Don Bauder

Don Bauder is a Reader contributor. See staff page for published articles.

Comments by dbauder

Might Chargers eye property occupied by opera studio?

LETTER SAYS CAMPBELLS WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF OPERA SURVIVED. BUT LIKE VILAPLANA'S LETTER, IT MEANS LITTLE TO NOTHING BECAUSE IT DOESN'T INCLUDE KEY INFORMATION. Friends of Ian and Ann Campbell are circulating a letter from a lawyer, Michael J. Weaver, Esq. It was written to Abby Silverman Weiss, Esq., a lawyer who is very close to the Campbells and Faye Wilson. (I have been told by several people that she was the lawyer who interviewed staffers about a possible hostile work environment -- the employee complaint that seemed to die. I will attempt to clarify that.) Weaver writes that he has looked over the employment agreements with both Campbells, Vilaplana's letter, and other documents. He goes on the assumption that the opera closes May 1, makes an assignment for the benefit of creditors or files for bankruptcy, and all employees, as unsecured creditors, will receive less than 100 cents on the dollar and in bankruptcy all claims for future wages are limited to one year of compensation. You can see from these assumptions what is coming: "It is my professional opinion that both Campell and Spira Campbell would receive significantly greater benefits if the [San Diego Opera] were to continue in operation and will receive significantly less if the organization closes it's (sic) operations on May 1, 2014." OF COURSE, given the assumptions and the lack of clarification. Weaver never says how long the opera would last if it doesn't close down May 1. If it were to go on for five years or so, or even fewer, the Campbells would receive more money in a going concern than a dead one, particularly if they continued getting the excessive compensation they are now getting. Weaver's letter is as useless as Vilaplana's. Best, Don Bauder
— April 15, 2014 9:08 p.m.

Might Chargers eye property occupied by opera studio?

Psycholizard: When I posted this, I stated it was a long shot. But Fabiani is clearly working for the Campbells and the coterie around them; the board didn't even know he would be hired, pro bono or not. If -- and I emphasize "if" -- the City and Chargers are working on a deal in which the Spanos empire would develop property (not at Qualcomm or the arena), this is a possibility. The City would like to see this area gentrified -- at least with senior and affordable housing and some commercial. The opera studio may be worth $5 million as real estate, but the sets therein could draw some big offers, too. My recommendation is that the San Diego Opera drop back to two operas for next year -- only war horses for which it has sets and costumes already. It should try lighter fare -- Lehar, Offenbach, Gilbert & Sullivan, musicals, etc. in subsequent years if 2015 is a success. Incidentally, San Diego Opera has sent out a questionnaire to people with questions such as how much could you give and how many operas would you attend. It is on San Diego Opera stationery. This raises a question: are the Campbells and the board coterie around them having second thoughts? Or was this sent out by the White Knights, the board's special committee, or the group of board members who want to save the opera? Since whoever sent it was permitted to use San Diego Opera stationery, my guess is that it was sent out by the special board committee. I have requested an answer and will post it as soon as I get it. As to Petco, you are right: Moores made a bundle (up to a $billion) because he was permitted to buy land at early 1990s prices and sell it much dearer to developers. But the developments there have not been particularly successful in this market. That might not deter the Spanos family. Best, Don Bauder
— April 15, 2014 3:32 p.m.