PARKERSBURG -The Parkersburg Art Center has been compensated by its insurance carrier for damages claimed after an Ohio University sorority formal in March, an attorney said Tuesday.
Richard Hayhurst, representing the art center, said the center has been paid $46,555 by the West Virginia Board of Risk and Management for damages done during the March 6 formal by Pi Beta Phi.
"It is resolved on our end and the board of risk will be conducting further proceedings. All I am doing now is acting as a mouthpiece," Hayhurst said.
Photos courtesy Parkersburg Art Center
These photos show the alleged damage and mess of the bathrooms and carpet at the Parkersburg Art Center after the Pi Beta Phi sorority formal in March. The art center filed a claim for $46,555 in damage, alleging sorority members and their dates caused substantial damage that necessitated repairs to the hardwood dance floor, a bathroom, the ballroom ceiling , carpet and baseboard.
Last month Abby Hayhurst, Hayhurst's wife and director of the art center, sent a scathing letter to Anne Duffy, chapter president of the sorority, saying the group did substantial damage to the facility and engaged in inappropriate behavior, including sexual incidents.
The damage necessitated repairs to the hardwood dance floor, a bathroom, the ballroom ceiling, carpet and baseboard. Beer keg taps were also taken, she said.
Abby Hayhurst alleged the damages were caused from a food fight and two people attempting to engaged in sexual relations in a bathroom. According to the letter, a bartender and members of the catering staff also witnessed sex acts.
"The professional bartender hired for the event personally witnessed a couple engaging in sexual congress while surrounded by a cheering throng," the letter states. "The catering team interrupted two of your members engaging in sexual relations under one of the banquet tables."
The letter also includes claims from a bartender that guests attempted to tear off her clothing and take money from her apron pocket.
"The behavior of your members and their guests in our facility transcends normal student hijinks," Hayhurst said in the letter.
Photographs of the damages were taken a day or two after the event, she said.
Abby Hayhurst in an e-mail to the News and Sentinel stated the assessment of the damages was made not by the Art Center but by an independent insurance adjuster hired by the insurance company, the WV Board of Risk Management.
Last week the sorority's national office issued a statement to The News and Sentinel stating it would defend itself. The Ohio University Judiciary Office also is reviewing the incident.
The national admitted someone stole keg taps from the center, but other claims were "grossly exaggerated."
"Those charges are based solely on the letter from the art center and a police report. It is important to recognize that the police were not contacted by the art center until a month after the event," the statement said. "The police report simply concludes that the venue's complaints are a civil, not a criminal, matter. We agree."
Abby Hayhurst sent the letter to Duffy on April 6, five days after the center filed a police report. The incident allegedly occurred during the Pi Beta Phi's formal event on March 6.
Richard Hayhurst said art center officials delayed filing a police report because they feared a riot.
"They were afraid if the police came the matter would escalate out of control," he said. "The people on site didn't want a riot on their hands."
When art center officials first discussed the matter with Richard Hayhurst he had didn't realize a report had not been filed. He said it was an oversight.
"I told them to do that right away and they did."
"We run an art museum, and reporting the matter to the police after the fact was something that did not occur to us. It is certainly not part of our regular routine." Abby Hayhurst stated in her e-mail.
She said in the center's seven years renting the facility the need to summon police has never come up.
"Never have we seen anything close to the sort of behavior which took place that night."
Damages alleged in the police report were from spilled drinks, chewing gum on the carpet and dance floor and a food fight along with the theft of several taps to the beer kegs. The damages exceeded a $1,200 security deposit from the sorority.
In an e-mail sent late last month to sorority and university officials, Richard Hayhurst threatened to file suit in Wood County Circuit Court against Duffy, the OU chapter of the sorority, the national sorority, the Pi Beta Phi Foundation and the Board of Trustees of Ohio University "to obtain full and complete restitution for the damages due to the shameful hooliganism of the participants in the offending event."
No suit was filed.
Richard Hayhurst said he did receive a request from the university asking if the art center would cooperate in an investigation.
The incident is under review by the OU Office of Judiciaries, which is standard procedure whenever a police report is made, said Ryan Lombardi, dean of students.