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The Baltimore Sun

The Senator Theatre Passes the Hat

The Senator Theatre's recent history has included several last-ditch efforts to raise money from fans of the vintage Govans cinema to keep various financial wolves from the door. Just two years ago, the Senator beat back its creditors with $110,000 raised mostly from ordinary donors. Now closed because of foreclosure proceedings and staring down an auctioneer's gavel, the Senator is begging for bail-out funds again.

This morning, the Senator's e-mail listserv delivered the following into our inbox:

As we are sure you have heard by now, The Historic Senator Theatre is going to auction unless we, the greater Baltimore community, take immediate action to ensure the community has a stake in its future. The goal is attainable. Please join our MISSION DEBT FREE now! The effort to convert The Senator Theatre to a debt-free multipurpose arts and entertainment facility is within reach. If each person receiving this email donates just $175, we can pay off The Senator's mortgage and begin operations as a debt-free multipurpose arts and entertainment facility immediately. If each person receiving this email forwards it on to just one more friend, and that whole group donates just $87.50, we can pay off The Senator's mortgage and begin operations as a debt-free multipurpose arts and entertainment facility immediately. If each person receiving this email forwards it on to just two more friends, and that whole group donates just $58.33, we can pay off The Senator's mortgage and begin operations as a debt-free multipurpose arts and entertainment facility immediately. We realize that not everyone might be able to make donations of this size, but please do whatever you can to help, and together we can reach this goal before auction.
The Senator Community Trust has set up its own web site, featuring a PayPal link for online donations, contact info for elected officials, and a plea for e-mails of support that the Trust can then forward to famous (and deep-pocketed) "friends of the Senator," including "John Waters, Barry Levinson, Edward Norton, Matthew McConaughey, David Arquette, Oprah, and Patricia Hearst."

The theater owes $900,000 to 1st Mariner Bank, which initiated the foreclosure, a sum more than eight times that Senator proprietor Tom Kiefaber was able to raise in 2007. No date has been set for the auction, though it would reportedly take place in April.

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