Attention Magic Castle Members

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/20/04 07:16 PM

Yes - I'll bet that's the house Pete's talking about. It is also a mirror image, if memory serves (flip-flopped floor plan). Even if it were closer, as was pointed out, our current digs are really too small, and they have been expanded well past that of the original building!

No, a larger place with a facade that resembles the front of the old mansion is what I am fantasizing about.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5655
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Guest » 01/20/04 08:58 PM

My name is Michael Flint. As a member of Castle Partners, LLC, I am posting the following message from Tom Glover.


As the representative of the Landlords of the Magic Castle, I want to respond to incorrect information published in this forum.

Mr. Haydn's comment about “the constantly increasing demands for more money from the landlords” could not be further from the truth. The statement, “no matter how much we take in, the landlords want more, and continually raise our rent” is equally false.

For 40 years, the Landlords of the Magic Castle have had exactly the same lease terms for the Castle. Those terms, originally established by a handshake between Milt Larsen and my father, have always been a percentage of gross sales of food and beverages at the Castle. Such terms are the most common in the industry. The Landlords have never asked for more. In fact, when offered a higher percentage we declined because that is not our primary concern. The only change made in 40 years was the establishment of a very reachable “minimum” rent last year to encourage the Castle to revitalize.

To be completely accurate, our rent has never come directly from the Academy of Magical Arts. It has come from Milt Larsen who has had his own “sub-lease” with the AMA. If we had raised the rent - which we did not - it would have come from Milt. Milt has been the Landlord of the AMA, and whatever terms he has had for his sub-lease are what have affected the Academy and its members.

Representing the owners of the property, I can assure you that our primary concern is the survival, health, and success of the Magic Castle. We are extremely sensitive to the history of this wonderful institution, to Milt Larsen's place as the founder, to the AMA's presence at the Magic Castle, and to the home it has provided for the members of the AMA for four decades. It is our sincere hope that this relationship will continue long into the future.

Tom Glover
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/20/04 09:29 PM

I apologize if I was in error on that issue. That is not what I had heard, but I have no reason to doubt Mr. Glover on this, and I naturally assume this is the truth.

I am certainly glad to get some specific information from the Castle Partners. It would be really valuable if we all had a better understanding of what the specific aims and long term goals of the Castle Partners were.

I am not sure what encouraging "the Magic Castle to revitalize" might mean. Could Michael Flint or someone from the Castle Partners explain that for us?

What exactly needs to be revitalized, and what do the Castle Partners plan to do to bring this about?

What would "success" of the Magic Castle mean to the Castle Partners--how would that be judged?

What is it that you mean by survival? What do we need to do, in the opinion of the Castle Partners, to survive?

The "handshake" deal of a fixed percentage seems to have worked for 40 years, how is a new "minimum" rent not a very real change in that deal? How often can this minimum be raised?
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/20/04 10:45 PM

I'm very grateful to Michael Flint and Tom Glover for establishing some facts amid the swirl of rumors. No one expects Castle Partners and Milt Larsen and the AMA to conduct their negotiations on a public forum like this one, however the greater the number of facts which are stated directly by those involved will decrease the number of rumors and misunderstandings which are bound to occur.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20007
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 01/21/04 01:13 AM

Here are the notices posted by Dale Hindman and Milt Larsen to all Castle Members:


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Members of the Academy

Rather than waiting for the Annual Meeting or the next Newsletter, I am writing to you now with information about recent developments in the negotiations concerning the Academys lease on The Magic Castle because I believe that the situation has taken a very significant turn in the last few days. After more than a year of ongoing discussions between the Glover family, Milt Larsen and representatives of the Board of the Academy, it now appears that there will be no long-term lease for the Academy unless certain organizational changes are made regarding the way in which the operations of The Magic Castle are managed. The Glover family has formed a new limited liability company, Castle Partners, LLC, and we have been told that this new entity may hold the long-term lease on The Magic Castle and may be negotiating tenancy arrangements with the Academy and with Milt. It is too early to determine the nature of future changes to the Castles operations, but I assure you, every effort will be made to ensure the impact upon the Academy membership is minimal.

As most of you know, Milt Larsen has been the Academys landlord since the beginning of the Magic Castle, and his company owns the U.S. Registered Trademark rights on the name, The Magic Castle. Milt is very much involved in these ongoing negotiations and he will have the final say on many of these lease issues.

Nevertheless, substantial organizational revisions to the Academys governing structure can be anticipated if the Academy is to continue to manage the food, beverage and entertainment functions of The Magic Castle. Other functions of The Magic Castle may be impacted, as well. It will likely be several weeks, at least, before I have more definitive news to give you. Many of the changes will be a result of future discussions and negotiations with Castle Partners, LLC, may require amendments to the Academys Articles of Incorporation, By-Laws and operating policies, and will be detailed for you when they are known.

I will provide you with as much information as I can, as it becomes available. Suffice it to say we are all pulling in the same direction the long-term security of The Magic Castle and the continuing health and prosperity of the Academy of Magical Arts and the magical family that founded and continues to nurture this remarkable organization.


Dale Hindman
President

----------------------------------------
----------------------------------------
At the time I wrote my column for the December newsletter everything I said was true based on the facts at the time. As you have read in Dales message to the membership, a number of new ingredients have been thrown into the pot. As I have stated many times I have had a wonderful working relationship with the Glover family (our landlords).

They respect me and I respect them. For forty-one years I have paid the rent on time and turned an old house and parking garage into a major destination for magicians throughout the world. Now they have expressed concerns about the aging of the club. In part to deal with this issue, I suggested a concept wherein the AMA would become the tenant and lease the building directly from the landlords.

