Village Council, Theatre Board discuss lease and insurance

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Calumet Theatre Co. President, Dan Jamison, discussed a new insurance policy with the Village Council Tuesday evening. The new policy provides more than twice the liability coverage than the theater lease stipulates is necessary.

CALUMET — Calumet Theatre Co. Board President Dan Jamison addressed the Calumet Village Council during a special meeting for the council Tuesday. He said that a new insurance policy is currently being underwritten for the theater. Jamison informed the council at the regular November meeting that the Theatre Company’s provider had cancelled its liability insurance policy after it received false information that the theatre’s structural integrity was a threat to the public due to catastrophic flooding through the roof that were repaired a couple of years ago.

With the cancellation of the insurance policy, the theater is now in breach of the lease between the village and the board, something Jamison readily agreed was the case.

Jamison told the council that in a “very interesting talk” with the previous agent in Marquette, during which she informed him that the policy was, in fact, cancelled, and she was not even going to speak with the underwriter.

Jamison then approached the Leveque Agency which found an insurance company that specializes in underwriting theater activities, productions, organizations.

“The policy that he put together,” said Jamison, “is significantly in excess of what the lease itself requires and it makes sense.”

Jamison said the insurance policy being underwritten now is what should have been required in the lease.

“The coverage will be a $2 million liability, a $1million balloon coverage, to get those things that fall between the gaps,” Jamison said, “and a $250,000 liquor liability for serving wine and beer only.”

The only questions put forward, he added, were things like: Why don’t you think you’re not going to have 60,000 people next year. His response was “Let’s work with experience of the last two years going forward.”

Jamison said the underwriter has an agent who could walk down the street and inspect the property himself if somebody sent him pictures that say there is flooding that is catastrophic.

“He’s going to walk over and look, and say: ‘Wait, there’s a puddle over here in the corner, there are tarps that were put up there 10 years ago, before the two new roofs were put on.'”

The agent is across the street, and he is familiar with the operation.

Trustee Rob Tarvis asked if the agent had any issues with why the previous policy was cancelled to which Jamison replied no.

“He knows exactly the shenanigans that went on with that whole thing,” Jamison explained. “Part of the delay was him telling me we’ll work with the agent in Marquette to see if you can convince them that this is just ridiculous and go over there and look.”

Jamison said the Marquette agent responded that she was not willing to drive three hours one way when she already knew the condition of the building.

“I mentioned to Leveque on this application,” Jamison went on, “that the (National) Park Service is looking into the elements of the building that would be an issue. They’re all comfortable with it.”

Jamison requested a Dec. 1, 2021, start-date for coverage, so that when the paperwork goes through, there will be a shorter gap.

Jamison explained that the reason he stopped operations of the theater for the month of December is that he is a realist.

“Around Christmas time, I’d be lucky to get my mom to call me back some years,” he said.

The insurance carrier had no real issues, and did provide some quotes, and now they are working on underwriting the policy.

Jamison suggested to the council that to maintain transparency and to protect the village, the Trustees should go ahead and create a letter containing a 45-day notice upon which the village will terminate the lease if the building is not insured at that time.

In the meantime, Trustee Tarvis said the village has not received any word from their attorney in regards to the new lease. Jamison suggested that rather than a simple landlord/tenant lease, the new lease should be a partnership agreement.


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