Why isn’t anyone saying how the Forever Marilyn statue will be paid for?

While the city of Palm Springs made a big announcement about returning the giant Marilyn Monroe statue to the city this week, details about how the thing would be paid for have been murky. And why? Well, as the Desert Sun reports, PS Resorts Chairman Aftab Dada admits the group doesn’t have even half of the cash to pay for the thing – which seems like a pretty important factor.

Many details — particularly funding — remain to be firmed up. But Dada said PS Resorts, a hotel and tourism industry group that promotes Palm Springs, has been negotiating with the statue’s owner, the Seward Johnson Atelier, to bring the statue back by Modernism Week, which runs Feb. 13-23.

Dada said the statue — which was on display in the city from 2012 to 2014 — has a “seven-figure” price tag. PS Resorts, he said, currently has about a third of the funds needed to purchase it. PS Resorts plans to raise the remainder, he said, and has had informal discussions with the city about a loan to provide the difference in the meantime.

PS Resorts would pay back the money “very fast,” said Dada, who is the general manager of the Hilton Palm Springs.

So, umm, I am not a financial expert or anything, but if they can pay the money back very fast, why don’t they just raise the money very fast to pay for the statue without a loan of taxpayer dollars?

Oh, and this seems pretty important, the city hasn’t even agreed to loan out the money:

Palm Springs City Manager David Ready said he had spoken informally with Dada about helping pay for the statue if PS Resorts raised most of the funds required to purchase it.

“It was pure discussion. The idea was for the city council to consider a bridge loan that could be paid back to the city within a year,” he said Thursday. “It was just an idea and I told (PS Resorts) the council would certainly consider it. But there’s no formal request.”

At his State of the City address on Wednesday at the Plaza Theater, Mayor Rob Moon said the city is “not putting any funds” into the acquisition of the statue.

So to sum up:

  • The Marilyn statue has not been purchased
  • There is not nearly enough money, currently, to buy Marilyn
  • The city has not agreed to loan the money to buy Marilyn
  • The outgoing mayor says the city will not give any money for the Marilyn statue
  • They went ahead and announced Marilyn is coming back to Palm Springs anyway

For all of the talk about transparency in the city of Palm Springs, this whole thing seems pretty cloudy.