I felt we were getting along very well in our negotiations until we were notified, on January 8, 2004, that the landlord had made a new partnership agreement with a group of business orientated magicians which we believe would result in them assuming control of the Castle. This group had been dealing with the landlords without our knowledge and we still do not know much of the details of their agreements with the Glovers or what they propose to do. Obviously I was upset with the underhanded way this was done. Under the arrangement we think may under consideration by the landlords, the entire food, beverage and entertainment operations would be turned over to this new group. They, in effect, would own the building, run the operation and the AMA would have space for club activities. Their announced goal is to increase the quality of the food, beverage and entertainment functions. Sadly, in my opinion, we would lose the funky old club, nutty but very loyal employees, always complaining magicians and the old world charm that we have today Its much more than a physical building, the Castle is a magical place of which I am very proud.

As much as I love this wonderful old house we may have to face the fact that the commercial value of the property may have made it impractical for a club like ours to exist in our present location. I have been looking at other potential locations, all in Hollywood and all fascinating properties.

All, I might add, would love to have the Magic Castle as a tenant. Time will tell.

While I remain the worlds greatest optimist, I must now put many Castle projects on hold and investigate the alternatives. We won't know anything concrete for at least several weeks, and when we do know what is going to happen, appropriate announcements will be made. Thanks for a great forty-one years and heres to a great future.

Milt
Guest
 

Postby Bizzaro » 01/21/04 02:55 AM

Every dark cloud has a silver lining but the brighter the picture the darker the negative.

We shall see...
Bizzaro.
www.smappdooda.com
www.bizzarobydesign.com
Bizzaro
 
Posts: 80
Joined: 04/21/08 01:05 AM
Location: Earth.. I think.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/21/04 08:21 AM

Thanks, Whit, for bringing those messages from Dale and Milt to all the members of the Forum. We now have some detailed statements from both sides, however much is still unknown. Hopefully a clearer picture will emerge in the coming weeks.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20007
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 01/21/04 10:41 AM

It may not even get that far, that the membership will even have a vote. It is possible that the Board and Milt will have to make a decision to stay or go first.

The changes to the by-laws, BOD, etc. are being required by the Castle Partners, so they will only be relevant if the BOD decides to stay.

If Milt decides to leave, I strongly suspect, and certainly hope, that the AMA will go with him to open up a new clubhouse in the Hollywood area.

I am not only ready to move, I think it is essential for the future survival and continued growth of the AMA. We need room to improve member services, and to dream new things.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/21/04 11:06 AM

If y'all move I'll make a special trip to LA just to support the club.
Steve V <---has wand, will travel
Guest
 

Postby Steve Bryant » 01/21/04 12:01 PM

Hey, move it to Las Vegas, where more of us could afford to move.
User avatar
Steve Bryant
 
Posts: 1642
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Bloomington IN

Postby Guest » 01/21/04 02:03 PM

Landlords suck. I'd say it's time for a move. Even though I have LOTS of fond memories from the current location of the Castle, there's no reason that great things can't happen in a new and improved Magic Castle. Let's buy some property so we won't have to deal with any more red-haired, 28 year old, greedy step children ever again.

I wonder if guys like Copperfield, Lance Burton, and Siegfried and Roy would be willing to donate to the cause. They probably wouldn't miss a couple million dollars. :D
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/21/04 03:11 PM

Marrs, part of your post was just nasty and stupid.
Being red-haired has nothing to do with it.
Being 28 years old has nothing to do with it.
Being a step child has nothing to do with it.
Being greedy MAY have something to do with it, or not, depending upon what the facts really are.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20007
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 01/21/04 04:55 PM

Richard is right on this, and I think it is important. All of the people involved are--I am convinced--sincerely concerned about the fate of the Academy of Magical Arts. I know that Peter Reveen, the Glover family, and Diana Zimmerman all truly care about what happens to the Castle.

We can criticize or argue about the methods used, and whether there might have been more open ways to go about this, but even that is really pointless now. It is history.

The real question, and the only important one, is what is the best thing for the Castle in the long run?

Each of the parties involved have their own ideas of what the Castle is, and what it should be, and what is the best for it in the long run.

Let's talk about that.

Personally, I know what Bill and Milt's vision was and is, and I trust Milt to value and protect that. If he finally reaches an agreement with the Castle Partners, that satisfies him, I will go along with that.

I am not really sure what the Castle Partners see as their vision of what the Magic Castle and the Academy of Magical Arts should be. I would love to hear something from them on that, like a mission statement.

What I have heard so far, strikes me as a new and different direction for the Castle, one that I don't think I want to follow.

I can disagree with the Castle Partners, and fight for a different idea without name-calling or blame-finding. That is the way Milt is handling all this, and I think Richard is exactly right in calling us to such a standard.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/21/04 08:43 PM

In an effort to provide more information as requested by so many, here is our Mission Statement. We created it in our first meeting and it reflects our vision. Protocol dictates that we share information directly with Milt and the BOD.

It is our hope that as we communicate with them, they will communicate with you. Our next meeeting with Milt and representatives of the BOD is scheduled for tomorrow evening.


Castle Partners, LLC

Mission Statement

To ensure a sound, financially prosperous future for The Magic Castle and The AMA that will:

Revitalize the reputation of the Club to its former elite glory and luster; allow it to step into today; and preserve the integrity of the original dream created by Milt, Bill and Irene Larsen and their father, Bill Larsen, Sr.
Guest
 

Postby Pete Biro » 01/21/04 09:56 PM

Can you address the comment heard that you want to change the Magic Castle to a disco type club?
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Steve V » 01/21/04 10:33 PM

I just wonder how much they think it will cost them to pay off Milt to let them use the name, keep the material in place, and to make magicians think they did a good thing by Milt....if there is a price.
Steve V
Steve V
Steve V
 
Posts: 642
Joined: 01/20/08 01:00 PM
Location: Silver Springs, NV

Postby Guest » 01/22/04 12:54 AM

Richard, first of all, when I first heard the rumors that the Castle was perhaps in trouble due to a 28 year old step child's POSSIBLE greed, the common expression "treated like a red-haired step child at a family reunion" just popped into my head. Due to the apparent secretive way that things are being handled at my club (I am a dues paying member afterall), I'm starting to feel like the "red-haired step child" myself. I meant no undue disrespect by the combination of various pieces of information in my post. I don't know, nor care, what color hair the Glover child has or anything else about him.

