In an e-mail Tuesday, Jack Kitchen, president and CEO of Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp., which organized the festival, wrote: "We did not submit an application to the state for funding [in 2012] simply because the festival had served its purpose . . . to rebrand and market West Oak Lane as a community of choice."
Naja Killebrew, OARC's director of marketing and public relations, told WHYY's Newsworks.org that funding problems did not affect the decision.
"The festival was never supposed to be something that was going to last forever," she told Newsworks, noting the benefits to local businesses and the community at large in the event's eight years. "We accomplished everything we wanted to with it."
In a news release announcing the cancellation of the 2012 festival, OARC maintained that the event in some years had attracted as many as 500,000 people.
The cancellation is the latest in a series of problems for Evans.
In November 2010, he was stripped of his leadership post as the ranking Democrat on the influential House Appropriations Committee, a job he held for 20 years.
He lost that spot after resentment against him grew, fueled by a feeling that he watched out mostly for his own interests, including funding the jazz festival and other pet projects.
In September, a report by Mayor Nutter's chief integrity officer, Joan Markman, detailed how Evans and Robert L. Archie Jr., former chairman of the School Reform Commission, applied backdoor pressure to try to swing control of Martin Luther King High School to a nonprofit connected to Evans.
Zack Stalberg, who heads the election-watchdog group Committee of Seventy, said the cancellation of the jazz fest struck yet another blow against Evans' reputation.
"The festival certainly looked questionable, and it didn't look good that he was helping to funnel money to it, so the cancellation really vindicates a lot of the doubts about it and about him," Stalberg said. "He's a fighter, and he's a resilient guy, so I certainly wouldn't write him off. But this is probably one of the toughest periods he's had in his long political career."
In a news release, OARC said it planned to create a new arts and culture series that would feature local performers at various venues.
"One of OARC's goals for the festival was to establish West Oak Lane as a healthy, viable community for families and businesses to relocate within the region," the release said. "The real importance of this event has been its role in restoring a once-dying commercial area and decaying residential zone, transforming the community into a vibrant family- and business-friendly destination."
In the November 2010 article, The Inquirer reported that Evans had approved more than $17.5 million in state money for OARC in the previous two years, including more than $1 million to finance the West Oak Lane Jazz and Arts Festival.
Contact Miriam Hill at 215-854-5520 or firstname.lastname@example.org,
or follow on Twitter @miriamhill. Read The Inquirer's City Hall
blog, "Heard in the Hall," at www.philly.com/heardinthehall.