ORLANDO, Fla. — A packed city workshop session was held on Monday morning at Orlando City Hall, where just the day before outside on the front steps mothers of Pulse nightclub victims, friends and family members met, calling for an investigation into the onePulse organization, the owners of the club and the city of Orlando. 

What You Need To Know

  • The mayor says the city looked at issues surrounding life safety back in 2016, but no issues related to the Pulse nightclub building were found

  • City officials say while they did find out about unpermitted work at the club after it was done, there was not a pattern of any life safety issues

  • RELATED coverage: Families of Pulse victims call for investigation into onePULSE Foundation

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said he understands why people might be upset with the recent news of the Pulse memorial plans coming to a standstill. 

“I can understand their frustration that the memorial has not moved forward in the fashion that we had all hoped. There has always been discussion about whether or not it should or shouldn’t be a museum, so to look like we are back at step one, it’s got to be pretty frustrating," Dyer said. 

Dyer is talking about the onePULSE Foundation failing to reach an agreement with nightclub owners Barbara and Rosario Poma on donating the club property for a permanent memorial site.

In addition to concerns with onePULSE, those at city hall on Sunday were upset and claimed the city ignored code violations at the nightclub. Dyer said Monday that the issues surrounding these concerns were investigated in 2016.

“I do know that we looked at issues surrounding life safety back in 2016, but we couldn’t find any issues related to that with Pulse building itself," Dyer said. 

While the city did find out about unpermitted work at the Pulse nightclub after it was done, there was not a pattern of any life safety issues. 

The group is also raising concerns about the onePULSE organization’s use of funds. A spokesperson declined an interview but pointed to their financial statements on their website. 

A close look at the organization’s 990 forms revealed the foundation lost income in 2020, the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, finishing out the fiscal year with a deficit of more than $111,000 all while still paying five executives more than $500,000 salaries.

In the next year, tax forms show a net income of more than a million dollars while continuing to pay those five executives more than $500,000.

onePULSE sent a statement in response to the claims made on Sunday: 

“The onePULSE Foundation respects the solemnity of today for those who have lost loved ones.

However, the claims made today about the Foundation are untrue and misinformed. The onePULSE Foundation publishes its audited financial statements and 990 on its website, a practice it has adhered to every year since its inception.

Furthermore, the Foundation is proud to carry a Gold Seal rating in Guidestar, a rating that less than five percent of nonprofits registered with the agency hold. Guidestar evaluates the financial transparency and accountability of nonprofits worldwide.”

Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse nightclub, released a statement following the press conference on Sunday. 

"Since that tragic night at Pulse Nightclub, my time has been focused on remembering and honoring the 49 angels whose lives were taken and their surviving families as they navigate unimaginable grief. It has been an uncharted path for everyone. Out of respect to those impacted by this tragedy, I have never responded to the handful of individuals who continue to spread a myriad of untruths about my husband and me, falsely blaming us for what was an unforeseeable terrorist attack. These individuals continue to speak untruthfully about us, and as always, without any knowledge or facts. The decisions we have made related to the onePULSE Foundation have been difficult and personal. While I recognize and respect these individuals’ grief, that should not serve as a free pass for intentionally spreading lies about us. It is hurtful, undeserved and helps no one."

Dyer says that his heart goes out to the victims and the family members of the Pulse terror attack shooting. He says at this time to his knowledge the city is not working on plans to build a Pulse memorial.