The Also Foundation breached its contract with the City of Melbourne after it failed to ask permission to sub-lease its City Village office with community groups.
It follows the news the foundation charged the Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) an extra $6,000 a year compared to the City of Melbourne’s rates.
MQFF director Lisa Daniel told the Star Observer the Also Foundation had overcharged the film festival about $20,000 since 2008 in extra rent.
MQFF has been the only organisation known to have sub-leased the space although other small groups were provided space free-of-charge.
The Star Observer can confirm the City of Melbourne did not know the foundation was sub-leasing its City Village office.
Any sub-leasing arrangements needed permission from the city council which did not happen.
Daniel rejected earlier comments by Also Foundation secretary Daniel Perkins that festival organisers were fully aware they were subsidising other community groups with their rent.
“We had no idea that we were doing that, like I said I’d love to do that if we had the finances,” she said.
“We just trusted that the rent we were paying was a fair contribution to the City of Melbourne.”
Daniel said they only found out how much they had been overcharged when they sought a quote for more space from the City of Melbourne recently.
The Also Foundation abruptly departed the City Village offices in June when it could no longer afford the space.
The foundation had auspiced the space for community groups which were left to organise their own agreements with the City of Melbourne.
“We were shocked to find that it was almost $6,000 less than what we’d being paying Also per year for quite a bit more space,” Daniel said.
“We asked the City of Melbourne what Also had been paying and what we’d been paying and we’d paying a considerable amount of rent over what we should have been paying per square metre if we’d been dealing straight with City of Melbourne.”
Daniel said it clearly stated the Also Foundation would subsidise the festival’s rental costs in return for sponsorship in their Memorandum of Understanding. A City of Melbourne spokeswoman would not comment further on whether Also broke its contract but said it would not pursue the matter.
Daniel said MQFF would not be pursuing the issue either.
The Also Foundation did not respond to interview requests.