Former VYO Conductor Sues Orchestra
03/17/11 5:50PM By Lynne McCrea
(Host) A former conductor of the Vermont Youth Orchestra who was fired after seven months on the job has sued the orchestra.
Ronald Braunstein alleges that the VYO discriminated against him and committed libel and slander.
Braunstein asks in his lawsuit to be reinstated as conductor. He also wants payment for restitution and to compensate for emotional distress.
The lawsuit names the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association and founder Carolyn Long as defendants.
Braunstein says he suffers from bipolar disorder and that he needed some accommodation to function in the job but didn't get it.
His suit says he was smeared by untrue allegations of sexual harassment.
James Dumont is the attorney for Ronald Braunstein.
He says that parents he's spoken to have refuted the allegations.
(Dumont) "I've been in touch with many many parents of kids who've been in the VYO, and what I've heard from the parents is that Mr. Braunstein was a terrific conductor, a terrific inspiration for the students, and the parents, many of them are just heartsick over losing Mr. Braunstein."
(Host) VYO attorney Eileen Blackwood says Braunstein was terminated over "performance issues", which the orchestra hasn't yet detailed.
(Blackwood) "What we've said is that the board made its decision, the organization made its decision, based on a range of concerns about his performance and his conduct. The details of what those concerns were will be outlined in our answer. At that point will become public."
(Host) Blackwood says the orchestra's formal response to the lawsuit will be filed in court at the end of the month.
She says the organization did not know about Braunstein's disability until he was given his dismissal.