Scoop: Update on Fine Arts Museums’ ‘improper’ payment

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco board members approved a new title for Dede Wilsey earlier this year. {Drew Altizer/SF Examiner/2011)

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco board members approved a new title for Dede Wilsey earlier this year. {Drew Altizer/SF Examiner/2011)

On Thursday, the San Francisco Office of the Controller issued a statement calling a $450,773 payment by the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museums to a former Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco employee “unsupported” and “improper under federal guidance,” although not illegal.

The announcement was the result of a investigation prompted by a whistleblower, who was among a number of folks not pleased by the way philanthropist Dede Wilsey (credited with raising $190 million to rebuild the earthquake-damaged de Young Museum) has been running the show at the de Young and Legion of Honor in recent years.

Nonprofit Quarterly reported that even though the museums’ private and public board of trustees paid a settlement to the whistleblower (who was fired after reporting the payment), and even though some board members resigned to protest Wilsey’s top spot in the organization, nothing has changed significantly.

In September, the board amended some bylaws and gave Wilsey a new title — chair of the board rather than president — in a move, according to NPQ, that means essentially nothing.

Max Hollein, director of the Fine Arts Museums since June (following Colin Bailey’s brief directorship) has not commented publicly on the matter.

HOLIDAYS AT THE WHARF

Just in time for Halloween, “Escape Alcatraz,” a new drop ride and show located below sea level on Fisherman’s Wharf, debuts this weekend at the San Francisco Dungeon. Promoters call it “a thrilling finale to the 60-minute Dungeon experience … that culminates in a heart-pounding drop ride simulating a jump from the infamous island prison into the frigid and choppy waters of the San Francisco Bay.” Whew!

If that description doesn’t entice you, how about checking out the attraction, at 145 Jefferson St., for free between noon and 7 p.m. on Election Day? Visitors wearing a 2016 “I Voted” sticker get complimentary admission (and the ride) as a “thank you for rocking the vote.”

QUICK TAKE

NBC/KNTV’s Emmy Award-winning “Bay Area Revelations” series premieres a new installment, “The Musicians,” after NBC Sunday Night Football on Oct. 30. Local luminaries in the documentary include Carlos Santana, Lars Ulrich, Too Short, Huey Lewis and Kehlani, as well as commentary by Joel Selvin, Ben Fong-Torres, Rosalie Howarth, Big Von, Bonnie Simmons and Tim Westergren.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Singer-rapper Frank Ocean is 29. … Actor Joaquin Phoenix is 42. … Singer Brad Paisley is 44. … Actress Julia Roberts is 49. …
Actor-comedian Andy Richter is 50. … Entrepreneur Bill Gates is 61. … Reality star Caitlyn Jenner is 67. … Actor Dennis Franz is 72. … Actress Jane Alexander is 77. … Musician Charlie Daniels is 80. … Actress Joan Plowright is 87. … Singer Cleo Laine is 89.
Bay Area RevelationsDede WilseyEscape AlcatrazFine Arts Museumsimproper paymentKNTVMax Hollein

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Giants second baseman Donovan Solano scores on a double in the seventh inning against the Dodgers at Oracle Park on July 29. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Will the Giants make the playoffs? Kris Bryant may be the answer

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner You’d be hard-pressed to find… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, a co-founder of SF Black Wallstreet, at her restaurant, Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in the La Cocina Marketplace on Friday, July 30, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

A prescribed fire at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was conducted in June 2016 to reduce hazardous fuel loading, increase watershed health, and restore the natural fire cycle in the Redwood Canyon area ecosystem. (Photo courtesy Rebecca Paterson/National Park Service)
Experts, UC scientists discuss wildfires in the state’s riskiest regions

Wildfires are nothing new in California’s history, but the magnitude and frequencies… Continue reading

Fourth-grade students at Lucerne Valley Elementary School don masks and Western wear for a “Walk Through California” history day during in-person instruction. (Courtesy of Krystal Nelson)
Confusion over mask mandate for California schools sparks tension between districts and parents

By Diana Lambert EdSource Shifting rules around mask mandates at schools are… Continue reading

Steven Buss, left, and Sachin Agarwal, co-founders of Grow SF, a new group that aims to offer folks a moderate take on SF politics, on Friday, July 30, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the… Continue reading

Most Read