The Ravinia Music Festival and the CSOA have cut all ties with conductor James Levine. Following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and allegations of repeated episodes of molestation involving young boys with whom Levine worked, both organizations have severed their association with the famed conductor.
However, as The Ink reported, CSO management was informed months ago of the sexual harassment of female staff in their telefundraising office and refused to discuss the issue. This was in spite of a CSO manager being told repeatedly that there were multiple witnesses willing to come forward and confirm the truth of the accusations.
The telefundraising manager in question was also accused of knowingly hiring a convicted felon who served time for drug possession and weapons charges, as well as making violent verbal threats, and consistently engaging in episodes of screaming and making demeaning comments to the staff. In addition, as The Ink has reported, this manager, was the replacement for convicted serial fraudster Jacqueline Berkaw.
Berkaw served 2+ years at the federal prison at Lompoc for credit card fraud, bank fraud, real estate fraud and mail fraud.
When informed by an attorney about Berkaw’s criminal history, two members of the CSO board refused to discuss the issue. This was in direct violation of their legal responsibilities as members of the board. Additionally the CSO manager who was told about the accusations of sexual harassment was also told about Berkaw’s criminal background and refused to discuss it.
Berkaw was herself involved directly in her subordinates sexual harassment of a member of the female staff. She was aware of her subordinate’s actions and was part of an attempt to engage the young woman in question in inappropriate activities. Berkaw, as we’ve reported previously, was also prone to episodes of incoherence, demeaning verbal assaults, epic rages, and was with her assistant manager, reported by multiple witnesses to have appeared intoxicated while in the office.
The CSO has for months refused to disclose details of an internal review regarding Berkaw. It has refused to publicly disclose the extent to which she compromised the safety of patron’s credit cards, and the extent to which she may have stolen credit cards from CSO patrons.
DCM Telefundraising, removed Berkaw from her position at Symphony Center and transferred her to a similar post at the Houston Ballet. When informed of Berkaw’s criminal history the Houston Attorney General’s Office said it did not have the resources to investigate the issue. When told about the issue the Houston Chronicle stated that it did not approve of The Ink’s tone and that it did not see that Berkaw’s criminal history and employment by DCM on behalf of the ballet was relevant to the ballet’s patrons. Berkaw’s replacement, and former assistant manager, continues as the manager at symphony center where he is reported to still be engaging in abusive behavior.
The question now becomes, what did the CSO and others know, and when did they know it and why has no action been taken to address these systemic, toxic, issues.
You can read the Chicago Tribune’s partial coverage here:
Sounds like working for DCM at Chicago Symphony Center:
” I will say this: within months of the show’s launch in April 2008, my co-host John Hockenberry was yelling and screaming at me in the studio, at times when senior staff was present.”
See the article here:
Needless to say, we agree: