BACK TO: Fritz Reuter and Sons HOMEPAGE

Axelrod Articles
Posted around the the web

Axelrod's Court Indictment


NJSO giving up prized strings
Debt-ridden orchestra to sell elite instruments it acquired in $17 million gamble.
a startling move, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, faced with crushing debt and the specter of bankruptcy, is looking to sell the "Golden Age" collection of rare stringed instruments it bought from philanthropist Herbert Axelrod in an unprecedented $17 million deal four years ago. (Article)
Star Ledger 3/09/2007
New Jersey Symphony: Orchestral maneuvers in the dark.
Did something fishy go on when the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra splashed out on some 'great' antique instruments?
Alix Kirsta asks the $17m question.  (Aritcle)
The Guardian 6/11/05
Jurors decide Axelrod must pay 20.2M
Star Ledger  9/1/05
On the fiddle
by Norman Lebrecht
Lebrecht Weekly 01/05/05

N.J. report has sour notes for PSO chief
Panel critical of his role in instrument purchase

By Mackenzie Carpenter

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 12/24/04
False Notes
by Mark Mueller
Star Ledger  8/1/04
False Notes: Here's a deal for you.
by Mark Mueller
Star Ledger 8/2/04
False Notes: Divine Instrument
by Mark Mueller
Star Ledger  8/2/04

An Orchestra Takes Stock After a Gift Gone Wrong
By Daniel J. Wakin,

The New York Times 12/23/04
Internal Audit Says New Jersey Symphony Misled Public on Deal for Rare String Instruments Associated Press - 12/20/04

Orchestra trustees say errors made in rare strings purchase

Asbury Park Press 12/18/04
Working-Class Orchestra, World-Class Fiddles
By Daniel J. Wakin, The New York Times
New York Times 12/11/04
Playing the New Jersey Symphony like a Fiddle
By Drew McManus
How Herbert Axelrod’s high brow con will cause long lasting damage to American orchestras.
Partial Observer  05/10/04
You read it here first
By Drew McManus
The Axelrod violins may not be such a good idea for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra after all.
Partial Observer 08/08/04
Violin Turf Wars by Drew McManus
By Drew McManus
The questions about the Axelrod purchase put violin dealers and appraisers in front of the public eye. In interviews, certain dealers have discredited other appraisers for the part in the NJSO purchase.
Arts Journal 08/27/04
Is The New Jersey Symphony Missing The Point?
By Drew McManus
The New Jersey Symphony is reviewing the purchase details of the Axelrod collection. So far, they are not interested in whether the instruments are actually original and authentic.
Arts Journal 08/23/04

Dealing in the Instruments of Their Own Demise
THE market in high-end string instruments — with its global reach, 500-year history and product of inimitable romance — is rarely at a loss for action and color. Yet even by its own gaudy standards, it is hard to beat the dramas still unfolding in federal court in Chicago and currently pending at the Alt-Moabit prison in Berlin.

August 29, 2004
NJSO to review purchase of Axelrod violins
In-house probe follows report casting doubt on instruments' authenticity
Star-Ledger 08/15/04
Less Than a Master Stroke Star-Ledger 08/04/04
New Jersey Symphony's purchase of the Axelrod collection...
Five violin dealers and experts, including two of the world's top authorities on stringed instruments, say the Montagnana is not what it is purported to be. The instrument is one of five in the NJSO collection that some or all of the experts say are of questionable authenticity.
Star Ledger, 08/01/04
Instruments not traveling with the orchestra.   Axelrod-instruments Globe and Mail 07/10/04

U.S. Senate checking NJSO violin deal 
The 77-year-old Axelrod, arrested in Germany last week after two months on the run from federal tax fraud charges unrelated to the NJSO deal, sold 30 stringed instruments to the orchestra for $17 million. But he claimed the prized violins, violas and cellos were worth $50 million, making him eligible for a sizable tax deduction.

Star Ledger, 06/24/04

Suits on the lam  
... Herbert Axelrod, a multimillionaire publisher of pet care books who fled the country in April soon after indictment in a tax fraud scheme involving a rare collection of violins. He went to Cuba, then Switzerland, and was arrested last week as he stepped off a plane in Berlin.

CNN, 06/23/04

Fraud in name of charity spurs lawmakers to revisit the law 
..."It's a symptom of a bigger problem, just like the $600 toilet seat was for the Defense Department," said Grassley about what Axelrod claimed was a $50 million donation to the Smithsonian. The value of the quartet has been questioned.

Star Ledger, 06/23/04

Could take months for millionaire's extradition 
The warrant stems from a U.S. indictment that accused Axelrod of using Swiss bank accounts to hide income from the Internal Revenue Service. The illegal actions relating to a former vice president of his pet products company, the indictment said.

AP, 06/19/04

Jailed Axelrod awaits Berlin hearing 
New Jersey philanthropist-turned-fugitive Herbert Axelrod remained in a jail cell in Germany yesterday, facing extradition to the United States and the possibility of a lengthy prison term if he is convicted of the federal tax fraud charges he fled two months ago.

Star Ledger, 06/18/04

Smithsonian Benefactor Arrested In Germany  
Axelrod, 76, is charged with defrauding the Internal Revenue Service in a business matter, but that inquiry opened up questions about whether he had deliberately exaggerated the value of instruments he gave the Smithsonian and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra to get a substantial tax break.

