Fellow Sound Museum tenants, local Boston musicians and supporters:
This is about YOU and how you were played and scammed by the city of Boston and ArtStaysHere.
Many of you asked what happened with the original plan and support from the city to rebuild and relocate The Sound Museum last year.
You deserve to know the truth.
You deserve to know why many of you have lost or will lose your affordable practice space and forced to go to more expensive unethically created places you didn’t ask to go to. This is the whole truth. All of this can be verified by emails or texts.
Here’s the facts: Familiarize yourself with the process if you want. On the BPDA link below are dozens of letter you wrote in support of The Sound Museum & copies of videos of public comments supporting The Sound Museum.
What is suspiciously not on the BPDA website is the poll data requested by the city that The Sound Museum collected and submitted to the BPDA and MOAC from hundreds of Sound Museum tenants in support of The Sound Museum staying in business, being rebuilt and relocated anywhere affordable in Boston. If you’d like a copy of this data, let us know.
Look at the attached the letters from the city offices to familiarize yourself with what the city proposed and wanted for The Sound Museum’s sustainability, and how things changed once art stays here got involved we say, illegally.
NOWHERE in the BPDA website or the letter from MOAC does it say that ArtStaysHere is a stakeholder or representative of the Boston music community OR Sound Museum or its tenants.
1. In 2021, some city officials from the MAYORS OFFICE OF ARTS AND CULTURE including KARA ELLIOT ORTEGA , who, unbeknownst to the Desmond or their tenants, was at the time in a romantic relationship with the OWNER of one of the Sound Museum’s competitors (The Record Company) and should have recused herself immediately regarding anything involving the city’s involvement with building rehearsal spaces. These officials came to the Sound Museum after the building was purchased for a tour and a meeting to address the Desmonds’ request for support in not being displaced.
2. She then wrote the above letter addressed to the BPDA (planning board) listing the Sound Museum business as an “Anchor Institution”, and “Valuable Cultural Asset”, insisting on the proponent providing for its sustainability and temporary funds to rebuild as part of the article 80 process. (See attached letter)
3. The New owners of 155 North Beacon st pledged to rebuild and relocate the Sound Museum and they and the Desmonds agreed to work with the city and developers towards this goal to satisfy the requirements of the City’s demand for the Sound Museum’s sustainability.
4. The City and Developers were then mandated to work with the Desmonds and Sound Museum Tenants (see and read attached letters) to create solutions that addressed the Sound Museum’s sustainability and its Tenant’s wishes and needs for affordable practice space, but the city suddenly insisted it had to be in Allston Brighton. The Desmonds were fine with this but stated there were no affordable RENTAL buildings in the area and again offered to work with the City and the Developers to find a solution that addressed the mandates on the letters drafted by the city regarding the proponent providing funds for the Sound Museum’s sustainability and its tenants needs for affordable practice space which now, had to be in Allston/ Brighton.
5. The Desmonds were DIRECTLY asked by Kara at MOAC to collect information from their tenants regarding their demographic (where they are from) The Sound Museum, in addition, included a poll asking us the Sound Museum tenants our choice of location for mitigation against losing our work space, and almost 80% of Sound Museum tenants responded with a wish to continue to stay a Sound Museum Tenant, and approved of the Sound Museum being relocated anywhere in the city of Boston.
Many Dozens of tenants wrote to the city with their support of keeping the Sound Museum in business.
Fact: less than 16% of Sound Museum tenants were from Allston/Brighton , and less that 25% of tenants were from Boston at all. So 75% of tenants were from outside the city so it wasn’t important to the tenants that they stayed in Allston Brighton. They just wanted uninterrupted work space as a priority.