Secondly, I wasn't referring to the Glover step child anyways. It's difficult, thanks to the way folks are dispersng information, to distinguish between facts and rumors. For all I know, the Glovers may not even have a step child.

I tried to express my feelings that getting away from ANY individual (especially a greedy one) who is in the position of placing personal financial gain over the well-being of a nonprofit organization's members would be a good thing.

So far most of what we, as MEMBERS, have been given as far as factual information has been extremely limited. This is especially disconcerting seeing how it looks like, if the rumors are true, the "hostile takeover" of the Castle has been planned for quite some time now. Things like this don't just pop up overnight.

Finally, if the mission statement's "financially prosperous" means that we'll be able to improve on a place that Dai Vernon called his home, then fine. But, if this means that the Castle is going to go through a revitalization like the one that Los Angeles' historic Farmer's Market (at 3rd and Fairfax) recently went through, then you can keep it. I want no part in a "Private Club" where the only thing that matters is the bottom line.

P.S. For what it's worth, for the first time ever, I recently noticed some "tagging" (graffiti) on some of the surfaces in the Castle, such as in the restrooms. Is this a coincidence, or is this because members are now giving out passes to folks who don't belong in the Castle? Are members giving out passes to undeserving individuals due to the constant reminders by the BOD in the newsletters that we've got to raise more money to keep the Castle alive since, for the first time in 40 years, we now have to pay rent in addition to a percentage of the food and beverage sales? Is this the direction we're heading?
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/04 08:37 AM

Please don't get the two things which compose The Magic Castle confused.
The Academy of Magical Arts is a non-profit organization.
The Magic Castle is NOT a non-profit! It makes money for Milt Larsen. It appears that the Glover family seems to feel that they haven't been getting their fair share of that profit. That seems to be what has precipitated this.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20007
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 01/22/04 10:02 AM

Well then, it looks like we have a conflict of interest by having a non-profit club and a for profit business under the same roof.

Despite this conflict the Castle seems to have done just fine over the last forty years. It's too bad that we can't just leave well enough alone. I guess that the days of conducting business over a gentleman's handshake are long gone. :(
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/22/04 03:48 PM

Sorry, David, but the Glover family owns the land and building: THEY "hold the cards," to use your expression.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20007
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 01/22/04 07:06 PM

Here are some of my thoughts on the current situation that I have also expressed on the Magic Castle Forum:

I have been delighted at the tone of the discussions on the Castle Forum as well as on Genii. There has been little name-calling, blame-throwing, rancor, or hostility expressed, especially considering the deep divides we may have on these issues, as well as the deep feelings all of us share both for the Magic Castle and for the RB Lane Mansion.

This is great, and I hope we keep it this way as the controversy heats up. This is just business, after all. Keeping personalities, personal histories, and emotions out of the mix are important, otherwise rash actions and words might produce unhappy results for everyone.

There is only one question that I think we members need to be debating, and that is what is best for the future of the AMA?

I am certain that everyone involved on all three sides has this in mind, and that we all love the Magic Castle equally. But we differ on what we believe is best for the club, and on our visions of what the club is supposed to be.

I have no doubt that the very talented group that make up the Castle Partners can do everything they say they want to do. I also believe Milt is capable of successfully rebuilding the Castle anew in another location.

Hopefully, something can be worked out among all the parties that will not cause a splintering of the membership of the AMA--that we should avoid for the sake of our own future as a club.

I only hope that the membership and the BOD recognize that both Milt and the Castle Partners need the AMA for their plans to be a success--neither side can create a new Magic Castle without us. This is very important.

The Board of Directors should not give up anything important to the future growth of the AMA, to our stated goals, or to the control of our own destiny.

We should use this as an opportunity to expand our autonomy and influence, not give it up.

Whatever deal we make, we should make sure it recognizes the importance of our organization in the success of any plan to build a "new" Magic Castle.

Now is the time for all members to start considering what the Magic Castle means to them, and what sort of future we want to see. We can have a voice in this discussion. Here is a good place to talk about it.

The main point I was trying to make is that the AMA is in a better bargaining position than it looked like at first glance. We need to sit back and count all our chips, and look at what is actually on the table carefully.

We own the library, as well as most of the stained glass, decorative items, furnishings, photos, paintings, magic collectables and memorabilia that decorate the place. All the phone numbers are ours. The domain name and website are ours as well. We also have the dues, loyalty, and customer base of our own membership. These are our bargaining chips.

Because of all these assets, both Milt and the Castle Partners need us for the success of whatever plans they may have together or separately. Neither can succeed easily without our acceptance and support. This gives us something to bargain with--we should try to extract the best possible deal for us.

The job of the Board is to look out for our interests. What are those interests?

I agree that the control of the entertainment and bookings is necessary for the club to maintain any control over the magic experience for our members and guests.

On the other hand, I can see why the Castle Partners would want a higher level of accountability on the bookings, and they naturally have an interest in how the dining guests are treated and accommodated.

I don't think it does much good to bandy around made-up figures, or to commit ourselves to any non-negotiable demands.

