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Minnesota Democrats call for inquiry into locked-out Orchestra

The freeze imposed by the management of the Minnesota Orchestra has begin to melt. Fourteen Democratic members of the state legislature have called for a public hearing into the organisation’s finances. They said politicians had been assured the orch was in good financial shape when they voted $14 million for renovating the concert hall and $1 million in annual operating expenses.


Since the orch locked outs its musicians on October 1, saying it could not afford to pay the wage bill, that claim looks questionable. Expect orch president Michael Henson to sweat beneath committee lights. One Congressman has called the orch’s conduct ‘unethical’.

More here in a tough report from the CBS affiliate.


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  1. I hope major donors to MO come out and call for the ouster of Jon Campbell and Michael Hensen.

  2. Good for them.

    MO management has refused the players’ request for an independent financial analysis. Now they have no choice but for their actions to be held up to scrutiny at the highest level in the state.

  3. Terry Carlson says:

    A complete copy of the letter from state legislators can be found here (scroll down):

    “Legislators have questions for Minnesota Orchestra officials”

  4. Stereophonic says:

    Hear hear. We found Henson so boring and predictable when he was in Bournemouth. MO need someone dynamic. Good luck to you all.

  5. Jerry Pritchard says:

    I say: Lock out the orchestra management, stop paying their salaries, and demand an open-books accounting by a neutral 3rd party who does forensic accounting to see if the executive director and financial director proper carried fiduciary responsibilities.

  6. Stephen Carpenter says:

    Some assumptions that are dangerous to make.
    That a business manager can prepare a lucid balance sheet with simple explanations. (important later).
    That a Board (charged with oversight) can actually read and make sense of any budget or accounting document before signing off on it.
    That a politician/ elected official can even read or cares to read the document.
    My very limited experience with these sheets as a board member and a one-time elected official is that most times, these documents are part of the “sheaf” that one needs to look through. If one were to do their due diligence, the task of going through a financial report takes time, and a legal pad with questions on it that one needs to ask.
    And the officials sign off on $14 million. And the chief administrators of a not-for-profit scumble together a”sheaf”. At the end of a fiscal year with the books closed either you met the budget or you didn’t. Extenuating circumstances require a bit of an explanation and it should be simple,
    Playing fast and loose politics with people’s lives, the health of the commonwealth, and cultural traditions to alternative ends is a game best taken off the “Political Olympics” roster.

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