Regarding the article "HotHouse Moves On" [The Meter, September 22], members of the HotHouse community still have many unanswered questions about the recent actions of the board of directors of CIPEX (the Center for International Performance and Exhibition). The disagreement over hiring a business manager was only part of the story. Here are a few questions I have had: What will be so different now that Marguerite Horberg is no longer there? What was she doing that was so wrong? What are the exact accusations against Marguerite concerning financial mismanagement that were hinted about in slanderous comments but never stated? Why was Marguerite suspended when she was attending a board-approved management-training seminar at Stanford University? What caused the board to get so angry that they went from wanting her to resign from the board to dismissal from the organization without pay? What made them think it was ethical to get staff members involved in the dispute and personally take sides? Why did they shut out board members and ask them to resign when they disagreed with them? And now how are they going to move on?
HotHouse didn't need rescuing. Many ex-board members and community leaders who tried to reason with the current board to respond to the community were treated dismissively and rudely. Unfortunately, what has happened at HotHouse is not unusual.
All boards are responsible for financial security. But when they get rid of the heart and soul of the organization, i.e., the decisions on which performers to bring to the stage, financial rather than artistic concerns may become the priority. They say HotHouse will not change, but if that's so,
why get rid of the founder and executive director?
Marguerite Horberg is a unique individual with experience, know-how, and creativity that can't be duplicated. She, along with a large community of volunteers, built a great organization with an unprecedented commitment to the community, especially the many community-based organizations that held their annual fund-raisers and special events there. Her expertise and interest in world music and jazz helped bring unbelievable talent to Chicago, many performing for the first time in the United States. Although she has already received many accolades and awards from the community, she needs to leave with more respect and gratitude for the house that she built.
Nancy Fleck Myers
Former HotHouse board member