Give Vilar his due |

Give Vilar his due

Before Alberto Vilar was arrested and charged with defrauding investors out of millions of dollars, he was one of the most revered out-of-towners in the Vail Valley.

As his trial begins this week, we can’t help but ponder what Vilar has done for the valley and how his legacy will affect the reputation of the Vail Valley’s performing arts scene.

Without his donations, Vail and Beaver Creek would likely not have the caliber of performing arts events both have today. Would locals, guests and second-home owners have been able to enjoy performances from acts like B.B. King or Art Garfunkel at the Vilar Center? Where would the Ford Amphitheater be without Vilar’s help?

The fallen philanthropist was best known for a generosity that was only matched by his ego. But his $10 million in contributions earned him the honor of having his name on the Beaver Creek performing arts center and the reputation as a best friend to the Vail Valley’s growing performing arts scene.

It’s unfortunate that in the past few years Vilar has been unable to meet his previous commitment to help bring the New York Philharmonic to the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival. It’s also unfortunate that he had to back out of millions of dollars worth of commitments he made in New York City.

But that doesn’t negate the commitments he has made good on for the Vail Valley.

Nor should we forget that in this country, Vilar is innocent until proven guilty of the serious charges that face him. It’s much too early to convict Vilar in the court of public opinion, just as it is too soon to decide whether Vilar’s name should remain on the Beaver Creek performing arts center.

When it comes to the trial that is underway in New York City, we can only hope that justice is served.

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