New Jersey Symphony CEO Quits Amid Questions into Past

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The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra president and CEO Richard Dare resigned Friday, after questions arose about a past criminal case and over his business experience in a New York Times investigation. He had just started in the job on January 2.

Dare had made a splash in the orchestra field as a former entrepreneur with bold ideas about how to shake up classical music. From May 2011 to late 2012, he was the CEO of the Brooklyn Philharmonic.

His resignation stemmed from inquires into a 1996 criminal case in California, in which he was charged with an attempted lewd act upon a 15-year-old girl, whom he later married. At the time, he pleaded no contest, was placed on three years' probation and was registered as a sex offender in California. In a statement Friday, Dare said that the “media attention to my family’s personal life will harm the organization and musicians I cherish, as well as needlessly embarrass my wife."

The Times report also questioned a number of Dare's stated business accomplishments. The paper was unable to verify several claims in his published biography, including that he was a major player in Asian investments through a company called Pacific Rim Partners Inc., and that he was a director of New Image Orthodontic Group. In fact, a former colleague described him as a "life coach" to one of its employees.

Dare had also reportedly misrepresented his involvement in government affairs. He claimed to have been an expert witness to testify before Congress on issues of tax policy and its impact on nonprofit organizations. The Times uncovered no evidence of this in government transcripts.

“We are deeply disappointed, and we are thankful we are able to move forward quickly," said NJSO board co-chairs Stephen Sichak and Ruth Lipper in a statement Saturday. The orchestra's longtime vice president of operations and general manager Susan Stucker will step in as its interim president & CEO until a successor to Dare is found.