PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The judge hearing the bankruptcy case of the Philadelphia Orchestra heard one of the lawyers talk about a “conspiracy theory” in which management allegedly conspired with donors to change the structure of endowments.

The American Federation of Musicians – the musicians’ pension fund – seeks e-mails since 2009 that support the AFM theory that the Orchestra Association “restricted seemingly unrestricted donations.”

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Association lawyer Larry McMichael says it would cost $250,000 just to produce that documentation.

“It’s like trying to make us prove there are no martians in attic of the Academy of Music.”

The Association claims all of its $120-million in various endowment accounts, dating from the early 1900’s were “donor-restricted.”

Lawyer Hank Goldsmith, representing the AFM, believes the Orchestra Association may have improperly diverted unrestricted donations to restricted accounts. The pension fund claims the Association should tap endowments for a $35-million liability payment to withdraw from the union’s pension fund.

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But, McMichael turned the tables.

“The pension fund’s asserted claim against the orchestra arises from its own mismanagement.”

He wants similar documentation on how the pension plan was managed.

Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060

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