Originally created 01/27/99

Augusta Lynx complain about seats



Less than a week after placing bookkeeping of the civic center's private management under a microscope, Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority heard a report Tuesday from the complex's new food service company and complaints from Augusta Lynx management about the condition of the venue's seating.

Eric Sievers, vice president of Fine Host Corp., which took over for Volume Services in December, spoke to allay fears about the company's filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. He said the Connecticut-based company clean financial records because $6 million to $7 million worth of outside auditing has been done since filing for protection.

Fine Host has 70 accounts at various venues, stadiums and convention centers, including Pro Player Stadium in Miami, site of Super Bowl XXXIII on Sunday, Mr. Seivers said.

"Basically, our operation goes on as normal," he said.

Augusta Lynx General Manager Paul Gamsby said his office is getting complaints from hockey patrons about beat-up seating in the arena. He invited authority members to tour the facility with him to view the seating.

The blue, flip-down seats have been patched and repaired through the years, and many are held together with duct tape.

"Sitting on duct tape is a real problem," said Mr. Gamsby.

Authority member Roy Stampley said something needs to be done about the seating but he didn't know where the money would come from.

In July, Leisure Management International Inc., which runs the arena, asked for $183,000 to refurbish seating installed when the civic center was built in 1979. But the authority's capital projects budget was tabled until the financial impact of hockey could be ascertained, said authority member Tim Mirshak.

At Thursday's finance committee meeting, Harry Dolyniuk, the authority's accountant, said outside auditors Serotta, Maddocks and Evans had to resolve questions about LMI's 1997-98 income statement before they could complete an audit. A $65,000 accounting glitch needed to be ironed out, officials said.

Authority Chairman Bill Maddox said Tuesday the audit is not complete. When it is, he will call a special meeting to discuss it.

Kent Kimes can be reached at (706) 823-3626 or feature@augustachronicle.com.