Washington Post, 06/18/04

Germans detain Axelrod, fugitive in tax-fraud case 

Star Ledger, 06/17/04

Fraud Charges Greet Charitable Violin Collector at Airport 
The positive press reached its height last year, when Axelrod agreed to sell 30 rare musical instruments to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for the purportedly cut-rate price of $18 million. The price was later reduced to $17 million when Axelrod agreed to forgive a $1 million note on the deal. [...] Axelrod, who began amassing violins in the 1970s, claimed the NJSO instruments were worth nearly $50 million, a figure few people questioned at the time.

New York Times, 06/17/04
Mozart Helps NJSO Forget It's Troubles Star-Ledger 05/15/04

FBI probes symphony purchase of violins 

Star Ledger, 05/13/04
In Absentia, Axelrod is Told to List Assets Star-Ledger 05/07/04

Exiled US philanthropist 'probed' 
The 76-year-old multimillionaire, who made his fortune from a pet care publishing empire, faces up to five years in prison if found guilty of defrauding the US tax authorities by hiding $700,000 in a Swiss bank account - a charge he denies.

BBC News, UK, 05/03/04

Senator Wants Smithsonian Records on $50 Million Gift 
Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said he wanted to see any papers related to the gift in 1998 of four Stradivarius musical instruments. At the time of the donation, they were said to be worth $50 million, though that figure has been questioned. The committee is investigating in-kind gifts to charities and the tax implications. "It is troubling that the Smithsonian may be turning a blind eye to tax mischief.

Washington Post, 05/03/04

Tax Probe Focuses on Donor of Rare Violins  
Axelrod, who has been living in Cuba since fleeing unrelated federal tax charges in the United States, also sold 30 rare stringed instruments to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra last year at a large claimed discount. That selling price was listed at $18 million -- including $4 million financed by Axelrod himself and later forgiven -- well below the $50 million at which Axelrod valued the 30 instruments.

AP, 05/03/04

Wealthy fugitive's assets debated 
...Central Garden countersued, alleged fraud, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty. The company claimed he reneged on a promise to repay a $10 million loan.  Eighteen months later, the company went to the U.S. attorney, alleging Axelrod had cooked his books, hidden millions in secret Swiss bank accounts and defrauded the government. The U.S. attorney returned a two-count indictment against Axelrod nearly three weeks ago.

Star Ledger, 05/04/04
U.S. Questions Value of 1998 Axelrod Gift Star-Ledger 05/02/04

A Violin's Value, and What to Pay the I.R.S. Fiddler 
Senate investigators are questioning whether the instrument sale is representative of a fast-growing tax dodge in which wealthy donors inflate the value of gifts - from rare violins to paintings, period furnishings and even fossils - abetted by docile appraisers, weak tax enforcement and cultural institutions with little interest in making waves.

New York Times, 05/02/04

Axelrod's chief worry now is whether Castro will allow him to stay  
At his age, he says, he's got no time or energy to waste fighting a federal prosecutor who has an arrest warrant for him, or spending his days in court -- or maybe even prison. "I'm an old man," he says, then adds, "I worked hard all my life and I want to relax." Axelrod says he is dumbfounded as to why they are coming after him. Hundreds of thousands of people cheat on their taxes every year, he says -- why would the government go after him?

Star Ledger, 04/25/04

A LIFE OF Money and myths 
On April 12, 2004, Axelrod, 76 years old, was indicted on federal charges of conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and of aiding and abetting the filing of a false tax return. Accused of hiding huge sums of money in secret offshore accounts, he faces a sentence of up to five years in prison if convicted.

Star Ledger, 04/25/04

Fugitive philanthropist spends time fishing, writing in Cuba 

AP, 04/25/04
We're No Refuge, Cuban Foreign Minister Says Star-Ledger 04/23/04

Cuba Denies Knowledge of U.S. Fugitive  

AP, 04/23/04

Axelrod's valuation of violins questioned 

Star Ledger, 04/23/04

Violin donor scandal taints even New Jersey's elite orchestra 
... in a widely publicized coup last year, the orchestra acquired a unique collection of fine Italian stringed instruments from one of its chief benefactors.  Now the benefactor is a fugitive in Cuba after fleeing federal tax fraud charges in the United States, and the value of the collection has been called into question...

AP, 04/23/04
Not to Worry, Symphony Didn't get Phonies Star-Ledger 04/22/04

Facing charges, tycoon flees to Havana  

AP, 04/22/04
Indicted Violin Donor Flees to Cuba Star-Ledger 04/22/04

Arts Patron of Rare Violins Vanishes for His Arraignment   

New York Times, 04/22/04

Altered portrait of patron of the arts jolts longtime acquaintances  

Star Ledger, 04/22/04

Fugitive NJ Philanthropist Flees To Cuba  

1010 WINS, 04/21/04

Orchestra expects violin deal will stand 

Star Ledger, 04/17/04

Donor of violins is called a tax cheat  

Star Ledger, 04/16/04

NJ Philanthropist Indicted On Tax Charges 

1010 WINS, 04/16/04

04-13-04 Scheme to defraud the IRS


The Maestro  

New Jersey Monthly, Aug, 2003

Medici of the Meadowlands 

New York Times Magazine, 08/03/03

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Buys Axelrod Violin Collection 

NJN Video, 02/19/03
Changes for the Symphony are Exciting and Scary Star-Ledger 02/01/02
Governor (of NJ) gets behind NJSO (New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Star-Ledger, 12/12/02

Sharing the Gift of Music 

Smithsonian, 08/98

Related Website with articles