The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce lost $290,847 in 2016, according to its Internal Revenue Service Form 990, but its interim executive director promised 2017 was better.
Saying “The past is the past” and “I see no value in wallowing in the past,” John Musella declared in an email that the 2017 forms will show that the chamber paid its debts and showed a net profit of approximately $100,000.
“We have demonstrated through actions and results that the Chamber is on solid financial footing with a focus on the future,” Musella wrote.
But to get there, the chamber had to go through some rough times. According to its 2016 filing, it grossed almost $228,000 less than in 2015, while keeping expenses similar. Also, its total liabilities skyrocketed from $175,018 to $413,317 while its assets declined by about $16,000.
Musella told the Gazette last summer that the chamber hadn’t been on solid financial ground for “at least five or six years, if not longer. It could have been close to a decade.”
One reason was a lease to the building on Tournament Road that the chamber could not afford and eventually defaulted on. Court documents showed the building owners sought $700,000 plus attorney’s fees, interest, court costs and any other relief the Superior Court wanted to award.
So, when he took over as chairman, he cut staff (including the CEO) and costs, negotiated a settlement with the building owner, did not take the chamber into bankruptcy when it was an option, found new digs on Westinghouse Place and implemented a financial plan based on paying debt first and then saving money while still giving the membership what it wants – as long as it keeps the chamber on solid financial ground.
“We have a responsibility to our membership to be fiscally prudent and I believe we’ve demonstrated that,” Musella said.