For the Hasty Pudding Club, the oldest college club in the country, the past decade has been a period of dichotomies. At the same time that the club's theatrical organization was raking in record profits on its annual show, the Pudding's social club was quietly and steadily losing money. And in the last few months, the organization's continual deficit budget began to catch up with it.
With skyrocketing oil prices and inflation, the club's annual operating expenses rose too fast for alumni contributions to keep up. In an effort to keep the club open, its managers and executive board took out mortgages and let taxes and other debts slide--accumulating a total debt which now exceeds $150,000.
Although Archie C. Epps III, dean of students and Harvard's liasion to the Pudding, has given the club more time to pay off the approximately $20,000 it owes the University, other creditors have begun to clamp down.
If the Pudding does not pay the approximately $20,000 it owes the city in back and current taxes within a few months, the city will be forced to file a lien against the property, a spokesman in the city's delinquent tax unit said this week. If Cambridge takes action, the club will have six months to pay off the entire debt before the city can foreclose.
A year ago, the banks which hold the Pudding's mortgages told the club it could not take out more loans, forcing the Pudding to start making ends meet, so club officials are looking for other means to keep from going bankrupt.
They hope to garner the money needed to meet tax payments and other immediate expenses by soliciting alumni. In addition, they are planning a capital fund drive to pay off some of the larger debts. The only hitch Pudding officials have encountered so far is University jealousy--Harvard does not want competition with its own capital campaign.