On Sept. 19, 2020, NPR ran an article announcing AGMA’s upcoming purchase of a $9.4 million Manhattan condo for its new headquarters. A number of union members from the AGMA Soloist Coalition have brought forward their concerns, stating that this major financial decision, which would drain two-thirds of the guild’s net assets, was kept hidden from their knowledge for over a year.
The decision comes as a majority of AGMA members find themselves severely affected by the ongoing theater closures in the wake of COVID-19, and the guild faces an extended period of reduced revenue. In order to help secure resources for its affected artists, the AGMA Soloist Coalition is calling on people to write to the New York Attorney General in order to contest the purchase.
A template email and instructions can be found at this link.
“It is our contention that AGMA both failed to give timely notice of the motion to authorize the purchase to its Board of Governors and gave no notice at all to its membership of the meeting,” writes the Coalition in its email. “AGMA’s Board also failed to publish its policy permitting member observation of the meeting where the purchase was authorized. These failures to give notice constitute a violation of NPCL §510(a)(1).”
AGMA’s executive director Leonard Egert stated in the NPR story that allegations of financial mismanagement were “off the mark” and that “AGMA is in a ‘great’ financial position right now because of its current and recent leadership.” Furthermore, he noted that the organization is working to secure benefits and other compensation for artists.
The deal is set to go through on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020.