Monday, March 27, 2006

Helping out

From friends of the Audubon Quartet:

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 (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 .

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.

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