Reader Response: They Should Get Their Money Back

Adaptistration reader Brad in New Jersey took the time to send in an intriguing observation and offer a suggestion regarding the Axelrod Instruments purchased by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

“My wife and I maintain a large collection of wines and once we discovered that a few cases of what we thought were a particular wine turned out to be phony, the seller just used counterfeit labels.  In that case we ended up filing a lawsuit against the seller and, eventually, got most of our money back.

After reading the report and your articles I’m wondering why the [New Jersey] Symphony didn’t go right back to Axelrod and demand their money back after the reports that some of the instruments were, in all probability, fakes.”

Brad brings up a good question and I don’t know the answer to that, although I would suspect that in order for the NJSO to demand any sort of restitution from Herbert Axelrod they would have to first establish the instruments in question are fakes, or at the very least deliberate misrepresentations, before they could take any action.

In hindsight, it would seem to have been a good PR move which would allow the NJSO to look more like an honest victim seeking justified vindication instead of a patsy who’s trying not to look like a patsy.  However, it’s never too late and we just might see something like that transpire over the next few months.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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