Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gerber/Hart refuses to reveal group info
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-02-08

This article shared 3666 times since Wed Feb 8, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Amid growing concern about the future of the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, Chicago's LGBT library, the organization remains steadfast in its silence about its plans for relocation and basic operations.

In late January, Windy City Times first reported that the library's current home at 1127 W. Granville Ave. was for rent. Karen Sendziak, president of the library's board, later confirmed that the library would move. She has provided little information since, stating that media inquiries would be handled by the library's attorney, who Sendziak said is out of the country and cannot be named.

To date, WCT has not been able to obtain the names of any other board members, nor has the paper been provided a copy of the organization's current bylaws.

WCT submitted multiple inquiries to Sendziak but received no response.

On Feb. 5, two WCT reporters arrived at the library and asked Sendziak for a copy of the organization's bylaws and a list of its board of directors, both of which she declined to disclose, stating that the library's attorney was working hard on getting that information to the newspaper. Sendziak would not provide the name of that attorney when questioned further. Asked when such information would be made available, Sendziak replied, "When we are ready."

Sendziak did note that the Windy City Times newspaper remains at the front of the library. The Feb. 1 issue featured a front-page investigation on the library.

On Feb. 6, Gerber/Hart released an update on the move. "The new location will be a place where we can ensure the safety and protection of the books and historical archives we have been entrusted to hold," the statement read.

The language of the statement suggests that the library has not yet found a new home.

"We will keep you apprised throughout our search and will let you know as soon as we find and secure a new home, and are looking forward to sharing the excitement of this next, new chapter of our existence with you all!" the library said in a statement.

The library's lease is up at the end of April. The Gerber/Hart has not yet stated the anticipated costs of the move or what neighborhoods it is considering.

The organization's most recent statement notes its reason for moving as being "presented with a new, non-negotiable three-year lease reflecting a significant rental increase without any offer of upgrading the premises."

Rent at the library in 2011 is believed to have been approximately $5,570 a month, as listed on documents WCT uncovered.

Rae Ann Cecrle, the building's landlord, said that the lease was negotiable like all leases and that the library never requested significant upgrades to the building.

" [ Sendziak ] never told me anything she wanted except she said the windows were leaking and cold air was coming through the mail slot," Cecrle said, adding that she called a contractor and fixed both issues.

According to Cecrle, the new lease contained a $250/month rental increase, or an increase just shy of 4.5 percent. Cecrle offered to donate the rental increase to the library for 2012 up front and said the library could use its security deposit towards updating the library.

Cecrle said she increased the rent because it had not been increased in two years, and she needed to show income on her mortgage.

She said that before signing its 2011 lease, which began in February, the Gerber/Hart operated without a lease for 18 months under the management of neighborhood organization Edgewater Development Corporation.

"They kept trying to get her to sign a lease, and she just wouldn't sign the lease," Cecrle said. Since that time, new management has taken over the building. Cecrle said that the organization eventually signed a lease in March.

Windy City Times obtained copies of board meeting agendas from December 2010 and February 2011. Those agendas suggest that a move may have been discussed during those months. Both agendas contain items on "physical plant" and "lease."

Given difficulties of getting the library to sign the past lease, Cecrle said she sent Gerber/Hart a three-year lease for 2012.

Cecrle's name is well-known in Edgewater. In addition to owning the building that houses Gerber/Hart, M.Henrietta and the Granville Anvil gay bar, Cecrle has been involved in Edgewater community planning for more than 25 years.

In 2009, she founded Edgewater Artists in Motion, the community group that fills empty neighborhood storefronts with artwork in an effort to attract businesses to the community. The project has been featured in Chicago media outlets throughout Chicago and in The New York Times. Neighborhood organizations like Cecrle's have been trying to put more visible storefront windows on the street, which some argue deters crime and attracts new business.

In keeping with that work, Cecrle said she did include one non-negotiable clause in the new Gerber/Hart lease; she wanted the library to open its blinds more often and install a welcoming window display. According to Cecrle, she hired consultants and told Sendziak she would fund any upgrades to the library's window display.

"I was very willing to spend money, but I never got any feedback from her on what she wanted," Cecrle said. The blinds have been open more, she said, but the upgrades never happened.

It was Cecrle who told 48th Ward Ald. Harry Osterman that she thought the library intended to move two months ago. Both Cecrle and Osterman have stated that they wanted the library to stay and hoped it had the financial resources to do so.

"I'm really sorry that this is happening," said Cecrle about the move, adding that she continues to wish the best for the organization.

Cecrle has found one possible tenant for the space already, she said.

It remains unclear if Gerber/Hart has the money to purchase property or if it intends to lease a space. Information on the organization's current board of directors and finances is hard to come by because the organization has not filed its 2010 IRS Form 990.

WCT independently obtained a copy of the organizations bylaws from 2000 as well as a copy from 1996.

The 1996 version of the bylaws was provided by the Illinois attorney general's office. According to Robyn Ziegler, a spokesperson for the office, those bylaws were used to register the organization and have not been amended with the attorney general's office since.

The version of the library's bylaws from 1996 reveal that, at that time, the library was required to operate with at least 18 people on its board. In the 2000 bylaws, the board of directors was set at a minimum of 10 people and a maximum of 15.

In its 2009 IRS 990 Form, Gerber/Hart Library listed just two board members in addition to Sendziak—Owen Keehnen and Sukie de la Croix. ( de la Croix did not actually join the board until late 2010 ) . Both board members have since left the organization.

