A letter to the Editor of the New York Times, demanding a correction of its statement that Vilar’s promised gifts ‘never materialized’. The Times’s assertion is both untrue and defamatory. Within the letter, we learn that Vilar reached out to City Opera in its dying weeks.
Your statement about the gifts to the Met is false. This season alone the Met is showing one of more than a half dozen operas, Rossini’s ‘La Cenerentola’ that Mr. Vilar had paid for at a cost of $2 million each.
While Mr. Vilar did meet with City Opera President George Steel recently, he couldn’t have helped even if he had wanted to because the government has frozen his personal and corporate funds as well as his pension account for the past 8 1/2 years. Sadly, if anyone could have saved City Opera, it well would have been Mr Vilar.
The article also failed to mention that Mr. Vilar’s current defense team has unearthed considerable exculpatory evidence that has been in the public record for at least two years and could result in a new trial. Specifically, the government has yet to find one cent missing from clients’ accounts. In short there were no victims. The government took the simply incredulous liberty of reclassifying as losses $22 million in capital gains for two offshore clients.
The government’s practice of freezing criminal case defendants’ assets, without ever having to prove the existence of ill-gotten gains, fortunately is up for review by the Supreme Court this year. (See for example WSJ OP-ED Oct 7, 2013 by Harvey Silverglate).
As the old saying goes: It ain’t over till the fat lady sings.
Walter Pfaeffle, New York
Former paralegal on Mr. Vilar’s defense team