"We have improperly been denied information," says a key board member of San Diego Opera. On March 28, eight board members of the opera sent a letter to opera director Ian Campbell and Chairwoman Karen Cohn, demanding that information be provided. The letter went out to other board members, too. The letter stated that pursuant to opera bylaws, and California Corprations Code sections 6334 and 8334, the information had to be provided. But it has not been provided as of today (April 2). I got the same information from a second source.
The letter asked for information on pro forma cash flow, company liabilities for the remainder of 2014 and on to 2017, other detailed information, and, in particular, documents that were used to come to the abrupt conclusion that the opera had to shut down. The March 19 decision to disband (which was not revealed in the agenda) "was rammed down the throats of a board culturally conditioned to say 'yes' to leadership (Ian and Ann Campbell)," says the main source of this item. This source noticed the stark opinion change of the board: "We went from 33 to 1 [for dissolution] to 34 to 5 [to extend the go/no-go date until April 29.]" A special committee is supposed to review the matter — but board members still do not have the information they asked for. "I was disappointed that we did not move to rescind the vote to dissolve, but other board members are comfortable moving in steps."
Some media have reported that the opera must raise $10 million by April 29, or the closure goes ahead. But this source says that is not true; the board did not say that.
This source, along with this reporter, are disturbed that Cohn and her allies are putting out a noncredible story about Ian and Ann Campbell's potential termination/retirement pay. Cohn told me initially, and told others, that Ian and Ann Campbell would not get one penny upon the dissolution of the opera. But in a Union-Tribune op-ed, she said that the Campbells would be able to get in line with other creditors. Those two statements are contradictory. This source believes that Ian and Ann Campbell could get $3 million on the death of the opera. This source wonders if the Campbells' desire to "monetize their severance" was a factor in the quick move to shut down the opera.
At the meeting prior to March 19, the discussion focused on singers for the 2015 season. There was no mention of shutting down. Similarly, the staff was working on the 2015 season right up to the day before the dissolution announcement.
This source also was not aware of the complaint about a hostile work environment. Seven senior staff members were interviewed about the charge. It was decided that there was not sufficient evidence to prove a hostile work environment, but that the management style of Ian and Ann Campbell would be investigated. The staff has heard nothing about that since. That was revealed here in a post on Saturday, March 29, and by KPBS Monday, March 31.