This is going to require compromise and co-operation from all three parties, and for our sakes, a BOD that takes a firm stand in negotiations looking after the interests of the members.

It is important for the members to talk about these long-term goals and interests, and the things we need the board to fight for in these negotiations, and to let the board know what we think and what we want on these forums.

I would like to see the BOD having control of the decor, the door, the entertainment, the showrooms, member benefits, and the house rules.

I also would like to see the AMA eventually become the owner of Milt's interests--Irma, the sinking stool, his portion of the furnishings and collectables, the ownership and all television and other rights to the trade name "Magic Castle," and to all the proceeds of the gift shop.

This would give us more independence and control over future situationssuch as the one we find ourselves in nowthat might arise.

Milt might be willing to lease these things to us with some eventual point in time at which they will then accrue to the AMA. I am sure Milt would be willing to discuss these things with the BoD.

We can talk about these, all the other things mentioned above, and any other possibilities that may come up among ourselves, and post them on the the Magic Castle Forum so the board will know what the members are thinking.

Those things which give us the most control over our club environment, the most security for our future, and contribute the most to our growing autonomy as a club--those are the things for which we should be encouraging our entire board to fight.

Whit Haydn
R-3959 AMA
Guest
 

Postby Joe M. Turner » 01/23/04 06:55 AM

Rumors are indeed flying rampant. The last thing I heard was that the BOD and CP had already signed the papers and that the Castle will close on 2/1 to reopen afterwards as a public club. Existing waitstaff & bartenders gone, piano and stool to remain, and the deal is done. I certainly hope this rumor is dispelled quickly by the factual posts that I have seen here and on the Castle forum. The posts I see here indicate that the situation is still fluid. I'm checking here constantly to see any news. I want to have a factual answer ready when confronted with these rumors and rumors of rumors.

Man, I feel pretty helpless here in Atlanta just sitting around watching to see what happens...


JMT
Joe M. Turner
 
Posts: 418
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Atlanta, GA

Postby Chris Aguilar » 01/23/04 09:36 AM

Originally posted by Joe M. Turner:
Rumors are indeed flying rampant. The last thing I heard was that the BOD and CP had already signed the papers and that the Castle will close on 2/1 to reopen afterwards as a public club.
I've only been to the Castle 5-10 times and have seriously considered joining as a non resident member. I sincerely hope that this rumour is incorrect. While I can see how opening the Castle as a public venue might increase overall revenue, I ask myself "At what cost?" If the Castle becomes a public venue, would visiting still mean as much to me personally? Likely not.

Of course, that's just my view, your mileage may vary.

_________________________________________________
www.conjurenation.com - 'Cards Only' Forums
Chris Aguilar
 
Posts: 1410
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Sacramento

Postby Pete Biro » 01/23/04 10:38 AM

I will be at the Castle for lunch today and will try to find out what is really done or not done.

PRAY :help:
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Joe M. Turner » 01/23/04 10:47 AM

Thanks, Pete. I hope you bring some good news!

JMT
Joe M. Turner
 
Posts: 418
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Atlanta, GA

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/23/04 10:48 AM

I have just contacted Dale Hindman and asked him the simple question brought up by Joe's post: will the Castle close on February 1.
Dale's response was that this is simply not true, and that negotiations between the board, Milt, and Castle Partners are ongoing.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20007
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 01/23/04 10:55 AM

The company I work for was sold in 1989. I came to work that morning and watched them take our sign down and put up a new one with the name of the company that bought us (a great company by the way), went into my office and read about the sale in the SF Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury, and the Wall Street Journal. My director came in and not only denied that we had been sold but denied that we were even being looked at to be purchased. He had not yet been officially told he could admit not only the obvious but the truth. So much for what anyone tells you.....
Steve V
Guest
 

Postby Jeff Eline » 01/23/04 10:58 AM

I'm not a member, so I hope you don't mind of I ask this...

Whit, what does "...higher level of accountability on the bookings." mean? Have there been problems with bookings?

And "...interest in how the dining guests are treated and accommodated." Again, has there been problems in this area?

Also, who are the Castle Partners? Are they members? Long standing members?

Thank you,
Jeff
Jeff Eline
 
Posts: 647
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Baltimore, MD

Postby Guest » 01/23/04 12:21 PM

Just thought I would make a couple of observations.

First, Tom Glover states that the lease terms have been the same for 40 years: a percentage of gross sales of food and beverages at the Castle. When offered a higher percentage, the landlords declined. It is certainly understandable for the landlords to wish to optimize those revenues by providing a higher quality product an services. It also appears that Mr. Larsen does not want an upscale restaurant for fear of the loss the funky old club charm.

Second, one of the seemingly unfair principles of real property law is that while personal property like paintings, furniture, drapes, etc. remain the property of the tenant, fixtures wood paneling, the bar, stained glass windows, wall-to-wall carpeting, etc. even if installed by the tenant at the tenants expense, become part of the real property. That means that all of the improvements to the building and grounds will be surrendered to the landlord at the end of the lease. Now, there may be other factors at play here (e.g., local laws, express agreements, etc.) that lead to the conclusion that the AMA and Milt together own the . . . stained glass, the antique tin ceilings, the moldings, the wood paneling, the carpets, the decorative columns, even the lighting fixtures, we should not be so sure that that is so.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/23/04 12:35 PM

Re: Opus question about fixtures. I owned several California businesses. CA code used to cover this question in the following way: If the improvements were permanent they stayed when the tenant moved, if they were not permanent then they belonged to the tenant and could be taken upon vacancy. Permanent had several definitions, one of which was (for instance): If the fixture was nailed to the wall, it was permanent, if it was attached to the wall by screws, it was removable! How's that for screwy (pun intended...)!

