A group of DFL state legislators want to know if Minnesota Orchestra officials misled lawmakers about the organization's financial health as it sought taxpayer money for a renovation.
“As stewards of the public trust and money, this is of great concern to us and warrants a public hearing and explanation to the legislature and the taxpayers of Minnesota,” a group of 14 legislators wrote to orchestra managers.
The letter was signed by DFL state Rep. Alice Hausman, the incoming chairwoman of the Capital Investment Committee. The letter did not include incoming DFL leaders such as House Speaker Paul Thissen, of Minnepolis, or House Majority Leader Erin Murphy, of St. Paul.
Contract talks between Minnesota Orchestra executives and musicians broke down in late September, prompting a musicians’ lockout and cancelling concerts at least through early January.
In seeking public money, orchestra officials touted years of stable budgets. Now in contract talks, orchestra managers say they are straining under anticipated shortfalls.
The legislators demanded that the orchestra turn over financial documents to musicians and get back to the bargaining table.
They say the state is not in the business of funding organizations that are not operating.
“Funding lockouts of anyone is not in the interests of the people or the state of Minnesota,” legislators wrote.
Orchestra officials could not immediately be reached for comment. Check back for updates.