A new home for music festival CEO? Outrageous | AspenTimes.com

A new home for music festival CEO? Outrageous

Dear Editor:

I just recently received an e-mail relating to the executive committee meeting of the Aspen Music Festival and School.

The minutes reflect that the current board (which has reduced the length of the summer festival; reduced the number of students at the festival; and canceled the winter music program this year due to financial concerns and the economy) is planning to take donor funds to acquire a new home for CEO Alan Fletcher.

The board is planning on selling a home donated to the music school by Fred Lane and use those proceeds along with proceeds from the sale of the home Mr. Fletcher currently occupies to acquire a new home (presumably larger and more expensive) for Mr. Fletcher.

I believe that Mr. Fletcher’s current three-bedroom home, which he selected, was acquired for him when he was hired as the CEO of the festival. Now he desires a new home at an additional expense to the festival, including possible rental costs while a new home is renovated for his benefit.

We have seen similar corporate greed by executives of financial institutions in the previous financial crisis and to me this use of charitable funds for a new residence smacks of the same misuse of an organization’s money, which should be used for the festival and students.

Why he is provided free housing is beyond my understanding. Should our city and county officials receive the same benefits? Do other organizations provide free housing for their executives? I know that in business I was never offered such benefits. Mr. Fletcher is currently in the house he chose and for which he has not paid for.

Is this what our donations are being used for? If the board has excess funds, why didn’t they use some of the funds to maintain the main rehearsal hall, which is now unsafe for occupancy? Why wasn’t the money used to maintain the winter series, instead of local supporters having to fund a winter music program?

Is a new home for Mr. Fletcher more important than the music school facilities; it’s programs; and it’s students? Are we suppose to presume that Mr. Lane intended his generous donation to be used for a “better” home for Mr. Fletcher?

If Mr. Fletcher needs a bigger home for “festival entertaining” I am sure there are board members with homes suitable for entertaining which as board members they could allow Mr. Fletcher to use without spending the endowment money.

Taking two homes with an “appraised value of over $5 million” to sell now in this current real estate market to use for a new home for Mr. Fletcher should be questioned by the community as well as all donors and supporters of the festival. And the board also wants to change the bylaws to allow loans to the CEO. Secured or unsecured?

As for me, I find this proposal outrageous. The community should respond.

Barry Goldstein

Aspen


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