So, the point is, Opus may be correct, that the waters are murky regarding ownership of things like the tin ceilings, columns, etc. Even the Bar Stool, if consider a "permanent" installation, may revert to the landlord, not the tenant...

Best, PSC
Guest
 

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/23/04 01:15 PM

I have received permission from John Scanlan to post his message (referred to earlier in this thread) on the Genii Forum.

Brothers and Sisters of the AMA,

These opinions are both based on my emotion and my business sense, which are in conflict with each other over this issue. I have given this so much thought in the past 36 hours; I woke up with a headache. But a much clearer head. I am tapping into my 4 years on the BOD, my many years on many committees and zillion of hours sitting with my diet coke on some stool in the Castle talking with everyone from Maria the cleaning lady to Milt. I have NO inside information from CP or the BOD. I am not connected in anyway with the BOD or Castle Partners. I have had many, many, many discussions of what if scenarios with the BOD and other members over the years. So please dont take any stock in this as it is just my opinion. If you would like to email me you may do so at magiccastle@cox.net If anyone wants to chat via land line, email me and I will send my telephone number.

Questions?

What if CP (Castle Partners) comes up with an offer Milt "can't possibly refuse" to lease or franchise out his assets (Names, trademarks and the like) of these properties?

Can Hollywood accommodate TWO magic venue/specialty restaurants? Clearly no. Even BIG BUCKS at Wizards failed to achieve success.

If we rebuild, how long will it take, how much money will it cost? Where will we get the money? And my friends it will take a crap full of money with NO guarantees of profitability or even success for the future?

Does the current BOD have the horse power to recreate the NEW Magic Castle? (Please, no insult intended). These people are my friends who Id take a bullet for if asked. If it was not for them after Bill died, the Magic Castle would be a Dennys today.

The Magic Castle is synonymous with the Lane Mansion. To relocate it anywhere would be disastrous. What if you bought tickets to Disneyland, you get out of your car in the parking lot and the tram takes you to Knotts?

If we don't have to run the entertainment, bar and restaurant, and another professional company can, why is that a problem? In the long run, we as a club will be making a heck of a lot more money on the club side. Look at what is on the AMA financial's? No wonder the AMA looses money. LOTS of areas on the P&L will go away once we downsize. Is that such a bad thing?

Will our meat and potato members, the Associates flee the new Magic Castle in favor of a new Magic Castle?

How many magician members will still spend endless hours at the Castle, Without the AMA they will have to pay full price to get in, eat, drink and see big name talent?

Will the Pendragons opt to perform at the NEW Magic Castle for $300 a week, or the old Castle for $5,000 a week?

Has the AMA been all that successful in running the Restaurant and bar? We live hand to mouth each month with no extra money to do the medium or big projects. It is always one money problem after another. The BOD spends time talking about this problem, then 2 seconds later they talk about who is going to be the Magician of the Year. I had often thought a dual BOD would separate the business from the club was not such a bad idea. All business people running the Castle and all magicians running the club. Just like on any Cruise ship there are 2 Captains. One who runs the vessel up on the bridge and the other downstairs with the customers.

I find the entertainment take over a tad disconcerting. With little doubt the pay WILL go up for the entertainers. But The Senior Mr. Wilson has done a brilliant job in bringing us the best magicians and acts in the world. Im not critical of this end of the business and other than listening to Carney, Max and Larrys opinions I really have no idea what CP would do. I would hope Mr. Wilson would be retained in his current capacity.

If the AMA sheds the Bar and Restaurant, we could become a TRUE 501c3. We could seek and receive donations and be mentioned in wills. A true windfall as has been discussed many times by the BOD. A chunk of your membership fee will then be deductible (Consult your tax attorney).

With little doubt, CP would increase marketing dollars substantially. Buy outs on the day side would flourish. When I was on the marketing committee we tried to sell the BOD on this concept. With a strong marketing department we could make extra dollars when the Castle is closed.

Would CP allow us to keep the downstairs area for Magician Members ONLY? The classrooms, bar, library, Peller theater, etc? Dont know about you, that aspect excites me. CP could make money off the bar & finger food. Sounds like a win win to me.

CP would have to take over banquet, reservations, and much of what the current office does. More savings and more sales with a strong marketing plan. Can someone send me a copy of the current AMA Marketing Plan for 2004? No? Yea, I thought so.

What current jobs positions would work for the AMA, not the GM for sure. The GM could not manage the Restaurant and Bar as that is a CP entity. Sounds like another position would have to be created, Club Manager? What about the Hosts? As you can see this gets more and more complicated from an organizational chart perspective.

Yes, they can enlarge the Castle. Another 3 to 10K sq feet is very possible. A few years back, the Glovers were talking about building a multi level parking structure. No reason why this could not be done IN conjunction with an expanded Magic Castle. All the property between the front and back side (back stage doors, delivery area) of the Mansion to the parking structure could be used for expansion. Give Milt another 3 to 10k sq feet and bucks to work with, and I am sure him and CP would be all over the idea.

The AMA BOD would only have to concern them selves with the MAGIC side. 99% of their time and energy devoted to MAGIC. Being a 501c3 they could receive donations of antique magic and endowments. No more worries about all the stuff you guys have been complaining about for the past X years. The AMA would become a TRUE magic organization and not a Restaurant/bar and magic club.

I would love to see a pro forma financial for the AMA after the dust has settled and the finance guys on both sides have divvied up the chart of accounts.

Based on everything (and much more) that I have hypothesized here; I see this as a BIG WIN-WIN for all parties involved. Milts legacy will continue. I too believe that CP has the Castle, its history and heritage as their guiding light. I dont know who all the players are, but I know Diana, Peter and Mike. I can guess who some of the others might be. These people are MAGICIANS and MEMBERS of the AMA.

