Barbara Poma speaks during the two-year mark of the Pulse tragedy at the interim memorial. (Photo by Maia Monet)
ORLANDO | onePULSE Foundation shocked many in the LGBTQ+ community with its announcement May 2 that the National Pulse Memorial would no longer be built on the site of the nightclub where 49 people lost their lives to gun violence in 2016.
In its statement, onePULSE said that an agreement could not be reached between the foundation and Pulse owners Barbara and Rosario Poma, and their business partner Michael Panaggio, for the full donation of the Pulse nightclub property.
Now, in a statement released to WESH2, the Pomas are saying that while they were willing to donate their share of the property, it is Panaggio who refused.
“Earlier this year we informed the Foundation, both verbally and in writing, that we made the decision to donate our share of the property. However, our partner, who owns the remaining parcel, chose not to donate his share. We have no control over his business decisions. As a result, we were unable to satisfy the Foundation’s requirement for the full donation of the property,” said Barbara Poma in her statement to WESH2.
WESH2 reports that in a series of messages between the news organization and Panaggio, it was verified that the Daytona Beach-based businessman wasn’t willing to donate his portion of the property.
“I am a silent investor that should never be asked to donate to a cause I’m not involved with in any way. It’s desperation the Pulse Foundation is obviously not well,” Panaggio said to WESH 2. “I was totally blindsided by the request to donate my collateral for the money I invested. Believe me I’ve never received a dime from my investment in Pulse. I do not believe their lawyer should be telling me I should donate my collateral in order to serve their purpose. It came out of left field and no one had the courtesy to even ask for a sit down discussion.”
In its statement, onePULSE said the organization will be providing an update later this monthregarding future plans.
The Poma’s full statement can be read here.