It remains unclear who replaced them. It is also unknown if the library's bylaws have been amended since 2000 to allow the organization to operate with fewer than 10 board members. Windy City Times is continuing to investigate this issue.

Participation on the board appears to have dropped between 2007-2009. In its 2007 IRS filing, the library listed nine members. A 2008 filing reflects just five members. Sendziak is listed as president in all three available filings. Sendziak is also listed as the person in charge of the organization's finances in 2009.

According to the 2000 bylaws, board members were to be elected annually, with each serving one-year terms. Board members at that time were only allowed to serve four terms consecutively, taking a year off before becoming eligible for re-election. Terms began in January of each year.

Windy City Times has received reports that dues-paying members have not been informed of annual meetings or elections in recent years. Some say they have also not received renewal applications.

In 2007, Sendziak was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame for her decades of commitment to the library and Chicago's LGBT history. According to her biography at that time, Sendziak had been serving as president of the board since 2004. If Sendziak has served as president uninterrupted since that time, she is serving her eighth consecutive year. Available financial documents indicate that Sendziak has been an unpaid volunteer throughout.

The library has yet to release requested information on the length of Sendziak's term or the date of the organization's last annual meeting and elections.

Chicago's LGBT community, long-acquainted with Gerber/Hart, has also been silent on these issues. Few have been willing to speak on the record to provide even basic information about the library. Fewer yet are willing to speak about their concerns widely, but they quietly expressed concern about a community whose archives are in a dark locked room on Granville Avenue.

—Assistance: Tracy Baim,

Jamie Anne Royce


This article shared 3666 times since Wed Feb 8, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Research shows racial bias denied social reformer Ada S. McKinley her due in history
2021-01-19
--From a press release - (Jan. 19, 2021; Chicago, Ill.) Newly released scholarly research about Chicago social reformer Ada S. McKinley indicates her contributions to Chicago and to the field of human services have been ignored and marginalized due to her ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Defamation case, inauguration items, PrEP, Capitol riot
2021-01-17
A New York appeals court ruled that falsely accusing someone of being gay is no longer considered defamation per se, NBC News reported. Defamation is a false statement that damages someone's reputation. "It meant that it ...


Gay News

Affinity Burning Bowl hosts first-ever virtual event amid pandemic
2021-01-14
Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Affinity Community Services (Affinity) held its annual Burning Bowl Jan. 9 on Zoom and Facebook Live. This year's theme was "Community Undivided." Among other items, the Barbara "Robbie" Smith Award of ...


Gay News

'Mombian Database' released
2021-01-13
Mombian columnist Dana Rudolph has released the Mombian Database of LGBTQ Family Books, Media, and More, with more than 500 books, music albums, movies, games and toys for and about LGBTQ families. The site offers multiple ...


Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Workout gear, $2 subs, LGBTQ book
2021-01-11
1. Lived Experience: Reflections on LGBTQ Life: "Lived Experience," in this case, refers to 60 LGBTQ people in this country who are older than 50—those who especially have so much to offer. This is a generation ...


Gay News

BOOKS: The best of 2020
2020-12-23
You've got a little extra time this month, and you don't want to waste it. You want to read something good, the possibilities are endless, and the best place to begin is with these Best Books ...


Gay News

Lighthouse Foundation to host Black Queer Pride: Winter Edition
2020-12-22
--From a press release - Lighthouse Foundation will host Chicago's Virtual Black Queer Pride: Winter Edition with three days of programming by eleven local Black Queer artists. The virtual event will take begin on Facebook live, Friday, ...


Gay News

WORLD Gender-identity studies, religion items, Hungary's ban
2020-12-21
Romania's Constitutional Court overturned a ban on gender-identity studies voted through by lawmakers but which rights groups and universities said would infringe on human rights and fuel discrimination, Openly News ...


Gay News

FDA funding blood-donation study about gay, bisexual men
2020-12-16
On the heels of news that England has mostly relaxed regulations regarding blood donations from gay and bisexual men, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is funding a study around blood donations by men in those ...


Gay News

American Writers Museum launches virtual American Voices exhibit
2020-12-07
--From a press release - (CHICAGO - December 7, 2020) - The American Writers Museum (AWM) today announced the launch of a new website NationofWriters.org, an online resource featuring a virtual American Voices exhibit, educational ...


Gay News

U.S. Soccer reaches partial settlement with World Cup women's team
2020-12-02
The U.S. Soccer Federation reached a settlement on working conditions with the U.S. women's soccer team in a gender-discrimination lawsuit that the World Cup champions filed, NBC News reported. The agreement was filed Dec. 1 in ...


Gay News

Prominent lesbians of color will join Biden administration
2020-11-30
Two prominent lesbians of color have been appointed to major roles in President-elect Joe Biden's communications department, the transition team announced in a news release November 29. Karine Jean-Pierre, who served as a Biden senior adviser ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Joanne E. Trapani
2020-11-29
According to Facebook posts, Joanne E. Trapani, one-time village president of Oak Park, has passed away. Read about her life and work in the community at the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame: http://chicagolgbthalloffame.org/trapani-joanne/ . and at ...


Gay News

Award-winning journalist Deb Price dead at 62
2020-11-27
Deb Price, the award-winning journalist and author who wrote the first nationally syndicated column on LGBT issues in mainstream newspapers, has died in a hospital at age 62 in Hong Kong, where she had lived for ...


Gay News

AFC holds virtual 'Gala35' celebration
2020-11-23
AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) marked 35 years with a virtual "Gala35" celebration and awards ceremony Nov. 19. Among the honorees were Newsweb Corporation Chairperson, Alphawood Foundation President and social-justice activist ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.