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MUSIC HALL FILES CLAIM AGAINST CITY KLEINHANS SAYS RENT FOR ORCHESTRA UNPAID

Kleinhans Music Hall filed a claim against the city Thursday for $110,000 that was promised to it earlier this year by the Common Council.

But administration officials and Council members disagree whether the city will pay up.

The $110,000 is for rent the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra owes the music hall for its 1989-90 concert season. The money is part of a $310,000 funding package for the orchestra that was intended to pay for the back rent and for the first $200,000 installment of a five-year bailout plan.

The package was outlined in a March 27 resolution that included the bailout plan in the city's maintenance contract with Kleinhans.

Last week, however, the Council was scrambling to find a way to provide the money. Council President George K. Arthur said then that the funds had been mistakenly excluded from the city's 1990 budget.

Council Majority Leader Eugene M. Fahey said Kleinhans officials filed the claim after a Tuesday morning meeting with Council members.

The meeting, which Fahey described as private, was called "to address the current administration's refusal to honor the contract."

City Budget Director Thomas F. Keenan said the administration has not paid the money because a clause in the resolution says the city will pay Kleinhans "subject to the availability of funds."

"No funds were provided in the budget," Keenan said. "The intent (of Council) was not fulfilled."

However, Fahey Thursday denied the money was left out of the budget by mistake.

Instead, he said, the money is part of a $200,000 package the Council has earmarked to indirectly support the orchestra by maintaining Kleinhans Music Hall.

However, Keenan said the Council only included $60,000 in emergency funding for the orchestra when it added items to the budget this year.

Fahey also said the administration is balking at the payout because the Council did not establish a budget line item specifically earmarking the $110,000 for Kleinhans rent payments.

"The administration is interpreting the agreement incorrectly," Fahey said.

North District Councilman David Rutecki said the claim is expected to be sent to the Council's claims committee, and then can be paid out of the city's judgments and claims account.

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