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Holocaust center faces foreclosure threat

Nov. 3, 2011 at 11:49 AM

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., Nov. 3 (UPI) -- A South Florida Holocaust center offering exhibits, videos and eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust faces foreclosure, Hollywood, Fla., officials say.

The Miami Herald reports the Holocaust Documentation Center has been given 90 days to settle a bill with Hollywood's Community Development Agency or the city will start the foreclosure process.

City officials say the center hasn't paid $16,000 in monthly rent for years and owes more than $200,000.

The Hollywood City Commission had been prepared to start the foreclosure process but decided Wednesday to give the center more time to seek outside financing.

"I don't think going to foreclosure is going to help either side," Commissioner Linda Sherwood said.

Harry Levy, the chairman of the Holocaust center's board, said he hopes the extension will give the center time to "work out a fair deal."

But he said the decision to delay foreclosure is "still like the death penalty" for the center.

The Holocaust center signed an agreement with the Community Redevelopment Agency in 2004 to buy a three-story building for $1.2 million. The center would then repay the loan plus interest over 15 years, which the city says would total $1.7 million.

The center has asked the city to forgive the loan because the center can't afford the $16,000 a month but city commissioners said in September the city, facing financial woes, can't afford to forgive the loan.

The center was to open a museum to the public but still hasn't done so, and attorney Steve Geller, who is representing the center, said that's part of the reason it can't repay the loan.

Geller also said it has taken three years and cost about $3.5 million to repair the building's plumbing, electrical wiring, floors, windows and casings.

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