The Glovers do love the Magic Castle and everything it stands for. But the property is owned/held by a LLC of 12(?) Glovers who want a better return on their property. Why is that a problem? Yes, they love the Castle, but they want a return on their property. The CP just happens to have a plan they liked better than anything else presented. After Mrs. Glover passed away over 2 years ago, the remaining Glovers formed a LLC to manage the holdings of the Glover Estate. They took control of the fast failing Yamashiro and turned it around. It is fast becoming the giant it used to be many years ago. I just cant believe theyd (The Glover Estate LLC), would want to screw up the concept Milt and Bill had for the future. Castle Partners based on what I know of the 3 partners would NOT want to either. If Milt chooses to stick around, my guess is he might become a consultant for future enhancements to the Magic Castle. Hell, he may even have a Bronze statue somewhere on the property.

As to the hostile take over or the shady way they took control is simply business. That is the way the business world works. Like it or not. The AMA has had a couple of years to renew the lease. It was fish or cut bait time. On our current month to month lease, the Glovers could have raised the rent and percentages anytime they felt like it. Then the AMA would have been forced into a corner. I believe two and a half years is more than enough time to strike a legal agreement on a new lease. It became fish or cut bait time. I am sure CP did as someone stated here, they simply had a better idea. Yes, they do love the Castle, but there interest to SAVE the Magic Castle was less of a priority than keeping the 12 Glover partners happy.

Before any rush to judgments are made, PLEASE put your emotion aside and carefully consider the possibilities of the future of the club. The future of the Magic Castle has just been secured. Moving is not something I would support. Our dinner customers would NEVER EVER flock to the NEW and IMPROVED Magic Castle. Wed just be a bunch of old fart holdouts sitting at some bar with all the old picture of Dai nailed on the wall. Wed look out the window and see a long line of cars going down Franklin with people trying to get into the Lane Mansion Castle of Magic, LLC. Frankly I dont have another 40 years to wait for the new MC to germinate into the 8th wonder of the magic world.. I dont have 2 years to sit on my butt for the NEW Magic Castle to be built.

Diana, Peter and Michael have no experience at running a restaurant, bar and entertainment facility. They do have extensive experience in running companies. They are smart enough to know they need to hire talented professionals with credentials. They are smart enough to know this will cost money, and they are smart enough to know it will be cost effective. But they do have the ability to hire people who do. And delegation is the intelligence behind good senior management. Find the best people, give them the end results you want, then get the hell out of their way and let them do it.
Change IS good, albeit heartbreaking. I do have some other opinions but would NEVER put them in writing or share them with anyone other than proven close friends.
Simply look at CEO who is hired to run companies they have no experience in. McDonalds was a 15 cent hamburger joint when Kroc hired away from Avis its CEO some 30 years ago. I can give you another 500 examples just off the top of my head.

I fully endorse this change. I am offering my help in any way possible to facilitate a smooth change over. I am urging Milt to please think this out. Surround yourself with your family and closest of friends and talk it out. Please dont split the membership over this issue as it will cause irreparable damage to the AMA and only the AMA. The Magic Castle will still be around. More than ever in the history of the Magic Castle we need YOU to do what you can to work with CP and take our beloved Castle to new heights and into the millennium. You did a brilliant job at Ceasars creating an amazing venue. With the bucks the CP have, and your 42 years of hard work, I would be believe it would be the talk of the world.


John Scanlan
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20007
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 01/23/04 02:05 PM

Milt was smart enough when he first made an agreement with the Glovers that because he was bringing in both pieces and treasures of Victorian houses, pubs, and churches to form the decor--which he had scoured from all over the world--and building illusions into the walls like the endless wine cellar and the endless book case; that whatever he brought in to the old building he would be able to take with him when he left.

This includes the antique tin ceilings, the wood paneling, the columns that line the stages, the stained glass--everything.

So between Milt and the AMA, conceivably everything in the Castle could go, right down to the bare studs in the walls.

This is something that the Castle Partners know, and I don't think it bothers them. I think they were planning a new, fancier, more upscale look anyway.

I don't agree with John Scanlon at all. The change would be profound to the AMA. Giving up all control over the house to the Castle Partners would leave us no recourse over the future of the club. As the fortunes of the new club owners wax and wane, what reason would they have to consider the magicians first, or at all?

The fact that the new group has come in with a flat demand for us to surrender control of all of these functions, or leave, indicates to me that they do not have a very deep respect for the AMA, or much concern whether we stay or leave.

I don't think that a bunch of magicians hanging around is necessary or vital to the vision that the Castle Partners have, a vision of the Magic Castle that to me seems very different from mine and from that of most members of the AMA.

As the fool said to Lear, "I wish that you had become wise before you became old." I wish the same for the AMA.

Giving up all control of the entertainment, the bar, the door, and the restaurant, as well as the dress code, house rules and membership benefits is to put us in the position of being mere guests in our own home.

Like Lear, we may find that the new owners, who were supposed to take over the responsibility to run the Castle and take care of us, may grow weary of the second job, or even find the two tasks incompatible. Like the ungrateful daughters, they eventually might send us out bareheaded into the storm.

Who will speak for us, and fight for us when we decide we don't like the prices, the way the members are seated in the show rooms, the quality or diversity of the acts, etc.? And what will be our hand to play then?

The AMA has grown in its authority and independence over the last fifteen years. Why should we go backwards, instead of solidifying and increasing our control over our own destiny?

My only concern is what happens to the AMA? We should go with whatever option opens up the most possibility for our future survival and growth.

Knowing Milt all these years, I also don't think it would be difficult or long for him to re-locate his cherished club. I would not be surprised if he were to pull trucks up to the Lane mansion one Friday morning, and be open for business at a new place the next Monday night.

