Saturday, August 10, 2013

Scottish Rite Theatre Press Statement, August 9, 2013

Scottish Rite Theatre Austin TX




Statement regarding recent press

On July 24, 2013 The Scottish Rite Theatre terminated its Executive Director, Emily Marks. Approximately three weeks earlier, The Scottish Rite Theatre terminated its business relationship with John Riedie, an independent contractor who provided booking and production assistance for the Theatre. Ms. Marks and Mr. Riedie are close friends.

It is the policy of the Scottish Rite Theatre not to publically discuss personnel matters. However, since their termination, Ms. Marks and Mr. Riedie have instigated a smear campaign, including blatantly false and malicious attacks against the Scottish Rite Theatre, its Board of Directors, the Austin Scottish Rite Fraternity, and Freemasonry in general. We are disappointed by the allegations that have been made in the wake of these personnel terminations and would prefer that all parties move beyond the termination of the business relationship. However, the relentless, vulgar, and untrue allegations and comments that have been made in the print media, social media and through dozens of email and text messages by Ms. Marks and Mr. Riedie to Board members and officers require our response.

First and foremost, The Scottish Rite Theatre is in full compliance with its obligations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Scottish Rite Theatre provides annual reporting to the IRS and will continue to do so. The Scottish Rite Theatre hosts a venue for children, the community, entertainers and philanthropic organizations including members and affiliates of the Austin Scottish Rite Fraternity. The Theatre’s operations will continue to fulfill its charitable purpose.

In addition, The Scottish Rite Theatre stands by its decision to close the building on July 24, 2013 after the Board learned for the first time late Tuesday, July 23, 2013 of an inspection previously conducted by the Austin Fire Department earlier that day that raised serious concerns about compliance with the Fire Code. To be clear, the Austin Fire Department did not close the building. However, after the Board learned of the inspection and the numerous safety concerns raised by the Austin Fire Department, The Scottish Rite Theatre acted prudently out of concerns for the safety of the children and staff attending camps at the Theatre. The children and staff were relocated to other venues and the Scottish Rite Theatre appreciates the understanding and support of the parents and children affected by the relocation.

In regards to Ms. Marks’ claims of alleged and unspecified intimidation, the Board was made aware of the claims, took them seriously and began a full investigation of the allegations. However, Ms. Marks refused to participate in the investigation or provide additional information to substantiate her claims.

The Scottish Rite Theater has a long history of providing quality children’s programming over the years and it is our intention to continue providing high quality, wholesome entertainment for children, their families, and the community.

We've recovered our social media pages and invite you to stay informed about the future quality productions we are planning.

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