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New York City Opera Filing Lists Assets of $6.7 Million

New York City Opera
New York City Opera musicians playing outside Lincoln Center. Photographer: Philip Boroff/Bloomberg

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 BlackRock Inc. accounts, $476,430 in its main operating account at Bank of America 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’s filing valued its costumes, props, furniture, crates, shop equipment, projector and lighting at $10,000. A harp located at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center Plaza was listed as worth $0. The harp’s actual value is unknown and it shouldn’t have been put down as worthless, said Peter Schottenfels, a spokesman for the opera.

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 the Oct. 10 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.

Potential Buyer

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

The company said it got $504,096 in insurance reimbursements for most losses suffered in Hurricane Sandy, which destroyed all the materials stored in two basement storage rooms of its Lower Manhattan offices.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave it a grant to restore an archive that was in the basement, according to the filing.

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

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