January 01, 2008

No Laughter at Lucy-Desi Center

Last month, the Board Members of the Lucy-Desi Center and Museum resigned. These weren't your run of the meal Board Members, they included the children of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. This alone should have raised concern and the local media should have further investigated this and delve into the issues to find out exactly what is going on. Other Board Members included Lucille Ball's secretary, Wanda Clark and a major contributor and donor to the Center, Mary Rapaport.

Something just didn't smell right to me and it doesn't take long to investigate what is exactly going on. This goes into a major problem with our society today and the media in general. If it weren't for the blogosphere and the internet, the major media outlets would keep us all in the dark. It's true that the media has been religated down to nothing more then a puppet for local government propoganda, which is usually controlled by the conservatives.

Well, Jamestown isn't laughing anymore and apparently the laughter had disappeared from the Lucy-Desi Center a long time ago. Lucille Ball would not have supported the current administration at the Center nor the way the Center is being operated, personally and financially. Everyone always assumed the Center must be a very happy place and would be a fun place to be and work, but apparently it is quite the opposite. When a place can drive away volunteers in tears and finally drive away the very children of the couple who they are supposed to represent, someone must stand up and say enough is enough. And apparently past volunteers and employees and Board Members are doing just that.

The Executive Director of the Lucy-Desi Center, Ric Wyman and his associate Patricia Brininger are the reasons behind all the resignations, tears and unhappiness at the Center. It has been reported that Ric Wyman wants total control of the Center including all the items that have been donated to the Center including rare items that personally belonged to Lucille Ball. Many items have disappeared from the Center under his control with the help and support of his Associate Director, Pat Brininger. Since the resignations of all the Board Members he has instituted his friends on the Board and thus has tried to cement his support and control. His anger issues when he does not get his way along with his ability to amass personal vendetas towards his employees and the previous Board Members are the main reasons for the resignations. His inability to compromise and gain respect within the community has been detrimental to the Center and has lead to all the unhappiness.

But to some people, this is OK. It's OK to treat people unfairly. It's OK to demean people in front of their associates. As long as it results in a profit and can sustain business, then it's all OK. It's OK to allow this to happen and to allow the current leadership to remain. Is it truly OK all in the name of the mighty buck?

Mary Rapaport, a major contributor, volunteer and donor to the Center, along with her husband Bill have contributed over $750,000 to the Center and it was with the Rapaport's help that the Desilu Playhouse and Lucille Ball's childhood home in nearby Celeron have been rebuilt and created. According to Mary, "it was because I believed in the mission of the center and true healing powers behind love and laughter. After spending a few years around Ric and Pat, that mission statement seems to get lost because of the way you are treated there. There is no healing, love or laughter at the center."

Mary continues, "I have watched Ric treat people badly from the beginning. At first I thought it was just business. Over the years I realized that it was a control issue backed with anger. I often tried to reason with the director or his assistant. It went no where. The control continues and the issues there continue.

I quit the Board of Directors because of the nasty way that Ric and Pat treat people. I quit because of the horrible things that Ric and Pat were saying about me. I quit because of the rotten things that Ric says about VIP's and guests. Yes, I was there. Yes, I saw. Yes, I heard. And Yes, I am glad to be out from under his reign. It is a sad world when the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Center is the last place you want to be."

Her attorney suggested she resign, "I can say that Ric and Pat were the cause of my resignation. It was not a happy departure."

A call for all Lucy Fans is being made by the past Board Members of the Center and the past volunteers and employees of the Center to Save the Lucy-Desi Center. The Center is supported by the many fans of Lucille Ball worldwide, with their support of the Museum, memberships and festivals and without this support, leadership must change. If Lucy's own children cannot support the Center, then why should the fans?

The creed of the Center should be to further the legacy of Lucy and Desi and to protect this legacy and safeguard all the amazing artifacts for these world of fans. Lucy and Desi's children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz, Jr. proposed a solution last May for the continuation of the Center and correct the problems at the Center but it was soundly rebuffed by Ric Wyman and Pat Brininger and this lead to more problems which resulted in their discontinuing their support for the Center.

A web site has been setup, www.SaveLucyDesiCenter.org for fans to learn more on how they can help preserve the legacy and let the laughter return to the Lucy-Desi Center and Museum.

I encourage everyone to visit and to be a part of the solution, by signing the Petition to Save The Lucy Desi Center.


  1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this additional, and vastly more enlightening, information regarding the serious situation in Celoron and Jamestown, NY, Lucille Ball's hometown(s).... I can only pray ALL LUCY FANS, worldwide, have the opportunity to read and take part in our efforts to SAVE THE CENTER and remove the 'dynamic duo' from their leadership employment posts.

  2. Thank You From the Bottom of My Heart telling me,and all my friends about people mistreating other people at the Lucy-Desi Center.I am very upset.
    I've been to this center 4 times,on boat cruises and bus tours seeing Lucy's Hometown.I'm a TRUE FAN.
    I will purchase my Lucy Collectables from other online sites from NOW ON.
    Thank You Again,
    Marilyn J Parker Morton

  3. So what's the deal now? Ric is gone, and from what I am hearing....the center is not doing so well. Any ideas on why?