about people coughing the covid babies on me, I was unimpressed by the lackluster presentation. Not only were most of the exhibits not labeled, the salon style of the exhibition had many great works up in the rafters where you could not view them. Maybe if I dropped another $15 dollars I could get a scissor lift to assist my viewing.

This is what happens when you turn an arts center over to a money grubbing Executive Director and a Cartoonist Department head. Enjoy wiping your butts with my $15 dollars.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Kiley thinks people care about parapets (that they probably don’t even know exist)

I attended the Sioux Falls City Council informational meeting and testified at the end during public input.

The council had a presentation on the replacement of the cornice and parapet on the roof of the Pavilion. I won’t revisit that.

Several councilors, including councilor Erickson leading the charge pretty much said that the parapet probably doesn’t need to be replaced, and the architects admitted that it really doesn’t harm the historical designation.

I appreciate the honesty.

Then Rick Kiley opened his mouth. He said that he thinks people do care about the parapet replacement. Not sure if he took that poll from his butt, but I’m sure it wasn’t scientific.

During public input I reminded the council;

• The Washington Pavilion has taken the lion’s share of the entertainment tax for over 20 years.

• That tax should have sun-setted after the bonds were paid off, taking $10 million a year out of our private entertainment economy.

• The Pavilion’s attendance numbers haven’t really increased that much over the past 21 years.

• Why doesn’t the Pavilion raise money for capital improvements privately? The Zoo has raised millions for capital projects privately (taxpayers own the Zoo – just like we own the Pavilion).

• The roof and parapet should have been fixed when remodeling the facility, not 21 years later.

But what I said at the end was that Rick Kiley thinks people care about the project. I told him that most people don’t even know this discussion is going on, and most people don’t even know what the parapet is or that it is even exists, I stressed that while people are dodging pot holes in this city, they ‘don’t give a rip’ about parapets.