Carnegie Hall Chairman Perelman Steps Down as He Calls for Probe

  • Billionaire had questioned executive director's activities
  • Probe would examine transactions, `lack of transparency'

Billionaire Ronald O. Perelman announced he will step down next month as chairman of Carnegie Hall’s Board of Trustees, as the executive committee agreed to start an investigation into the venue’s financial operations.

Perelman, 72, announced his decision Thursday at a meeting of the board’s executive committee. He opened the meeting by saying that he was frustrated in the role he’s held since February and wouldn’t stand for re-election in October.

The committee said that it hired Howard E. Heiss of O’Melveny & Myers LLP to lead the investigation into allegations Perelman made in a Sept. 16 letter that the concert hall wasn’t transparent about its finances. Perelman questioned the handling of related-party transactions by Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s executive and artistic director.

Perelman said in his letter that he brought his concerns to the executive committee during an Aug. 19 meeting, and the panel agreed then to hire an independent lawyer. The billionaire, who replaced Sanford I. Weill as chairman, said he had detected a “troubling lack of transparency and openness” in the way Gillinson was interacting with him and the board.

E-mails and phone calls requesting comment from Gillinson weren’t returned. A representative of Carnegie Hall said no one was available to comment. Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for Perelman, declined to comment. A call to Heiss wasn’t immediately returned.

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