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|| at issue ||
Past due, forever
The Millennium March closes its books with $330,000 in unpaid debt
By John Gallagher

From The Advocate, July 17, 2001

By most accounts, the Millennium March on Washington, D.C., was a success. Despite the controversy surrounding the march, hundreds of thousands of people attended the April 30, 2000, event, which raised visibility for gay rights. What the march didn’t raise was enough money to pay off all its debts. The final audit of the event, made public May 31, shows the march leaving about $330,000 in unpaid debt.

“We paid out the balance of cash that we had on May 31 on a pro rata basis to all of the accounts payable,” said Michael Armentrout, march treasurer. “Our legal advisers said that when you don’t have enough money to pay everybody, the best way to proceed is to share equally with everyone.”

A majority of the $965,000 in debt the march had remaining at the end of last year was forgiven by three major lenders: the Human Rights Campaign, Online Partners, and Liberation Publications Inc., the publisher of The Advocate. Still owed to the march is a debt of $45,000 from the Cherry Fund, which contracted with the march to organize a series of dance parties during the march weekend. Still unresolved is the question of funds missing from the Millennium Festival, a separately run event providing a venue for food and souvenir vendors. An undetermined amount of money allegedly vanished from the festival, with Armentrout estimating the amount in the mid-six-figure range. The festival was to turn a portion of its profits over to the march but instead posted its own loss. Armentrout said the FBI, which is investigating the loss, told him the money is gone for good. “It’s not coming back, so it won’t have any impact on the outcome of the Millennium March,” he said.

The march joins a long and troubling list of gay events that have finished in the red, including the three previous marches on Washington, Stonewall 25, and the Gay Games in Amsterdam and elsewhere. “The community in general does not do business in the best way possible,” Armentrout said. “The march is just another sad example of not having the right kind of paid leadership to make sure the event does occur and does well financially. We have to do things better or not do it.”


From the archives of The Advocate
06/20/00: Where did all the money go?
An apparent theft from the Millennium Festival casts a shadow over the march on Washington
By John Gallagher  

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