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So far, American citizens are the ones paying for Notre Dame’s restoration

Bertrand GUAY | AFP

The billionaire donors who pledged their support are waiting for legal contracts and reconstruction plans to be finalized, say Cathedral officials.

Since the April 15 fire that ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral, more than a billion dollars in pledges have been made to support the reconstruction of the ancient church’s roof and spire.

So far, though, the billionaire donors who pledged their support have yet to hand over any money, according to Notre Dame officials.

“The big donors haven’t paid. Not a cent,” Andre Finot, senior press official at Notre Dame told the Associated Press.

Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit said on Wednesday that of the $1.2 billion pledged, “the greater part of these donations have not yet materialized,” AP reported.

“The reason is simple,” he said in a statement. “The discussions are just starting to prepare conventions of private law. They will serve as a framework for expressing the will of these major donors.”

In the meantime, American citizens who have contributed to the charitable foundation Friends of Notre-Dame de Paris have been paying for the salaries of up to 150 workers employed by the Cathedral since the fire, reported AP.

The foundation recently transferred $4.1 million for the first stage of the restoration project which largely involves clean-up and preparations for the next stage of restoration.

Finot explained that that big donors have been reluctant to make good on their pledges until they know how the funds will be spent and until all legal contracts are in place.

”They want to know what exactly their money is being spent on and if they agree to it before they hand it over, and not just to pay employees’ salaries,” he said.

Friends of Notre Dame de Paris president Michel Picaud says that over 90% of the money his foundation has raised has come from Americans, reported AP.

“Americans are very generous toward Notre Dame and the monument is very loved in America. Six out of our 11 board members are residents in the U.S.,” Picaud said.

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