March 16, 2017; ArtNet
NPQ presented a webinar with GuideStar’s Chuck McLean that identified for nonprofits some things on the Form 990 that might be considered “red flags” in the hands of reporters, donors, or regulators. McLean was careful to reiterate that the Form 990 is now super-accessible to all the preceding groups. When they read them, they’ll see a story in them, and if what those Form 990s suggest isn’t true, it’s best to use the Form 990 itself or the real estate GuideStar provides nearby to explain. Here’s a real-life situation that illustrates the problem.
As you may remember, Thomas Campbell, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, recently resigned in one of those euphemistic “mutual agreement” moments. The stories that followed were built upon the organization’s financial straits more than anything else. But then, on March 13th, the New York Post reported that Daniel Weiss, who took up the title of president in 2015, received a $300,000 bonus for less than half a year on the job. His total compensation was $818,112, “which included a salary of $327,931 and a housing allowance for his Park Avenue apartment,” the Post wrote.
According to the Post, working from the organization’s Form 990, which was posted on GuideStar, Campbell’s total compensation in the same fiscal year was $1,428,935, with $942,287 of that being salary. He has been living in a four-bedroom, four-bath home paid for by the museum. Emily Rafferty, the former Met president who retired in June 2015, received compensation of $2.2 million. But these were not the only $1 million-plus salaries at the institution: Suzanne Brenner, senior vice president and chief investment officer, had total compensation of nearly $1.6 million, and chief investment officer Lauren Meserve received total compensation over $1.4 million. These numbers, reported the Post, were the results of increases and bonuses made relatively recently, so we can take these kinds of compensation packages