| NEW YORK, July 7
NEW YORK, July 7 A creditor who hopes to rescue
the bankrupt New York City Opera filed an objection on Monday to
delays in consideration of his bid and called for an independent
trustee to be put in charge.
Businessman Gene Kaufman made an undisclosed offer six
months ago to buy "the people's opera" and salvage the venerable
cultural institution. He now says the opera's board is "stuck in
neutral" nine months after filing for bankruptcy and canceling
the season, and should relinquish control of the process.
The opera, which helped launch the careers of opera
superstars Beverly Sills and Plácido Domingo during its 70-year
history, filed for bankruptcy after its $7 million fund-raising
appeal fell short.
The opera's board, which has said in court papers it has
received five proposals, has requested a third three-month
extension of the so-called exclusivity period given for
determining the company's future. A hearing has been scheduled
for July 16.
But Kaufman argues the longer the opera is shuttered, the
harder it will be for it to restart its operations.
"Any purchaser... has to love opera and be prepared to
subsidize a money-losing proposition in order to achieve the
greater cultural good of bringing additional opera events to the
New York City community," the filing said.
Kaufman's lawyer, Arthur Steinberg, said his client believes
he "made a good offer and should have been considered more
closely." Steinberg declined to discuss Kaufman's bid or discuss
But Nicole Stefanelli, who is representing the opera, said
it is not unusual for debtors to request multiple extensions of
time and said the board is dealing with a number of complicated
"In our view, everything we have done has been to preserve
the good will" of New Yorkers who care about the opera, she
Former Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, who was involved in the
New York City opera's 1943 launch as a place where the art form
could be enjoyed at a reasonable price, dubbed it "the people's
The Metropolitan Opera, housed at the Lincoln Center for the
Performing Arts and among the largest and most storied classical
music venues in North America, remains open.
(Additional reporting by Nick Brown; Editing by Eric Walsh)