Sat. 11:19 p.m.: Mayor, candidates disagree on Packard Music Hall’s contract

COMING SUNDAY: WARREN – Independent mayoral candidate Dennis Blank is calling the city’s contract with JAC Management Group LLC to operate and promote the W.D. Packard Music Hall a bad deal that will cost taxpayers $1 million over the next five years.

Blank also argues the deal will not produce savings because Warren continued to employ former music hall employees in other city departments after the deal was struck.

The administration said the deal, over time, will reduce the city’s subsidy to the music hall and because of the agreement, more and better quality entertainment will be brought to Warren. Lessening the subsidy for the hall, which costs on average, $500,000 to $600,000 a year to operate, has been a goal of Mayor Doug Franklin and his predecessor, Michael J. O’Brien

JAC founder and CEO Eric Ryan said his company has worked with the Covelli Centre in Youngstown since 2007, and under JAC’s watch, it has gone from losing about $700,000 a year in operating costs to turning profits in the last three years.

“We would hope that Packard Music Hall follows the same pattern as the Covelli Centre,” Ryan said.

JAC began managing the music hall in September. The company has as three-year agreement to manage and promote the facility with an optional two-year extension.

Blank criticized Franklin and his administration for penning the deal that will provide JAC $1 million over the course of the agreement if it exercises the two-year option.

The city is paying JAC fees of $300,000 in 2014; $250,000 in 2015; and $200,000 in 2016. If JAC decides to extend the contract for two more years, it will be paid $150,000 in 2018 and $100,000 in 2019.

Read more about Blank’s concerns and accusations, and the reasoning, defense and plans of the city administrators and hall management in the Sunday Tribune Chronicle.