Sen. Greg Treat today requested figures from the Executive Director of the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum (AICCM) showing the progress of the agency’s private fundraising efforts. Treat said it was important that Oklahoma taxpayers and the Legislature see the agency is making a concerted effort to raise private funds to complete the project.
“I am growing deeply concerned the only avenue the agency is exploring for completion of this important project is the Oklahoma taxpayer,” said Treat, R-Oklahoma City.
“As of May 5, 2011, the agency had only raised $266,289.94 from private, non-tribal entities since the Legislature approved a $25 million bond for the project in 2008. This was particularly troubling, considering the agency announced in a 2008 press release it would raise from private sources the remaining $75 million needed to complete the project. “
“Obviously, they had fallen considerably short of their guarantee to the Legislature and the people of Oklahoma, Treat added.
Treat noted the state has invested $67.4 million in the project, not including annual appropriations of $1.5 million to support the agency’s 14-member staff. Once construction is complete, the agency has plans to expand to as many as 60 employees.
Treat asked AICCM to specify in its figures the purpose for which monies were utilized, particularly to differentiate between in-kind contributions and real dollar donations.
“I want to see this project completed, but state agencies must be held accountable for their actions,” Treat said. “In particular, AICCM leaders must be held accountable for their promise to raise $75 million when they lobbied the Legislature for a $25 million bond in 2008. I sincerely hope the agency’s response to my inquiry will reveal a renewed dedication to raise private funds to complete the project.”