With little exception, commenters on The Sun editorial board's blog said they believed it is time for former Senator Theatre owner Tom Kiefaber to hand over the historic movie palace to its new owners, Charles Theatre proprietor Buzz Cusack and his daughter, Kathleen. The Baltimore Development Corp. originally wanted him out by Sunday, but it has now given him a reprieve until July 21. Join the conversation at baltimoresun.com/secondopinion.
Mr. Kiefaber has made promise after promise upon which the city has lent (or given) dollar after dollar, not to mention the donations solicited/received to "maintain this historic theater." Kick him to the curb — he blew it!
I agree 100 percent — I am SO tired of Tom Kiefaber's poor-me routine. I am a big fan of preserving historic venues when they are run SMARTLY and with a plan to remain viable in the 21st century. Kiefaber ran through the MANY bailouts he received without thinking strategically, and as a result, he has lost the Senator. He absolutely needs to move on. His beef with the Cusacks is simply that they are better businesspeople. Exclusive rights to films take place in the movie industry all the time, and the best owners get the rewards. Sorry, Tom — that's the way it goes. Good luck.
It has ALWAYS been about Mr. Kiefaber. I had to deal with him over the Grand Theater, a neighborhood movie house which a) his company owned and b) his company closed and c) his company allowed to deteriorate into a molding ruin before finally selling.
The Grand was destroying the economic future of the whole block. But Mr. Kiefaber wanted the city to restore the Grand and turn it over to him to run — at a time when the Senator was close to bankruptcy. If Baltimore could not support one single-screen theater, how could it possibly support two?
That question did not matter to Mr. Kiefaber, who organized the uninformed into a campaign against the city and Pratt Library's plans for the block. Eventually, the city and Pratt prevailed, and there is now a library there that is serving all the surrounding communities, instead of Mr. Kiefaber's hulking wreck of an abandoned building.
The Senator was on its way to hulking wreckitude as well under Kiefaber's "leadership." Good riddance to a municipal parasite.
Some of us had plans to go see Twilight next week. Thanks a lot for ruining the blockbuster event of the summer, BDC!
What about the moviegoers?
I was a movie critic for City Paper for about a dozen years, and I closely witnessed the difference in capabilities between Tom Kiefaber and Buzz Cusack. As others have pointed out here, Mr. Kiefaber burned through grant and after grant from the city and made absolutely no progress toward securing the future of the Senator. Mr. Cusack took his own money (and his expertise in construction) and transformed the Charles and, indeed, an entire neighborhood. He's a businessman. Mr. Kiefaber isn't. It's that simple.