A few days ago the cost of the “Stepanakert Elderly House Reconstruction,” an ongoing project of “Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund (HAAF), increased by 265%. This dramatic increase from about $400 thousand as of October 2011 to about $1 million as of November 2011 was accompanied by the addition of the Artsakh government as a co-sponsor of the project. Thus, the allegedly cash-strapped Artsakh government has committed to investing $600,000 to an already overvalued project.
Over a month ago I published How to Renovate Already Renovated Retirement Home, an article about the redundancy of certain aspects of that project and the cost exaggeration. I had also pinpointed the indecency of the HAAF for providing false information about the history of the retirement home. At that time they claimed the building in question had not undergone major reconstruction since 1988, whereas it is a fact that Louise Manoogian Simone funded a major makeover in 1999, costing about $400 thousand.
“Hayastan” All-Armenian Fund made an announcement in the summer of 2011 about launching a new project, which appeared controversial to me. The target was the Stepanakert Retirement Home, which was scheduled to undergo an extensive renovation thanks to a generous donation of $400 thousand from Armen Shakhazizyan, a Moscow-based industrialist, as reported by the Fund’s blog. With the Artsakh government co-financing the project, the cost of that proposed major facelift is probably over a half a million dollars.
One statement in the press release raised question marks over the Fund’s trustworthiness and the expediency of the project: “The two wings of the Stepanakert Retirement Home were last upgraded in 1988.” This is an outright false statement. The retirement home had been extensively remodeled in 1999 by the AGBU.
The official website of the AGBU lists all the projects implemented by the Union in Armenia; among them is the following: “Renovation of the Stepanakert house for elderly people, with 55 permanent residents and 150 aged people under custody.” The retirement home was remodeled with the remaining funds, initially allocated for the renovation of Alex Manoogian Street in Stepanakert. I have firsthand information from Louise Manoogian Simone that about $400 thousand from the street renovation was reallocated for the reconstruction of the retirement home, thanks to the recommendation of the Artsakh Government to the donor.