On 6/28/2012 the Philadelphia Orchestra Association (POA) issued a press statement announcing confirmation of its plan to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. What might catch your attention is the second paragraph, which conveys how much the POA will save as a result of filing bankruptcy.
As confirmed, the Association will address more than $100 million in claims, debts, and liabilities with a settlement of $5.49 million. Of that total, $4.25 million will be paid on or before the effective date of the Plan.
Although wrapped jargon in safe jargon, the old-school hard sell message is tough to miss: the POA paid 5.49 cents on the dollar for $100 million in expenses. Including this information makes the press statement come across more as a sales pitch for the POA’s bankruptcy firm rather than a fiduciary announcement:
With savings like these, you’d be a fool not to file!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’ no mention of the negatives associated with filing bankruptcy; after all, it would be genuinely silly for any organization to include that in one of their own press statements. But projecting such a heroic spin on what is still a very large gamble risks coming across as more than a bit disingenuous.
This is something that would have perhaps been better served by a much shorter, more generic press statement designed to deliver facts and move on. To that end, simply removing the figures from the second paragraph would have gone a long way toward adopting more of an unassuming tone that is perhaps better suited for something such as bankruptcy. For example:
As confirmed, the Association will address outstanding debts and liabilities with the approved settlement and expects to pay approximately 78 percent of that figure on or before the effective date of the Plan.
In the end, when it comes to bankruptcy and public statements, hubris may be considered a dicey approach.
[ilink url=”http://adaptistration.com/wp-content/uploads/POA-Plan-of-Reorganization-Confirmed.pdf” style=”download”]Download the complete POA press statement.[/ilink]