Just When You Thought It Was Done

It seemed like the story behind the Lipinski Strad robbery was winding down; suspects were apprehended, the instrument and bows were returned, and all that remained were the gears of the remaining investigation and likely trial. But all of that took a sharp left turn when one of the suspects, Salah Salahadyn, walked into the Milwaukee NBC affiliate TMJ4 on 2/18/2014 and gave an on-camera interview to discuss why he stole the violin.

ADAPTISTRATION-GUY-130Spoiler alert: he claims that an “Asian gang” was behind the whole thing.

That’s not a typo, TMJ4 reporter Michele Fiore reports that Salahadyn stated an “Asian gang” forced him to steal the violin and he was afraid for his family’s safety if he failed to reply. There was no word on whether or not Salahadyn was accompanied by legal representation during his interview but he says violinist Frank Almond was the real victim in the entire affair. Fiore’s report also mentions that the criminal case against Salahadyn does not include mention of any outside group that set events in motion.

Salahadyn has entered a plea of not guilty in response to charges that robbed Almond of the violin and whether or not his “Asian gang” assertion is real or fabricated is something that will most certainly play out in court. Stay tuned.

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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