Philadelphia Orchestra chairman Richard Worley's Wednesday op-ed piece ("Can bankruptcy fix orchestra? Yes, it's the best chance") seems in need of some translation.
"We have a plan to revive the orchestra," Worley writes, "but we need relief from contractual entanglements that threaten our existence." I take this to mean: "We used attractive compensation to lure world-class musicians to Philadelphia. We signed contracts. Now we want to break those contracts. Our word means nothing."
According to Worley, "The orchestra and the Academy of Music together have $140 million in restricted endowments. We are limited by law and donor restrictions to spending only the income from endowments, not the endowments themselves." Translation: "Well, actually, we do keep our word to some people."
Bankrupt? Not with $140 million in the bank. After all, if a court can relieve the orchestra of its "contractual entanglements" with its musicians, it can just as easily relieve restricted endowment funds of their restrictions.