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[UPDATED] RPO challengers lose legal battle


A statement from RPO board chair Elizabeth Rice and President and CEO Charles Owens appears at the end of this story.


State Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Fisher has upheld the board election results from the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra's annual meeting, which took place in January. Fisher's ruling rejects an attempt by attorney Eileen Buholtz to invalidate the meeting and the elections.

Fisher's ruling came down this afternoon.

Buholtz ran for a board seat as a write-in candidate and argued in her lawsuit that RPO officials didn't properly notify all of the organization members who would have been eligible to vote. She also alleged that RPO officials didn't recognize write-in ballots submitted at the annual meeting.

In his ruling, Fisher said Buholtz failed to show there was improper notice for the meeting "or that any member was prevented from voting by lack of notice."

Regarding the write-in ballots, Fisher agreed that RPO by-laws do not permit write-in candidates. And he wrote that even if the ballots had not been ruled invalid, no write-in candidate received enough votes to win.

"Counting those votes would not have changed the outcome of the election," he wrote.

Buholtz sent over the following statement in response to the judge's ruling:

"Justice Fisher’s decision spares my colleagues and me the work and responsibility that being a board member entails for rectifying RPO, Inc.’s current state of affairs. Those who have created the RPO’s current situation continue to bear the full responsibility for fixing it. I have no plan to appeal Justice Fisher’s decision."

RPO statement:

The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra is pleased and gratified that New York State Supreme Court Justice Kenneth R. Fisher has once again ruled that the RPO acted appropriately and legally in the preparation for and conduct of its 2013 annual meeting and board-of-directors elections. This is the third time that the judge has so ruled.

“We are extremely pleased that reason, logic and fact have prevailed,” said RPO Board Chair Elizabeth Rice.

“During these challenging times for the RPO musicians, staff and board, we have been thrilled by the community support we’ve received,” said Charles Owens, the RPO’s president and CEO.

“We welcome the times that lie ahead, times without the distractions of legal actions that consume both financial and personnel resources,” Rice said. “The RPO family can now concentrate on its primary role of providing excellent musical experiences for the Rochester community.”

RPO decision April 2013