Tuesday, April 01, 2008

WAMC to buy 'The Mount' in $8.7 million deal.

NPR affiliate to take over Wharton mortgage debt

Albany, New York -- WAMC Northeast Public Radio announced today it will buy The Mount in an $8.7 million transaction intended to take over the debt of the financially-ailing literary arts institution and keep the famous estate and library collection intact.

The tax-exempt NPR affiliate announced it would be purchasing all debt obligations of Edith Wharton Restoration, Inc. from local banks and individuals currently holding notes on the property, and that the public radio station will be taking possession as soon as the paperwork is signed.

The former Edith Wharton estate, WAMC's latest purchase to be used as the NPR affiliate's Lenox branch office, and as summer residence for its CEO Alan Chartock.-- Credit: Kevin Sprague, Copyright 2006, All Rights Reserved.

WAMC, in a press release, says it intends to refit the estate, change its name to the Alan S. Chartock Museum of Northeast Public Radio Arts, Sciences and First Amendments, in honor of the station's longtime CEO, and set aside the entire third floor wing of Edith Wharton's former dwelling for use by Mr. Chartock as a Lenox branch office and summer residence.

WAMC says the new acquisition, with its manicured lawns and gardens, will offer Mr. Chartock the peace, quiet, open space, and sweeping vistas necessary to enable its CEO, like Edith Wharton before him, to compose the riveting prose and illuminating commentary that readers and listeners have come to expect from the well-known political commentator and former SUNY professor.

WAMC's Chartock said, "The acquisition of Edith Wharton's home along with the estate's extensive acreage and out buildings will be a fitting memorial to public radio and to WAMC's lifelong commitment to promoting liberalism, democratic values, social justice, and a more civil society."

WAMC's long-time CPA, William M. Kahn, managing director with UHY LLP in Albany, gives the deal thumbs up, saying, "Yeah, I guess. Who wants to spend summers on Central Avenue?"

Mr. Chartock also noted, "WAMC is asking listeners to give what they can so this fragile experiment in public radio will never go out and the fire of our commitment so WAMC listeners can hear different points of view will be the candle that lights the voices that will forever hear truth in our hearts and not die and not be afraid to take on the Bushies and their minions the Cheneys and attacking our Constitutional rights, our First Amendment, and the good Lord willing will make WAMC's newest goal a reality."

Mr. Chartock also said that tax-deductible contributions should be made to the 'WAMC Museum Fund' in care of the station.

The Mount's manicured lawns and gardens will offer Mr. Chartock the peace, quiet, open space, and sweeping vistas necessary to enable him to compose prose and commentary.-- Credit: Kevin Sprague, Copyright 2006, All Rights Reserved.

A special four-week, on-air fund drive to raise the $8.7 million is set for the beginning of the summer tourist season and will culminate with 'WAMC Day' at Tanglewood, an all-day affair which will include a gala black-tie, invitation-only dinner followed by a concert in the Koussevitzky Music Shed and fireworks.

Former New York State Democratic Governors Mario M. Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer will make special guest appearances at WAMC Day at Tanglewood.

The concert will feature performances by James Taylor, Pete Seeger, Jay Unger and Molly Mason, with special guest appearances by 'Prairie Home Companion' host Garrison Keillor, and two former New York State Democratic Governors, Mario M. Cuomo and Eliot Spitzer. <<<<<

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