Sat09202014

News

Local symphony in crisis after funds vanish


Town Crier File Photo
Peninsula Symphony players perform across Los Altos at events like the city's free summer concert series.

The Los Altos-based Peninsula Symphony is facing the worst financial crisis of its 65-year history after board members recently discovered nearly all of the orchestra's endowment and operating funds are missing.

Executive Director Steve Carlton has resigned in the wake of the discovery.

Alan Bien, chairman of the Peninsula Symphony Board of Directors, said the symphony has contacted the Los Altos Police Department and retained pro bono legal counsel in efforts to recover the missing assets.

The symphony plans to engage an accounting firm to "investigate the financial losses and is implementing strengthened financial control mechanisms to protect future donations and contributions," according to a prepared statement issued today. The symphony declined to give an exact number for the missing funds, but has an annual budget of approximately half a million dollars, suggesting that hundreds of thousands of dollars are missing.

Bien said symphony musicians and board members have pitched in to pledge new contributions to fund nearly half of a season's scaled down operating budget. The pledges and donations will allow the symphony to complete its current concert season. The season begins Oct. 25 and 26 with Irish pianist John O'Conor and Masterworks Chorale.

"The symphony is appealing to all of its supporters and to the community at large for additional financial support to restore the organization to good financial health for many years to come," according to the symphony's statement.

Check back for more on this developing story.

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