I am convinced that the Glovers and the Castle Partners have a completely different vision from mine about the Magic Castle, because of the way they seem to believe that the Magic Castle is the building itself. It is not.

They can think they can take the building and turn it into a success without the AMA. I don't think they can.

Because of this impression I have that the Castle Partners do not respect or need the AMA, evidenced so far, I admit, only by their demands and backhanded approach, I do not think that I share their vision of the Magic Castle at all.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/23/04 03:47 PM

Tough situation. Scanlons points are valid from a pure business standpoint (and it looks like Kaufman is taking the business stance, could be wrong). Seems to me that the question is simple, will the Magic Castle continue to be a private club for magicians? If they make the changes they want the answer is no, it will not. It will lose its allure to magicians around the world as it has. I love the damn place and I've never been in it! Every non-magician I've encountered that has gone to the Castle has had a wonderful time and the fact it is a private club made it all the more facinating to them. That, too, would either be lost or become plastic.

On the other hand if it was open to the public it would bring in people wanting to 'see the castle' and have dinner, thus filling the dining rooms and bar, and then bringing in more income and thus increasing the profits to the owners of the property who want to make as much as they can (of course). Of course doing so would kill the Castle even if everyone stayed put.

If they have the space to build on a few thousand more square feet then why don't they do so and have that part be open to the public, trot out magicians to perform, and still retain the private club? The non-magician public would see that door "members only...and guest" and it would add to the mystique and make 'em all want to be a guest.

'Tis a bummer all around.
Steve V
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/23/04 03:48 PM

1/22/04
As each day passes, more information comes our way. The post by Richard was my first knee jerk reaction and I did indicate I was at odds with my self. Since then I have gathered more info. I suspect as most, any final lines will be drawn in the sand when ALL the facts from all three sides has been tossed on the wall. I am including the post after the one Richard posted (my first) and then one I posted today.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1/22/04
This is a historic major event that will affect every member in the club. If the BOD fails to allow the membership to decide the fate of the club we will never be completely satisfied with the outcome. We will never know if it was the choice of the membership. Legally as officers of the corporation they do have the legal right to make this decision. But Id hate to see the first construction at 7001 Franklin be that of a gallows.

Whits opinions are straight from the chronicles of why Milt and Bill created the Magic Castle and The Academy of Magical Arts, Inc. I find little to debate with him on these issues. Bob Bush has told me dozens of stories of him, John Schrum (sp) and others digging out the basement and carving the Magic Castle into what we see today. I cant think of a worst scenario where Milt leaves and the AMA stays. But I fear that is where the odds in Vegas are going. No doubt Milt will start another magic entity similar to what Bill did 40 some odd years back. Why would ANY magician NOT want to be part of that?

No matter the scenario, By-Laws and Constitutions will have to be rewritten or created. It has pointed out the actual location of the Castle being cumbersome. Thinking about that brings me to many bad memories of sitting on the hill or Franklin waiting and waiting...and waiting. Now that I am in my 60s, getting up and down the stairs is a major task with the onslaught of medical problems with arthritis and such. Maybe the new place will have an elevator or be only 2 stories? As I ponder the what ifs of a new Magic Castle, I am quickly moving to the Heck yes, move the sucker end of the debate.

What is the center appeal of the Magic Castle? Why do you love the place? I believe once you have this clear in your mind, you decision and heart will lead you in the right direction. But know this; some magic assets will remain with the Academy such as the library and Owl bar, downstairs bar and some others. This will truly be a ground floor start up. Im not a lawyer, so I cant speak to the fixtures end of the situation.

If the AMA stays with a nice deal from CPLLC that is also a scenario I could live with. DEPENDING on what the final deal will be of course. If I can still get in FREE as a member, bring guests, go into the library and attend the special parties, lectures as we do now etc, than I will continue to be a member of the AMA. Im sure over the years the Lane Mansion Castle of Magic will turn into what the CPLLC people envision. It will be profitable, nice, modern and great, even with its heart cut out.

I can envision the NEW Magic Castle turning into what the Magic Circle is today. With a NEW BOD made up of magicians and business people and a new direction, whod NOT want to be part of that. Who would NOT want to be one of the founding members?

Thanks for allowing me to think out loud and wrestling with my thoughts.

John Scanlan

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
1/20/04
Milt has stated they slipped in the back door and the Glovers jumped all over it. I would bet that the BOD & Milt at this point have less hard information concerning their intentions than we do. I believe Id rather wait until the BOD decides if it wants to put together an advisory group before any of us waste our time on a unsanctioned group. Everyday, I get more suspicious over what is going on.

Without doubt, I am 100% confidence that Milt and Dale will start feeding us FACTS as soon as each party has had key meetings with CPLLC. The devil will be in those details. As we know that the very existence of CPLLC was not disclosed to Milt or the BOD until January 8th. Rumors began to fly around a tight circle of members that night at the Castle. If you made simple check with the Secretary of State, you no doubt discovered that CPLLC was born on January 2, 2004 mere days following our lease expiring, but contrary to what many think, the filings with the Secretary of State do not name members of an LLC. Thus, like any private corporation that has shareholders, the formation of the entity is a matter of record, but not who owns it or runs it. WHY is this such a secret?

A few days ago we find out here on this board that a promise of disclosure of the rest of the participants will be made by CPLLC. Even now we do not have a full cast of characters. I am willing to bet once this IS disclosed there will be gasps from many of us, further dividing the membership over to the move. As Mr. Buch pointed out it is absolutely correct to say that the "long-time AMA members" who are part of CPLLC said nothing to the BOD or Milt prior to going to the Glovers some time late last year. The Glovers never notified us they had a hot offer on the table. Nobody inside the Castle had a clue this was coming until about ten days ago.