The Desmonds submitted this tenant poll data to MOAC , Councilor Breadon’s office, and the BPDA , and it was suppressed and never submitted to the city’s Article 80 project site. The city decided to suppress the documented wishes of hundred of musicians who signed this poll in support of the Sound Museum’s relocation and rebuilding and in support of and request of the continuity of lifestyle it provided (Play as Loud as you Want, 24 hour Access, Affordable rates, In House Sound Stage, Video and Music Recording studios ). We, the Boston Music community believe it was suppressed because the information and demand of the tenants was in direct conflict with with ArtStaysHere’s and MOAC’s Plan.
6. Councilor Breadon’s office then told the Desmonds’ in a zoom meeting that it was “ILLEGAL” for the proponent offer to rebuild and relocate the SOUND MUSEUM, a direct contradiction to the MAYORS OFFICE’S MANDATE and Councilor Breadon’s Mandate (see letters above).
When the Desmonds and their attorneys on behalf of the Sound Museum wrote to the BPDA AND Councilor Breadons’ office for legal documentation that qualified this offer of relocation and rebuilding as ‘Illegal’ ,several times, they refused to answer or send proof that this relocation and rebuilding was in fact “Illegal”. The Desmonds’ called and emailed the city and stated the were open to working with the city and MOAC’s and the Concilor’s office as verified representatives of their tenants and the local Boston community they have been a part of as musicians themselves for decades, to find solutions that satisfied this city and worked within MOAC’s mandate of the Sound Museum’s sustainability and rebuilding, and were completely ignored after that.
For almost 8 months.
The Desmonds also received no updates or communication from the Developers during this time.
When we and other tenants ask the Desmonds last spring/summer for an update we were told the last correspondences from the landlord they got was “The message is the same, we intend to rebuild the Sound Museum”, but, they were told, they had to negotiate with the city to satisfy their mitigation needs as well.
After a few months of trying to contact the city and developers for an update, the Desmonds were met with vague answers like:
“This is a process, and there will be plenty of time to address these issues.” The Desmonds have documented attempts to reach out to the BPDA, MOAC and Councilor Breadon’s office to work with them, their tenants, and the developer as mandated, and they refused to speak or meet with them contrary to the councilor’s letters insisting they be part of the conversations.
BUT WHAT WAS ACTUALLY GOING ON DURING THE TIME THE CITY REFUSED TO NEGOTIATE OR MEET WITH THE DESMONDS WAS THIS:
7. MOAC, The BPDA, and Councilor Breadon’s office conspired and negotiated IN SECRET with a city hall employee’s PRIVATE company: ArtStaysHere to negotiate with the owners of 155 North Beacon St, to apparently take back their offer to rebuild and relocate the Sound Museum and instead buy the city a building and build a carbon copy of the Sound Museum for the city.
8. Basically the city held meetings without the parties it was mandated to work with, (the Sound Museum and its tenants that were polled and were trusting the Desmonds’ to negotiate on their behalf) ,and negotiated instead with a private company that had nothing to do with the Sound Museum, its tenants, or the local music community it falsely claimed to represent.
Did you ask ArtStaysHere to negotiate on your behalf? Because we didn’t.
Ami Bennett convinced the city to basically steal the Desmonds’ business, their intellectual property, their trade secrets, the Desmond’s primary source of income and their lifetime’s worth of clients and tenants away from them for the benefit of city.
In direct conflict to the documented mandates that insisted on the Sound Museum’s sustainability and the Desmonds’ and tenant’s input being addressed and heard.
The city was now offering ZERO to the “Anchor Institute” and “Valuable Cultural Asset” it pledged to sustain and was supposed to negotiate with.
During this time NOBODY but the Desmonds asked their tenants and the local music community the city was mandated to work what they wanted.
NOBODY ASKED US IF WE WANTED A CITY-RUN, TWICE-AS-EXPENSIVE, HOURLY, NON-24-HOUR, REHEARSAL SPACE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE SOUND MUSEUM!
NOBODY ASKED US. NOBODY ASKED YOU.
It was just DECIDED you would have to bend over and take whatever art stays here decided you wanted and needed.
TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT, FOLKS!
9. Ami Bennet from ArtStaysHere with the help from MOAC, LIED to THE Sound Museum’s Landlord,The BPDA, and Councilor Breadon’s Office when she claimed she represented the voice of the Sound Museum clients, 350+ musician tenants, and the local music community.
The BPDA, Councilor Breadon’s office , The Mayor, and the owners did nothing to respond to or address the Desmond’s documented emails they sent to all of them several times over a year regarding their concern about some of the Sound museum’s direct competitors (and later to be identified as new ArtStaysHere members) being on the project’s Impact Assessment Group creating conflicts of interest, or their insistence that ArtStaysHere’s claims to represent the local music community or the 350 Sound Museum Tenant’s were in fact false and misleading.
Nobody in these city offices’ meetings bothered to ask us tenants or the Desmonds to verify that she spoke for us, or apply the over 300+ documents and signatures from the Sound Museum Tenants and The Local Music Community that wanted to keep the Sound Museum alive and relocated, or speak or Negotiate with the Boston Music Community’s ACTUAL primary representatives, the Desmonds, to verify that this city hall employee’s privately owned company did in fact have authorization from them to speak or negotiate for them, or the local music community to represent them in these negotiations.
This was FRAUD, perpetuated by every city office involved.
Fact: During this time, less than a dozen of over 350 tenants knew about or were associated with this private company ArtStaysHere owned by a city hall employee. Art Stays here at the time was Ami Bennett, Her husband, Sound Museum Tenant Jim Healy, and one other fine artist member from Dorchester, Christine Todesco. That was it. That was the group that was eventually discovered to be who negotiated for all of you and the Desmonds.
You want to know why she got away with it? SO DO WE!
Because Ami Bennett of ArtStaysHere, works at city hall, as an elderly care advocate so she’s 100% qualified to represent the Boston Museum Community? Her “activist experience?” Her privately owned company used its City Hall connections to help her ONE ArtStaysHere partner help a small group of fine artists friends in Dorchester keep their living art lofts. This does not qualify her to think she represented the entire Allston Brighton Music Community or any of the Sound Museum Tenants. Her qualifications versus the Desmonds, who are also lifelong musicians and members of the Boston Music community, is laughable.
She’s not even from the area. Oh, but her husband has a band so all of sudden she’s the voice of hundred of the Sound Museum’s tenants and the entire neighborhood’s music community. NOPE. FRAUD.
So the city did nothing to verify her qualifications with the Sound Museum or their tenant, or stop her or censure her or her lies. They just let her walk in, take over negotiations, and lie and steal the rebuilding and relocation deal mandated by the city offered by the developers from the Desmonds and their tenants. The city didn’t stop her because they got to steal the business from the Desmonds in the process, and keep their hands clean because a third party private company that lied its way into the negotiations did all the dirty work on their behalf.
And does anyone else think its a rotten coincidence that the city allowed ArtStaysHere to negotiate A CARBON COPY OF THE SOUND MUSEUM for MOAC when Kara Elliot Ortega of MOAC’s BOYFRIEND MATT MCARTHUR owns a competitive rehearsal facility business himself (The Record Company), and later got to run the temporary space MOAC pledged to fund (see letter attached) to the Sound Museum but paid the Record Company to run instead ?
Kara Elliot Ortega , the “culture CZAR of MOAC” in a hugely unethical and immoral conflict of interest, did not recuse MOAC or herself from any of these processes, negotiations, or meetings regarding rehearsal space, even thought she was and continues to be actively in a romantic relationship with one of the Sound Museum’s direct rehearsal competitors Matt McArthur, owner of another rehearsal facility The Record Company. The MAYOR knew this and did NOTHING. Business as usual at city hall we guess?
Do you see the pattern here?
Does it start to look anything like collusion or possible crimes were committed?
Are you understanding that you were LIED TO, misrepresented, and USED for the city’s benefit?
