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Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Operas Sing Blues Over Fund Losses

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Alberto Vilar, founder of the Amerindo Fund, is receiving widespread publicity thanks to his charitable donations. But it may not be the kind he appreciates.

Last week, word that he had missed making $700,000 in payments on a pledge made to the New York Philharmonic was carried in the New York Times. Since then, news of the missed payments has spread to other publications, including Slate.com on the Internet.

The Times also reported that Vilar missed payments on a $1 million pledge to the Vilar/Domingo Young Artist Program at the Washington Opera. As a result of the missed payment, the opera company has pulled Vilar's name off the program.

The speculation is that Vilar is having trouble making the payments because of declines in his asset management business. Amerindo reportedly has just $1 billion in assets under management, down from more than $9 billion at the peak of the Nasdaq bubble.

Vilar told the paper that he remains committed to all of his pledges. He added that he has been distracted by spine and gall bladder surgeries.

Some of the organizations to which he made the pledges, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, are giving him more time to come through.

Vilar reportedly made pledges totaling more than $100 million to the Metropolitan Opera, London's Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, the Kirov Opera, the Vilar Center for the Arts and the Kennedy Center.
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