Pulse Nightclub Memorial Derails After Owner Refuses To Sell To Orlando

Pulse in Orlando. Photo by Walter via Flickr, CC 2.0.
The owner of Pulse says she can’t bring herself to sell the nightclub she founded in memory of her brother.

Barbara Poma revealed the news during a conference outside the club while clutching her husband’s hand.

“This decision truly came just from my heart and my passion for Pulse, and everything it’s meant to me and my family for the last 12 years since its inception,” Poma said. “So I think the struggle was you know, letting it go, and it’s just something I could not come to grips with.”

Related: Pulse Survivor Chris Brodman Found Dead At Birthday Party

As The Orlando Sentinel reports, Mayor Buddy Dyer’s staff planned to buy the club for $2.25 million to turn the space into a permanent memorial to honor the victims of the massacre that killed 49 people and wounded over a dozen more last June.

“I’m distressed by the decision,” says District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan, “but I support Barbara’s decision.”

Poma isn’t quite sure what she envisions for the site’s future. She’s been raising money for the non-profit onePULSE Foundation, but most of the funds raised in 2016 will be going to the National Compassion Fund, while 10 percent will aid in building a “permanent memorial at the existing site of Pulse nightclub.”

Related: Orlando Shooting Survivor Surprised By Katy Perry On “Ellen”

On November 14th, The City Council had been expected to vote on whether or not to purchase the building, but Dyer kept delaying the vote since several commissioners had balked at the price.

A typical busy night at Pulse. This was the scene of Saturday night's shooting.

“She offered a price and I just, from my perspective, wasn’t willing to pay the price that she wanted,” Gray told the Sentinel. 

Related: These Haunting Photos Show The Strength Of Orlando Before & After Pulse Massacre

“You never want to enter into a real-estate transaction while you insult the seller and I am deeply distressed by some of the things that were being said,” said Sheehan. “Barbara Poma is a victim in this, as well.”

Poma says the public debate about the proposed price “didn’t offend me.”

“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and their feelings but, for me, it wasn’t about the real estate and the appraisal, it was about the emotion, what happened here.”

Poma’s decision was acknowledged in a statement by Heather Fagan, Dyer’s deputy chief of staff:

We understand that this was an incredibly difficult decision for the owners. We respect their decision and are hopeful the Pulse site continues to be a place of hope and healing that honors the victims.”

Dyer’s office says they’ll “continue to research and understand how other communities have approached the memorial process.”

Poma opened Pulse in 2004 to honor her brother John, who died of AIDS-related complications in 1991.

Terry DeCarlo, the executive director of the GLBT Center of Central Florida, helped Poma make her decision, encouraging her to “go with what’s in your heart.”

“I would not wish what this woman is going through on any person in the world,” DeCarlo says.

Right now, DeCarlo says it’s hard to know what the future of Pulse holds.

I’m sure, within the next few months, things will come out and [Poma], with input from others, people that were there and other organizations, will come up with a plan.”

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  • NateOcean

    Whenever they say “it’s not about the money”; it’s about the money.

  • 0426dpd

    I think the best way to honor the victims is to reopen and make it a place of fun, life and love. All the reasons those that died that night were there. Their love and lives will live for ever with every beat of the music, the laughter of friends, and the kisses of love!

  • Chris

    I agree. A bigger and gayer night club or a solemn memorial; which do you think the dead would choose?

  • Jaroslaw

    @NateOcean: no it is not always about the money. The sister had enough money to open the club, almost certainly made money for the many years it was open, so I believe it was emotions that kept her from selling.

  • JerseyMike

    Built it and we will come..

  • He BGB

    I agree. I was thinking rebuild it, make it secure but lots of fun and maybe put a plaque on the patio of everyone’s names who died.

  • Transiteer

    It’s all about the money…..

  • abnerb

    Posters have been offended by me saying that it wouldn’t surprise me if 1 or more of the Orlando victims were pedophiles & or drug dealers. They’re offended because I think they know it’s possible but hate that I raise this because people were murdered & wounded in this shooting. I don’t omit ugly facts because something bad as getting murdered happened. Though posters know this, here’s why it wouldn’t be surprising if it turns out if 1 or more of the victims were gay pedophiles & or drug dealers. The life of gays & lesbians (though not always) often have bad childhood such as fact that many gays & lesbians were victims of gay/lesbian pedophiles as kids.

    1. People who are victims of same sex pedophilia are more likely to turn out gay/lesbian in adulthood, copying the sexual behavior they learned. In worse cases, victims of gay/lesbian pedophiles turn out to be gay/lesbian pedophiles in adulthood. This is esp. true for gay men & wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out 1 or more of the gay men killed in Orlando had been as a boy molested by gay pedophiles such as gay Catholic priests which caused them to repeat sexual conduct they learned from their abuse & possibly even turn out to be gay pedophiles.

    2. People who are victims of gay/lesbian pedophiles along with being more likely to turn out gay/lesbian are also more likely to have problems such as depression, drug junkyism & drunkardism. They’re more likely to use drugs such as Meth, Cocaine & Extasy. In some cases, junkies can sell drugs along with using them or be a drug courier or lookout for drug dealers for money. In pubs, drugs are often sold & pubs are known to get drunkards, junkies & drug dealers.
    Now I know this offends people with posters telling me how I’m trashing people who aren’t here to defend themselves. But ugly facts don’t change because some1 is murdered & it wouldn’t surprise me if 1 or more of the victims were pedophiles & or drug junkies + drug dealers because again, many gays & lesbians were victims of gay/lesbian pedophiles which ruined their sexuality & people who are victimized like this are more likely to turn out gay/lesbian in adulthood incl. turn out to be gay/lesbian pedophiles & more likely to be drug junkies incl. in some cases, sell drugs. Think the offended posters know this but hate that I’m not shy & raise this.

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