10. The Mayor, the BPDA, and Councilor Breaden’s office ignored the Desmonds’ emails asking for help dealing with this interloper, and said nothing when ArtStaysHere illegally trespassed in the Desmonds’ business, and building, against their wishes, invited their clients and tenants to a private zoom the Desmonds were not allowed to attend, and told lies to the Sound Museum tenants who attended saying they were working on behalf of the city.
Fact: There are several documented correspondences from MOAC to the Desmonds, and documented group phone conversations with the Desmonds, some of their Tenants and Kara at MOAC that the city is NOT working with ArtStaysHere.
So WHY DIDN’T THE CITY STOP THEM?? WHY DID THE CITY LET THEM GET INVOLVED WITH THE ARTICLE 80 NEGOTIATIONS??
Ami Bennett from ArtStaysHere, lied to Sound Museum tenants, and said she was working with the Desmonds and with the city, and was authorized to represent their tenants. When the tenants in the ArtStaysHere Zoom complained they didn’t represent them, and asked why the Desmonds were not invited to the zoom, they were yelled at and not invited to any future ArtStaysHere zooms.
We have video proof of this.
11.The voices of the entire Sound Museum tenant base was ignored over the voice of a single lying city hall employee’s private company in negotiations regarding their needs and the Sound Museum’s city mandated sustainability.
12. Art Stays here is on record saying they negotiated a building for the city for a city owned rehearsal space, (even though the city insisted multiple times they weren’t working with her?) and the city did NOTHING to include any of the tenants voices or the Sound Museum in the conversations they were mandated to include all of us us in, and did NOTHING to make sure The Sound Museum stayed in business.
13. City hall empowered this privately owned city hall employee’s company to negotiate a deal that did the opposite of what the letters and mandates said about providing funding to keep an “Anchor Institution” (Sound Museum) in business.
NONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO WROTE THESE LETTERS OR SIGNED THEM DID ONE THING TO STOP THIS.
(See the signature pages and the city hall officials cc’d on these letters)
ARE YOU WONDERING WHY THE CITY INSISTED THE SOUND MUSEUM BE KEPT IN BUSINESS WITH TEMPORARY SPAC, AND THEN DID THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE?
ARE YOU WONDERING WHY THE RECORD COMPANY ENDED UP WITH THE SOUND MUSEUM’S TENANTS’ TEMPORARY SPACE?
Are you curious why the city did nothing to negotiate on behalf of the tenants during the article 80 process with the developer, and why we were evicted all of a sudden with nowhere to go?
It was planned this way, so Kara and Ami could get the Sound Museum’s one precious asset, their hard earned clients and tenants, away from the Desmonds.
14. City hall did nothing to assure the funds to the Sound Museum for temporary space it mandated in its letter to the BPDA, when this private company “ArtStaysHere” took over the locating of and controlling temporary rehearsal space for the Sound Museum tenants, instead of working with Sound Museum.
WHY? WELL READ ON AND FIND OUT.
ArtStaysHere was funded instead of the Sound Museum for temporary space for the Sound Museum tenants, and literally made the Desmonds enter a contest to be able to run a temporary space for their tenants in direct conflict with the city’s pledge to assure funds for temporary space to and for the Sound Museum’s sustainability.
Ami Bennett created a “secret committee” whose members she refuses to divulge that included a Massachusetts arts group, MassCreative, that Kara Elliot Ortega is the BOARD CHAIRMAN OF.
This “secret committee” “voted” for who they though was most qualified to run the new temporary space, and ended up handing over the temporary space to Kara Elliot Ortega’s BOYFRIENDS’S COMPANY, THE SOUND MUSEUM’S COMPETITION, THE RECORD COMPANY.
A company that has never run a monthly rehearsal facility.
We were also told that the Record Company had been in the temporary space for two weeks with their architect already making build out plans prior to the date the Sound Museum and the other “contestant” Sum Studios was invited to tour the property, so this “contest” was a lie and a fraud.
