edited by Lorie Hearn | inewsource
In a special meeting on Monday, the board of the San Diego Opera gave the institution until the end of April to stave off closure, but sources told KPBS it still hasn’t formed the special committee that is charged with researching future options.
The board convened on Monday to answer questions from directors who were concerned that they didn’t have adequate information before voting on March 19 to close the company and nix the 2015 season, which was to have been the opera’s 50th birthday.
The board wound up delaying closure from April 13 — after the last performance of “Don Quixote” — until April 29. A special committee was to research future options for the opera and examine the company’s finances.
Sources on the board told KPBS that as of late Thursday afternoon, no committee has been formed. There’s also no timeline or action plan for its work.
Opera management and leadership also has not answered a letter, sent by a group of board members on Friday of last week, requesting documents that may have led to the proposed shutdown, the sources said. The documents include financial reports, compensation agreements and calendar appointments with possible donors.
Board president Karen Cohn did not respond to an email request for an interview or for answers to questions about the special committee and the documents.
In the meantime, KPBS has obtained documents showing that the five-week severance offered to the staff of the San Diego Opera has been reduced to three weeks. The reason cited was the board’s vote to postpone closing.
The initial paperwork sent to the staff said the opera would close on April 14 and they would be paid through May 19. A document sent on April 2 said the severance agreement was withdrawn. If the opera closed on April 29, employees still would only be paid through May 19.
The special committee is supposed to look into concerns raised about management during an internal investigation held in late February with opera staff. Board members did not know about the investigation when they voted to close on March 19.
During Monday’s follow-up meeting, board members asked to see the investigation report, according to sources. Board leadership said they were concerned about leaks to the media and were advised by lawyers not to share that information.
Board president Cohn spoke to a cluster of reporters after Monday’s five-hour meeting. She implored San Diegans to buy tickets to this weekend’s performance of “Don Quixote.” She also said the company needs $10 million to save the opera’s 2015 season.
Cohn’s mention of a campaign to raise $10 million for the 2015 season came as a surprise to some board members, according to a source, who said it was not an item the board voted on.
Ticket sales to “Don Quixote” are exceeding ticket goals, according to an opera spokesperson.
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|Gender Identity||Gender Identity||Gender Identity|
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Lorie Hearn is the chief executive officer, editor and founder of inewsource. She founded inewsource in the summer of 2009, following a successful reporting and editing career in newspapers. She retired from The San Diego Union-Tribune, where she had been a reporter, Metro Editor and finally the senior editor for Metro and Watchdog Journalism. In addition to department oversight, Hearn personally managed a four-person watchdog team, composed of two data specialists and two investigative reporters. Hearn was a Nieman Foundation fellow at Harvard University in 1994-95. She focused on juvenile justice and drug control policy, a natural course to follow her years as a courts and legal affairs reporter at the San Diego Union and then the Union-Tribune.
Hearn became Metro Editor in 1999 and oversaw regional and city news coverage, which included the city of San Diego’s financial debacle and near bankruptcy. Reporters and editors on Metro during her tenure were part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning stories that exposed Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham and led to his imprisonment.
Hearn began her journalism career as a reporter for the Bucks County Courier Times, a small daily outside of Philadelphia, shortly after graduating from the University of Delaware. During the decades following, she moved through countless beats at five newspapers on both coasts.
High-profile coverage included the historic state Supreme Court election in 1986, when three sitting justices were ousted from the bench, and the 1992 execution of Robert Alton Harris. That gas chamber execution was the first time the death penalty was carried out in California in 25 years.
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