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Broward symphony in turmoil

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The Symphony of the Americas is a mainstay at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts that receives plenty of taxpayer cash. 

Now it's board has been ripped apart by questions about how that money is being spent. 

When now-former board president Beth Holland and other symphony officials began questioning what they saw as financial irregularities, they were suddenly voted out in what they say was basically a board coup orchestrated by the symphony's executive director, Renee LaBonte, and the long-time maestro, James Brooks-Bruzzese.

Following the ouster of Holland and symphony treasurer Raquel Cohen came numerous resignations of board members in protest, including Symphony Society President Lynne McGrath. 

"There were a lot of people shocked," said McGrath. "People left. I walked out. I've been on a number of boards I've never seen anything like that."

"I feel that all of us have been had," said Holland.

At the heart of the controversy are LaBonte and Brooks-Bruzzese, who have been running the symphony since its founding 25 years ago. Former officials say the pair keep a stranglehold on symphony finances.

Though the symphony's bylaws dictate that the treasurer handle the district's money -- more than $200,000 of which comes from taxpayers -- the former officials say LaBonte keeps all the records in her private home with her husband James LaBonte, who has been hired as the bookkeeper of the organization.