The Jackie Robinson Foundation has raised only a fraction of the $42 million it says is needed to honor the Brooklyn Dodger who shattered Major League Baseball’s color barrier.
The museum was first slated to open on the ground floor of One Hudson Square in lower Manhattan in 2010.
Instead, its founders are paying $500,000 a year to rent a shell where the 11,000-square-foot exhibition is supposed to be.
...Tax documents reveal the nonprofit spends about $1.3 million annually to rent the vacant first floor and a second-floor space housing the foundation offices. That’s more than the $1.2 million it gave out in scholarships in 2011.
More than a third of that rent expense — $546,000 per year in 2011 and 2012 — goes just to pay for the empty museum space. All told, the group has spent at least $2.1 million since 2007 on space it has never utilized.
The foundation also burned through $613,798 in salaries in 2011, paying president and CEO Della Britton Baeza $229,572 and chief operations officer La’Tonya Johnson $144,694.
The foundation had to take out a $3.8 million mortgage to “finance the foundation’s operation,” according to 2007 tax forms.
“We ran into a difficult period during the market recession,” said civil-rights lawyer Norman Siegel, who’s been on the museum’s board since 1979. “That’s why we’ve had delays.”
Spokeswoman Allison Davis said the foundation needs $20 million for construction and $22 million for an endowment to get the museum to first base.
So far, the nonprofit has raised only $13 million in “firm commitments,” she said.
Posted: February 17, 2013 at 09:56 AM | 31 comment(s)
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