The following letter, on behalf of the Audobon Quartet, found its way
to my in box, and may be of interest to this List.
Dear friends and supporters,
The Audubon Quartet's six year legal fight finally came to an
end on February 3, 2006, with a settlement, agreed to by all the
parties, that brings all court actions to an end. However, that
settlement was very painful: Akemi Takayama had to make a $40,000
payment in order to remove the threat of continued litigations,
including one that aimed at confiscating her (actually, her
mother's) violin and Doris Lederer and Tom Shaw have been forced
to start over financially in the fourth decade of their careers.
To meet the provisions of the settlement, Doris and Tom had to
give up their home, a substantial portion of their retirement
accounts, and an additional sum equal to the appraised value of
their bows and instruments, a net loss of approximately $460,000.
To raise this much money, Doris and Tom had to sell their
instruments (about which, see more details below). In addition,
all three still owe large sums to their lawyers.
The court of world opinion is with these three members of the
Audubon Quartet. Many hundreds of letters and emails from all
over the world have offered sympathy for their cause in the legal
battle and in support of the assets they hold most dear - their
precious instruments and the reputation of the Quartet. Their
instruments were bought by Dan Braden, a fair minded businessman
who has signed a contract allowing them to have the use of the
bows and instruments for ten years no matter who owns the
instruments and offering them a short-term opportunity to buy
them back (singly or all together) at a reasonable price. The
instruments are now safely beyond any court action, but Tom and
Doris are destitute and have no hope of regaining ownership of
their instruments without outside help.
Many people have expressed a desire to help when it appeared
likely that the court would order the instruments turned over
to a trustee for sale. The time has come: your help is needed
now. The Audubon Quartet Rescue Fund is a trust fund required
to use all the donations it receives to buy back the instruments
and return them to Tom and Doris and to pay for necessary expenses
incurred in the processes. Counting all known and anticipated
expenses, the total amount needed is between $215,000 and $225,000.
This is a staggering amount to raise, especially since the U.S.
Tax Code will not allow contributors to count their gifts as a
charitable gift for the purposes of income, estate, or gift
taxes. Nonetheless, with your help, we hope to return the
instruments to their rightful owners, thereby ending this horrific
saga on as good a note as possible. Since the trust fund can
use the money contributed only to buy back the instruments and
to pay reasonable expenses, you are assured that your donation
will help to put the Audubon Quartet back on its feet and to
return Doris's and Tom's precious bows and instruments to them.
We appeal to you to give, and give as generously as you can, to
the Audubon Quartet Rescue Fund.
Please send your checks to The Audubon Quartet Rescue Fund, c/o
Richard Burian, 1002 Eheart St., Blacksburg, VA 24060. If you
prefer to use PayPal, you may do so by going to www.enditnow.org
(which contains additional information for those who are
interested); using the 'donate' button, asking to deposit your
funds to the Audubon Quartet Rescue Fund trust account via the
PayPal donation system that you will find at www.enditnow.org.
Thank you for your help!
Richard Burian and Wallace Easter
P.S. Please share this appeal with others whom you believe might
wish to contribute to this cause. For your convenience, we have
attached a printer-friendly version of this appeal letter in
case it would be useful for you to have it in a hard copy format.
P.P.S. If you have already contributed to this fund, we thank
you sincerely for your support!!