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During a Nov. 9 meeting to discuss possible means to save the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, former co-director and one of its founders Sala Udin admitted the board did not do what was needed to address the center’s financial problems.

He also called on the entire board of directors to resign, saying it is the only means to restore investor confidence.

“One of the things we did not do—we did not develop a plan to repay that $11 million. We hoped that the capital development committee would come back because they could raise the big bucks.”

Udin, is a non-voting board member and cannot compel the others to step down, but said he thought it is the only way to get “the money, the spigot, turned back on.” He thanked Dollar Bank for its patience and along with founding members Oliver Byrd, Yvonne Cook and Nancy Washington, asked supporters to contact the court to have Common Pleas Judge Lawrence O’Toole appoint a conservator to manage and preserve the Center and its mission.

Dollar Bank has already petitioned the court to have a receiver put in place to maintain and protect the property, and if necessary, prepare it for sale.

Udin said it was heartening to see so many of the original supporters like Rip Nixon, Cecile Springer, Tim Stevens and others come to express their concerns.

“There’s still a lot of love and support for this building and its mission,” he said. “If we get a chance to have a transition period, and the time to put together a proposal that solves the centers problems, the bank’s problems and preserves the mission, that period will have to be funded by the foundation community–and they have said they will not give another dime with this board in place.”

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18.

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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