I can't believe this group still exists. They have ripped off an unbelievable amount of actors and laborers. Their fiscal year budget is 500,000 because Gary Smith likes his vacations. The lack of integrity within this organization just makes me want to cry.
In 2012 Gary Smith was evicted from the STAHR armory in downtown Lancaster PA. He had attempted to create a "community" of artists by renting out the vacant spaces of the armory. Many people fell victim to this scam. Thankfully Lancaster City investigated his activities and shut it down, preventing more people from being robbed. Gary Smith was renting the STAHR armory from the State of PA for a total sum of 500 dollars per month. Gary Smith solely had permission to rent the auditorium for his theatrical performances and did not have permission to sublet vacant rooms. Gary Smith wrote up illegal contracts asking people to give up their rights and labor once they had moved into their studios giving them only a few days to vacate if they did not agree to his organizations belief in Greek deities and free labor. Many people signed this agreement with the assumption that it could never be used against them because the contract was that absurd. However, those who refused were locked out of their rooms and their possessions confiscated. Most of the residents were low income artists who were looking for studios where they could work and live at the same time. There was a huge problem with drugs and prostitution on the floors with the most vacant spaces. Gary Smith had no care for the safety of the residents of the building in any aspect.
Gary Smith refused to upgrade smoke alarms, sprinklers or handicap access and refused to contact the state for any needed upgrades because of the illegal activities that he was involved in. The roof was leaking in many spots to the point that it was in danger of collapse. One business actually knocked a hole in a concrete wall to create an entrance into a secondary space without a building permit.
Marie Winger is, or was, also a member of the board. This woman took pleasure in evicting residents on the basis of "lack of participation". When residents couldn't pay rent she would offer them a work for rent form but never actually provide them with the form. After several weeks of labor in the STAHR center she would evict them on the basis that they never completed the form and thus the labor was not accepted as payment. This happened on three or four different occasions.
Aside from the illegal activities at the STAHR center, the Theater was well known for not paying their actors. I hope they are shut down soon :(
Review from Guidestar