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Legislative auditor asked to examine Minnesota Orchestra's expenditures

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Minnesota Orchestra rehearsal
The locked-out musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra rehearse Beethoven under the baton of Edo de Waart on the state of the Ted Mann Concert Hall at the University of Minnesota. Some state legislators have asked the legislative auditor to look into how the Minnesota Orchestra has been spending money from the state.
MPR photo/Euan Kerr

Some state legislators want the legislative auditor to look into how the Minnesota Orchestra has been spending money from the state.

Amid the ongoing lockout of orchestra musicians, 100 lawmakers released a letter today calling for a legislative audit of the orchestra's finances.

Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles said he will take the request under advisement and likely decide within two weeks whether to go forward with an investigation.

DFL Rep. Jim Davnie of Minneapolis said the state has invested $16 million over the last two years in the orchestra, and lawmakers and the public have a right to know how the money has been used.

"The state of Minnesota invested in a world-class orchestra, a Grammy-nominated, internationally recognized asset that puts Minnesota on the map," Davnie said. "The ongoing lock-out threatens the value of that investment."

Musicians and management have been trying to agree on how to conduct an independent financial analysis since the beginning of the year. The legislative auditor said he will take the request under advisement and decide how to proceed probably within the next two weeks.

"The interest of the state is in getting this orchestra back up and functioning," Davnie said. "We have a tool; we have an opportunity here with the legislative auditor's office and their skilled staff to be able to provide some assistance to both sides in breaking through the log jam, as it's been referred to."