Another point, and this is a big one, is that CPLLC must deal with two entities. Milt, AND/OR the AMA. There are members rallying behind Milt, members rallying behind the AMA, Members rallying behind CPLLC and Members who are more or less riding the fence until the facts spin in.

We have a good idea where Milt stands on the issue, but I for one would wait until he has been made an offer from CPLLC, if indeed one is forth coming. I would wait until he says Ok, get your trucks, vans, hammers and tool belt and meet me at the Castle this Sunday! More perplexing, what will the AMA do? If they (we the members) choose to stay the Castle will need some MAJOR reconstruction. Nothing that can be remedied in an afternoon for sure. It may be close for an extended period of time before the doors are open. This of course has nothing to do with the AMA staying or leaving. If the AMA choose to bail, it has many hard assets in the building as well.

I wont even speculate on who owns what at the Castle. That alone will be a horrendous experience for all involved. Lawyers & courts will get involved. This could drag out for months if not years. Then what? If my memory serves me, an inventory of the Castle contents was made several years back for insurance purposes. However, I do remember the brief clash over the chair in the library Copperfield wanted.

I am aware that every message posted on this board is being monitored closely by all parties. If I were still on the BOD I know what we would be doing right now. We would be working a plan for every possible outcome to prepare us from making a friendly "deal" to a shock and awe war with moving trucks culminating with a final do or die fight over the figurines in the ladies bathroom. I know that every possible outcome would be deliberated over and over. But again that is what I would be doing. I believe the BOD is doing that right now. I AGAIN urge them to consider a hand picked group of associates and magician members to form a think tank. The BOD is no doubt thinking about the BIG issues, the global implications of all this. This or some group needs to ponder the significant other details, too numerous to bring up here, that will eventually surface.

I have seen some of the best posts to this forum I have ever seen anywhere. Members on all sides have openly discussed their feelings with out trying to find who was to blame. We need to look forward; we need to support Milt and/or the AMA or CPLLC. At this point no one is right or wrong. As long as a donnybrook does not get started, we are feeding our feelings to all parties.

For now get as many members as you can to log onto the forum. Here is where the narrative from the members will get to the BOD, Milt and CPLLC. 95% of the membership at this point has NO idea what is going on. EVERY person you encounter at the Castle MUST be asked if they know what is going on and request they to log onto this forum.

The day of reckoning is fast approaching. I prey clear heads will prevail.



John Scanlan
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/23/04 04:16 PM

I think that the best deal will come for the AMA if Milt and the BOD stand together in these negotiations.

We should agree on what sort of things we want and expect from each other first, and then stand as one in our negotiations with the Castle Partners, who hold perhaps the biggest stake.

If a deal that satisfies both Milt and the AMA is put forward, then we can all relax and begin working toward the future together at the present location.

If the deal doesn't work out, then we should move with Milt and build a newer, better, larger Magic Castle somewhere else.
Guest
 

Postby Pete McCabe » 01/24/04 12:50 AM

I feel as though I am watching a movie in which I am also playing an extra.

Can someone tell me who the Michael is in Diana, Peter, and Michael?
Pete McCabe
 
Posts: 2068
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Pete Biro » 01/24/04 10:59 AM

Diana Zimmerman (Dick's ex-wife), Peter Reveen (Lance Burton's mgr.) Michael? He is either the stepson or son-in-law of the Glovers.

I understand there are a total of 12 people in the CastleLLC.
Stay tooned.
User avatar
Pete Biro
 
Posts: 7124
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollyweird

Postby Guest » 01/24/04 02:06 PM

Diana Zimmerman, Peter Reveen, Michael Flint, Bob Rossi, and members of the Glover Family including, I believe, Tom, Jr. and his stepson Andy, whose last name I don't know.

These are the ones who have identified themselves so far.

Michael Flint is a member of the AMA, who was head of the Marketing Committee.
Guest
 

Postby Todd Robbins » 01/25/04 11:09 AM

It's funny that all this should be coming down right now as I am considering joining several clubs back here in NY. When I look around here and see what clubs cost and I reminded what an AMAZING bargain the Castle and the AMA is for it's members. The biggest trick that has been pulled of is keeping the place opened for 40 years.

The closest thing we have here in NY is the Players Club. It's over a hundred years old and housed in actor Edwin Booth's great old Grammercy Park mansion.

To join it costs $2,000 plus the year's dues of $1,500. Other assetments and taxes bring that first year to about $4,000! And there is a charge to attend many of the events. This is also one of the cheaper clubs in NY! The Friars is probably more.

No wonder the The Glovers are looking at the situation and wanting more. They could probably take over the gutted building, renovate, bring in a hot shot club promoter and open as a trendy nightclub. Even if they shuttered it after six months, they would probably make more in those six months than they have in the last ten years of the Castle.

The AMA dropped the ball by not buying the building years ago. There were some deep pocketed folks that could have been brought together to pay Tom Sr. whatever he wanted. Any club that does not own it's clubhouse is doomed sooner or later.

It looks like later has come.
Todd Robbins
 
Posts: 25
Joined: 12/06/08 09:14 PM

Postby Steve Bryant » 01/25/04 11:22 AM

John Scanlan wrote:
The Magic Castle is synonymous with the Lane Mansion. To relocate it anywhere would be disastrous. What if you bought tickets to Disneyland, you get out of your car in the parking lot and the tram takes you to Knotts?
I love the old Lane mansion, but dispute your logic. Disney most successfully opened a second theme park in Florida, and made it much better. One of the lessons Disney learned was to have absolute control and ownership of its surroundings.
User avatar
Steve Bryant
 
Posts: 1642
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Bloomington IN

Next

Return to Buzz