An attempt by Duquesne Light to shut off utilities at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture was short-circuited today when Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Lawrence O’Toole ruled in favor of the struggling center.
Judge O’Toole approved a motion requiring Duquesne Light to seek a court order before it shuts off electricity at the Downtown center.
While there was no planned date to end the service, the August Wilson Center owes the electric company $38,000 and is running up bills of $10,000 a month, Duquesne Light spokesperson Joseph Vallarian confirmed. Company officials will discuss whether to file for a court order to shut off utilities, he said.
The unpaid fees are the latest in a series of financial woes plaguing the center, which has faced a series of fundraising shortfalls and cost overruns since opening in 2009 and before that time.
Dollar Bank filed a foreclosure on the center for outstanding mortgage payments this fall. Last month, the court appointed Judge Judith Fitzgerald as conservator for the center. A counsel for Judge Fitzgerald could not immediately be reached for comment.
Molly Born contributed. Elizabeth Bloom: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1750.