Royal Opera House Gives Accused Felon 60 Days to Pony Up $$

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Ralph
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Royal Opera House Gives Accused Felon 60 Days to Pony Up $$

Post by Ralph » Wed Jul 27, 2005 8:30 am

Royal Opera says Vilar in breach of pledge
7/27/2005, 9:25 a.m. ET
By JILL LAWLESS
The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Britain's Royal Opera House has declared troubled philanthropist Alberto Vilar in breach of a multimillion-dollar pledge that saw the company put his name on its flagship building. It gave him 60 days to resume payments.

It is the latest sour note in the relationship between Britain's leading opera house and the Cuban-born financier, who was arrested in New York in May on charges of business fraud.

In a statement, the Royal Opera House said Vilar was in "material breach" of his 1999 pledge of $17 million to the company's development fund. In return for the donation, the company renamed its Floral Hall — an iron and glass-roofed atrium overlooking London's Covent Garden market — the Vilar Floral Hall.

Opera spokesman Christopher Millard said Wednesday that no decision had been made on removing Vilar's name from the building. "Obviously, we're taking legal advice," he said.

Millard said Vilar had given the company $5 million of the promised redevelopment money and had not made a payment since March 2002.

"We have renegotiated the schedule of payments on several occasions," said the July 13 statement issued by the chair of the opera's trustees, Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas. "However, he has consistently failed to reach these new deadlines and in doing so is in breach of all agreements."

The statement said that if Vilar did not resume payments within 60 days, "the ROH will then be entitled to notify Mr. Vilar that the agreement is terminated."

Last month the company dropped Vilar's name from its young artists' program, saying he had fallen behind on promised payments.

Vilar, who Forbes magazine once said was worth $950 million, tried to build a legacy of opera sponsorship with the fortune he earned and lost in the rise and fall of the 1990s dot-com era.

The financier spent an estimated $225 million adorning opera houses throughout the world with his name. Besides the $17 million he donated to the Royal Opera House, Vilar gave $20 million to the Metropolitan Opera in New York and $14 million to St. Petersburg's Kirov Opera.

In May he was arrested and charged with engaging in fraudulent, deceptive and manipulative business practices. Prosecutors said Vilar used an investor's money "as a personal piggy bank" to pay personal expenses and make charitable donations.

Prosecutors say Vilar and colleague Gary Alan Tanaka cheated an investor in their firm out of $5 million, which they spent on personal expenses and contributions to entities including the American Academy in Berlin and Vilar's alma mater, Washington & Jefferson College.

The charges carry a potential penalty of more than 10 years in prison. Vilar is free on $10 million bail as he awaits trial.
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Post by Lance » Thu Jul 28, 2005 10:34 am

Is Vilar legally bound - and can he be incarcerated for faltering on these "gifts?" Is there no consideration for world economy, i.e., when the bottom falls out (especially in the dot-com era) of his financial situation. And naming a hall for him, or whatever, even after giving $5 million or more, can they remove his name despite past contributions/offerings? What about giving him some consideration for what he has done?

Isn't this almost the same as giving a tithe to a church or synagogue, on paper, saying this is what you will give - and then not following through. Do these institutions also have the same recourse?
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Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jul 28, 2005 10:42 am

Lance wrote:Is Vilar legally bound - and can he be incarcerated for faltering on these "gifts?" Is there no consideration for world economy, i.e., when the bottom falls out (especially in the dot-com era) of his financial situation. And naming a hall for him, or whatever, even after giving $5 million or more, can they remove his name despite past contributions/offerings? What about giving him some consideration for what he has done?

Isn't this almost the same as giving a tithe to a church or synagogue, on paper, saying this is what you will give - and then not following through. Do these institutions also have the same recourse?
If the pledge was in return for the naming of the building after him, I'm thinkin' without seeing the docs in question that we have a contract here on which he could very well be held in breach, regardless of the world economic situation. If there was consideration, the law don't care about the value of the consideration, only that there be consideration to make a promise enforceable at contract.
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Post by BWV 1080 » Thu Jul 28, 2005 10:48 am

Lance wrote:Is Vilar legally bound - and can he be incarcerated for faltering on these "gifts?" Is there no consideration for world economy, i.e., when the bottom falls out (especially in the dot-com era) of his financial situation. And naming a hall for him, or whatever, even after giving $5 million or more, can they remove his name despite past contributions/offerings? What about giving him some consideration for what he has done?

Isn't this almost the same as giving a tithe to a church or synagogue, on paper, saying this is what you will give - and then not following through. Do these institutions also have the same recourse?
No, charitable pledges on which the receiving organization relies upon in planning its business, are binding contracts

see
http://www.afpnet.org/tier3_cd.cfm?fold ... em_id=1229

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Post by Ralph » Thu Jul 28, 2005 3:00 pm

There's no criminal culpability unless it can be proven that he knowingly made false pledges to get a benefit-that would simply be fraud.

Civilly he can be liable for breach of contract but what's the remedy? A money judgment he can't satisfy? Although such a judgment can be good for many years in U.S. jurisdictions. Don't know about the U.K.
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