Controversy and plans for fundraisers were swirling about Gotham’s beleaguered Apollo Theater last week. Percy Sutton, owner of the venerable Harlem hall, has said it will close June 1 unless the state and its Urban Development Corp. defer payments on a loan and help the venue attain cheaper insurance and electricity.
Details about a 1986 deal with the UDC to slash in half the interest rate on the $9 million 1984 loan began to surface last week. Former UDC chairman William Stern negotiated terms of an initial $4.1 million loan to the Apollo in 1984, with an 8% interest rate that was to increase to 12% during the second half of a 22-year lease. When Stern left in 1986, UDC chairman Vincent Tese recommended the interest rates be cut in half.
Stern decried the action last week, saying the public would be better served if the money were put towards schools, public safety and housing.
Meanwhile, execs from Miramax Films, along with Gregory Hines and Robin Givens, stars of Miramax’ forthcoming “A Rage In Harlem,” presented Sutton with a $50,000 check April 24 and announced that the pic’s world premiere would be held at the Apollo April 29.
A Save the Apollo Film Committee has also been formed.