Bloomberg News

New York City Opera Lists Assets of $6.7 Million in Court Papers

October 23, 2013

New York City Opera, which filed for bankruptcy protection this month after years of management missteps, listed assets of $6.67 million and debt of $3.59 million in a court filing.

The holdings include $4.29 million in the defunct opera’s Black Rock Investments accounts, $476,430 in its main operating account at Bank of America (BAC:US) Corp. and a separate “pre-paid ticket” account with about $407,500, according to a formal listing of financial affairs filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan.

The nonprofit organization valued its costumes, props, furniture, crates, shop equipment, projector and lighting at $10,000, plus a harp located at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center Plaza worth $0. Donor pledges of more than $441,000 were also listed with the caveat that they are mostly uncollectable as a result of the bankruptcy.

The opera company, created 70 years ago as the “people’s opera” because of its affordable tickets, filed a Chapter 11 petition on Oct. 3 after it failed to meet an emergency online fundraising goal of $7 million.

Debts listed in yesterday’s court filing include $1.64 million owed to New York City Ballet Inc. and a $44,000 claim by the New York-based public relations company Risa Heller Communications, which is still doing work for the opera.

Anna Nicole

New York City Opera, which this year produced “Anna Nicole,” about the late tabloid celebrity, asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane at a hearing on Oct. 10 to let it refund about $323,000 in pre-paid opera tickets. That request was challenged by a lawyer for union musicians who seeks to ensure remaining assets are used to cover financial obligations for orchestra and choir members, including pensions.

The judge put off ruling on the request and scheduled another hearing for Oct. 29.

The opera’s lawyer, Kenneth Rosen, told a judge at that hearing that at least one other cultural institution may be interested in buying some of its operations. The entity, which wasn’t named, was referred to as a “potential partner” or a “potential merger candidate” at the hearing.

The opera also has a potential nonprofit buyer for its costume thrift shop, Rosen said at the hearing.

The case is New York City Opera Inc., 13-13240, U.S Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in New York at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Dunn at adunn8@bloomberg.net


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