The Record Company had already been given the green light to start build out and steal the Desmonds’ business away from them.
Once again, ArtStaysHere was empowered by the city to do the opposite of what The Mayor’s Office letter (above) mandated that the Sound Museum as a business are provided temporary space for their company and their tenants, The letter from MOAC does not mention Kara’s BOYFRIEND getting to run the Sound Museum’s temporary space.
Kara and Ami basically helped her boyfriends steal the Desmonds’ company from them. Plain and simple.
So are you cool with someone’s boyfriends company stealing the Desmonds’ lifetime of hard work? We think its disgusting.
Will you join us in speaking out as a community and as a Sound Museum tenant to say that the Sound Museum’s temporary space, Relocation and Rebuild should have gone to the Sound Museum??
15. We the Boston Music Community, The Sound Museum Tenants and its local supporters are seeking legal and financial support and assistance in bringing this to Mainstream Media, the MA board of Ethics, The US District Attorney, and the Attorney General’s office, and filing suits against The City of Boston, ArtStaysHere, Ami Bennett, The Record Company and Mass Creative for Conspiracy to Commit Fraud, Conflict of Interest, Negotiating in Bad Faith, Ethics Violations, Tortuous Interference, and possible Racketeering, and seeking damages against the of members of the above groups on behalf of the Desmonds and the Sound Museum.
16. And here’s the latest very suspicious Cronyism conflict of interest tidbit from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture.
All of a sudden MOAC created a 1.5 million dollar fund for “Cultural Spaces” that had a less than a 2 week deadline (January15- 31st) and says its primary neighborhood focus is directly where someone’s Boyfriend’s Company is. They’re so brazen they’re not even hiding it anymore. So who wants to bet that ArtStaysHere and The Record Company get some of MOAC’s “cultural space” fund money? Let’s watch and see!
Did the city offer this fund to the Desmonds or Sound Museum as part of their pledge against it’s displacement or for its sustainability? Nope. Directly offering it to cultural businesses in boyfriend’s company’s neighborhood.
“Contributions from development projects in the City of Boston, including funds to be allocated with first priority to projects in the South End Economic Development Areas (Art. 64-14), then to other locations in the South End, Chinatown, Roxbury and South Boston neighborhood zoning districts, and finally to the other neighborhoods of Boston.”
Its like a Suburban Housewife is going to clean up the Boston Music scene and make it all neat and tidy, so don’t even think about continuity of lifestyle or loading in at 4-6 am after driving from a NYC gig, or making your rehearsal space your own and decorating it and making it your artistic home away from home. You will assimilate, become one with the Borg and pay $900+ for a room that Sound Museum would charge a lot less for, and be forced to unethically support someone who has no problem stealing the Desmonds’ business, income and livelihood away from them.
They’re already doing it by stealing their tenants for the Temporary space we’re being sent to. We’re all literally BEING FORCED TO HELP THEM them screw the Desmonds and Steal the Sound Museum because our practices spaces were negotiated away from the Desmond and we have no where else to go.
The Desmonds have taken care of us for 38 years. Let’s return the favor.
Several of us tenants have filed reports and complaints with the governing offices of oversight, and hope you’ll do the same.
The Desmonds and the Sound Museum are creating a nonprofit to support this community, so they can’t be screwed by crooked politicians again, please stop by and sign up for their email list here: www.SOUNDMUSEUMBOSTON.com
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION!
SHARE THIS INFO WITH EVERYONE.
COMPLAIN TO THE RECORD COMPANY, CITY HALL AND TO THE GOVERNING BODIES OF OVERSIGHT, Attorney General and MA Board of Ethics.
#SAVETHESOUNDMUSEUM #SAVESTOLENCULTURALASSETS #STOPCITYHALLCORRUPTION #STOPNEPOTISM