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Jazz Hall of Fame executive says insurance debts paid; county official says check bounced

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TULSA, Oklahoma — The executive director of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame said Thursday that the financially struggling organization had settled more than $14,000 in past-due insurance bills, but a county official said one of those payments — a check for more than $2,900— was rejected by the bank for lack of funds.

A hearing that could have begun the process of seizing the Tulsa-based museum's assets to pay about $11,200 owed to State Farm Insurance was postponed Thursday until Feb. 12.

State Farm spokesman Jim Camoriano told The Associated Press it had received the payment but was waiting for the "final free and clear" from the bank, which had not come by late Thursday.

"Everything looks good. It just has to be cleared by the bank," Camoriano said.

Jason McIntosh, the hall's executive director, told the AP that the nonprofit had paid both debts. He said Thursday the museum was being unfairly targeted.

"If people would just give us breathing room and stop throwing rocks, we wouldn't have this problem," he said.

But Tulsa County Commissioner John Smaligo countered McIntosh's statement Thursday, saying a check bounced last week.

"The last information we got was (Thursday) morning, when the bank said there was not enough money and the check hadn't cleared," Smaligo said.

The hall's own attorney, James Goodwin, acknowledged Thursday that "things are not well financially" for the museum, and called on patrons and fans of jazz music to come forward and lend financial support so the facility could continue operating.

"There have been challenges, and creditors haven't been willing to give (McIntosh) more time, for whatever reason," Goodwin said. "It's a nonprofit organization the entire society has benefited from."

The hall, which is privately funded, has a history of making late payments to cover expenses dating back to 2012, when it had to raise more than $75,000 to pay overdue debts or face eviction from the Art Deco-style Union Depot building the museum leases from the county. Problems continued last year, when the hall was late with downtown assessment fees and property insurance bills.

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