Summit Historical Society sale kept a secret (letter)
I was dismayed by the story in the SDN about the recent sale to the Town of Breckenridge of the three properties owned by the Summit Historical Society (SHS).
First, because of the secrecy connected to the sale. As a former Treasurer and Vice President until last August, I and most other members of the Society were not notified of any negotiations. I can only assume that those who might oppose the sale were deliberately kept from knowledge of the negotiations. According to the story, the sale was not presented to the board until last November and the confidentiality agreement they all signed kept them from speaking out at that time. Also, the notice to “valued members” was not communicated until it was too late to oppose the sale. Certain members were not sent the notice at all. This should not happen in a volunteer organization.
Second, the method used to determine the price. To use a $3,000 “average” of the amount of the lease between Breckenridge Heritage Alliance (BHA) and SHS over the past life of the lease agreement is wrong. As Treasurer, I negotiated a new lease agreement with the BHA two years ago for $4,500 due to the greatly increased tourist traffic and resulting revenue to the BHA since their formation years ago when $3,000 was more appropriate. For instance, their “haunted tour” is only a few years old, but one of their most successful in terms of revenue and participation. If $4,500 over the next 10 years had been used to determine the sale price it would have been $45,000.
Third, the story says that there was an inventory of the thousands of artifacts at each site and implies that was sufficient for the sale. What should have been done was to get an appraisal of the value of those artifacts. It is dereliction of fiscal responsibility not to do so. One of the main objections by many to the sale is that several SHS board members declared that the artifacts had no value. That is false and an appraisal would have settled that dispute and I believe would have resulted in a greatly increased sale price.
Fourth, SHS has just sold 50% of all of its historical buildings for an amount that will not even begin to pay for the restoration SHS plans for some of its remaining structures.
Former VP and Treasurer of Summit Historical Society
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