As a public benefit (nonprofit) corporation, Cinefamily is required to provide access to its financial statements. (CinefamilyAccountability (CA) requested such documents in October 2017 but has not received a reply.)
At the time of closure, Cinefamily attorney Rory Miller told CA that Cinefamily was $70,000 in debt, and thus creditors would not be paid. CA has learned that at the time of closure, Cinefamily had assets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Further, Cinefamily’s revenue-generating operations continued after the public announcement of closure.
According to Brendel Geddes, Cinefamily’s accountant immediately prior to Hensley—and confirmed by top management from August 2017—Cinefamily assets include (“to the best of my recollection”) at least one digital cinema projector (DCP), the theater’s soundboard and speaker system, film collection, and laptops, tablets, heat lamps, and other projectors. One knowledgeable inside source estimated these assets to be worth $100,000–$150,000, though he pointed out this did not account for depreciation.
Howie Lancaster tells CA he was “the final GM from the Cinefamily,” staying in that role into November 2017. (Lancaster says that in September 2017 he was transferred to a different payroll entity.) According to Lancaster, between August and November 2017 there was approximately $19,000 in revenue from at least six private rentals, some of which had been booked by Cinefamily prior to its closure. One such rental provided an $8,500 deposit to Cinefamily earlier in 2017, and paid the balance of $8,500 to a different corporate entity.
Geddes also points to Cinefamily’s PayPal account, which he set up in 2014 and transferred to Hensley in April 2016. In February 2018, Geddes says, PayPal froze his personal account after Cinefamily’s corporate account accumulated debts of approximately $13,000. (Geddes says his name was improperly left on the corporate account.) According to Geddes, Dan Harkham acknowledged the debt, said he would “handle it,” and referred him to Harkham Family Enterprises’ accountant Fanny Chen. According to an email shared with CA, on March 21—eight weeks after Geddes first alerted Harkham—Chen wrote to Geddes: “If they [PayPal] call you again, you might tell them they call a wrong number and hang up. Maybe this will stop calling you. Sorry. There is not much I can do.”
“It’s dumb corporate sloppiness that PayPal is holding me personally responsible,” Geddes said, “but it’s insane that the Harkhams know it’s their responsibility but are letting me take the hit.” Geddes reports being currently unable to access his personal funds.
Months after closing, Cinefamily continued to charge donors. Black card holder Terri Anderson recently wrote to CA that when “putting my taxes together, I saw that Cinefamily has continued to charge my credit card $25/month” through January 2018. She received a refund from her credit card company (not from Cinefamily); it is not clear how many others may still be giving Cinefamily money on a monthly basis, or where the money is going.
Cinefamily/Fairfax’s Erin Hensley has not responded to requests for comment.
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