Group backing musicians claims Minn. Orchestra misled on finances

  • Article by: Kristin Tillotson , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 21, 2013 - 12:15 AM

Save Our Symphony Minnesota called for the Minnesota Orchestra board to fire its CEO, end the lockout and restart contract talks.

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DufferHNov. 20, 13 9:50 PM

Why no response from the orchestra management in this article? Were they asked to respond?

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sineoflifeNov. 20, 13 9:53 PM

I have no sympathy for a orchestra that averaged over $100,000 plus the multiple weeks that were paid off. This has been provided in part to the taxpayer, which I feel has been provided in excess, or should not be provided at all. If this was a completely private and non-taxpayer expense fine. But to use public funds to pay these employees' for the sake of art is inexcusable.

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benedict636Nov. 20, 1311:44 PM

This article is incorrect. SOS Minnesota is not aligned with the musicians. I'm a member and was at the meeting. SOS Minnesota is independent and not aligned with either party in the dispute. Both the board of the MOA were notified and invited, Micheal Henson was particularly invited. The musicians were invited. Musician representatives attended, no one form the board or executive staff of the MOA turned up.A lot of data and professionally produced slides of the financials were shown. These show a pattern of very poor financial management over 10 years coupled with dishonesty and an MAO auditor asleep at the switch. The musicians under the call to action plan were specifically called upon to state exactly what financial information they are lacking. I should state that there is enormous and damning information available, and it is questionable what more information would have a material affect on the negotiations. There is need for the state auditor and the attorney general of Minnesota to be involved. There should also be legislative hearings. The question was also raised as to whether non profits like the MOA should have self appointed boards, with no accountability and no mechanism for a general membership to remove them. In my view this is legislation that is absolutely essential as a result of this disaster.We don't know the 2013 financials, but we should soon. Everyday this dispute continues increases the difficulty of getting the music started. By my count the orchestra is now 25% freelance, with as I understand it, more departures in the pipe line. So there will be a lot of up front expense to restarting this organization. This can only now be done under new management I

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akadamsNov. 20, 1311:56 PM

One sees internal minutes documenting the manipulation of financial health; one sees a CEO receiving not one but TWO huge financial bonuses in 2011 (he who laid off 16 staff members);one sees fewer concerts and less marketing, and the resulting dip in revenue...and one must ask: WHY is this board still in place? How large will Michael Henson's bonus be this year?

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momax4Nov. 21, 1312:25 AM

Let's see: Management reduces marketing and the number of classical programs, then revenue declines and they begin pulling 'unsustainable' amounts of money out of the endowment and Gwen Pappas calls this "strategic" and "successful"?

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chablis28Nov. 21, 1312:36 AM

This group is trying to side step the main issue. Cost exceed revenues and labor is the main cost. Either raise ticket prices and grow the audience or cut your cost to match your revenues. And.....keep the taxpayer out of this. I liked the idea a while ago of cutting the musican wages as needed but also offering them some sort of revenue sharing if the revenues do exceed the cost. I believe the muscicans need to be realistic about the orchestra's plight.

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DufferHNov. 21, 13 2:20 AM

Ninety people is hardly a "crowd." This is indicative of how much support the union has.

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kjaincNov. 21, 13 3:55 AM

If you need donations to keep your business open then its a charity and not a real world business. Let's audition for new musicians and see how many apply for the $100,000 and 10 ten weeks paid vacation!

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mnpls123Nov. 21, 13 4:23 AM

Only 90 people., and I wonder how many were reporters. Sad that even the music players and their families didn't show.

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redkayakNov. 21, 13 5:43 AM

This is very sad and frustrating. The musicians work hard and are very talented. It is unfair for them to be left in limbo in this. Either bring the program back or close it. Don't leave it half way between the two.

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