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Oops: City Didn't Pay Mid-City Branch Libary's Rent for a Year

People were shocked to hear that the New Orleans Public Library's Mid-City branch was being forced to vacate its space at the American Can Company, and soon — the building's owner, the Georgia-based ACV VII LLC , wants the library out at the end of October. The Advocate article quoted Library Board Chairman Bernard Charbonnet as saying the company planned to "repurpose the space" and the library was "caught in the cross-hairs." Many assumed the library was collateral damage in ACV's capitalist greed, especially since the management hasn't been too popular among the building's residential tenants. But according to a WWL-TV report, there might be more to the story.

Apparently, the city went a full year without paying the $3,730/month rent on the Mid-City branch due to a "misunderstanding." The city paid ACV 13 months worth of rent a few weeks ago after receiving the notice to vacate.

So, what happened? It seems like there was some confusion stemming from the branch switching to a month-to-month lease last year when the library system ran out of money. In May voters approved a city tax increase that would help keep and expand library services, and the library failed the revisit the lease with ACV at that time. And somehow this "misunderstanding" resulted in no rent being paid at all.

But in the WWL-TV story, a week before the landlord sent out the notice to vacate, the ACV attorney told the library that a potential tenant "wanted to use the vacant space next to the library and expand into the library's space" and "did not bring up any issue of non-payment and, when asked, specifically denied this as a reason for exploring a new tenant." It's all very confusing.

However, the ACV attorney did tell WWL-TV previously that they would consider giving the library more time to find a new space. With news that Uptown's Latter Library would close temporarily for renovations around the same time, the city is going to be severely lacking in libraries this fall.

· City failed to pay Mid-City branch rent for a year [WWL-TV]
· Mid-City branch of city's library system needs to find a new home quickly [The Advocate]
· Mid-City, Latter libraries to close [Gambit]