Skunk - Questioning the Treasurer's Report
By a former Treasurer

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Markand Thakar

Wow! According to the League's Treasurer's Report, from May of 2007 through May of 2008, millions were lost. And mind you, this was months before the blowout on Wall Street. Moreover, from what I could determine, during that same period, returns based on Dow-Jones, which included dividends -- showed no loss. Nevertheless, despite the League's Board and administration losing close to six million dollars on the investments made in the League's behalf, "Compensation," according to the report, increased by some $300,000.00 during that same period.

Has the Board been reckless in their investments for the League? An up-to-date Treasurer's report at the December meeting should be able to inform the membership, who are the actual owners of the League, just how many millions they did or didn't lose from June 1, 2008 until the December 3, 2008 meeting..

Perhaps the membership will also be informed as to just what the meaning is of the nebulous term, "Compensation". After all, none of the following, according to the report, were considered "Compensation": Payroll taxes and fringe benefits; Payment to instructor's and models; Maintenance; Credit card charges (of well over $1,000.00 per week); Miscellaneous expenses (of well over $3,000.00 per week). All were listed separately and not included as "Compensation".

Back to the amount listed as Compensation that was more than $300,000.00 over the previous year - for a total of $1,829,273.00. As far as SKUNK can determine, the only remaining employees (the costs for the staff at the store and cafeteria shouldn't be included) would be the office staff. And, assuming that the League has an office staff of about twenty: many more than in the recent past - their average basic salary (taxes, plus, were listed separately) would come to something like $2000.00 per week.

Nomination Meeting I was going to mention certain faults in the direction the League has taken. But then, I recalled the prohibition - whereby one should refrain from speaking ill of the dead (or dying). Amongst the faults that we intended to mention were the Minutes.

The minutes were read. And, like all minutes - they had little relation to the reality of what had actually occurred. However, since the minutes were about the meeting that had taken place some six months earlier - it would have been difficult to pinpoint exactly what was bullshit, and what resembled fact. Suffice it to say that the name of the director (and he's the one who is usually responsible for overseeing the writing of the minutes) was mentioned about as many times as that of Joe the (unlicensed) plumber's was during the third presidential debate. A marked coincidence - since that debate was held the same evening.

For whatever his reasons - the member of the Board who presided over the meeting - denied this writer the opportunity to question, in public, the administration - as to how much money was lost in the market. This is especially pertinent, since, in the past, one or another member of the administration seemed only too eager to tell the membership just how astute they were in dealing with the market - and how they were making the League rich.

The Board had, no doubt, invested the millions that the League received for the selling of its air rights. And the writer (a former treasurer of the League), would have appreciated it, if he had been allowed to ask the current Board to let the membership know just how much of those millions had been lost due to its (mis-?)handling of those funds. But mind you, it's their ability - not their honesty that's being questioned. One should note that a former board and administration, in all their wisdom - did not purchase the building located directly across 57th Street - for the offered price of one million dollars. And this resulted in the League not acquiring a building that would have relieved the overcrowding of classes and that is now probably valued at as much as, if not far more than, fifty million dollars.


I was also going to write about the coming election: one in which the current Board has made little (a short statement on a postcard) or no effort, to really involve the membership - this, despite a promise, at the last meeting, to do so. And no mention of that promise was made in the aforementioned minutes.

As we have all witnessed, during the run-up to the nation's presidential and congressional elections, real elections can be a messy business. So, we can all appreciate the fact that the current administration and the members of the current Board, due to their kindness, have relieved us, the membership, of the need to make any decisions as to whom, at the League, to vote for.

That this kindness has been bestowed, in the past, on the citizens of such at-the-time democracies as pre-Nazi Germany and pre-Fascist Italy (and one could, no doubt, add any number of other instances of such dictatorial kindness), should not deter us, the membership, from bestowing our praise on the League's aforementioned administration and Board, for preventing the membership from engaging in such reprehensible behavior - such as demanding that the League's Board be run in accordance with the intent of its Constitution.. No matter how messy that could be.

Bar Scene PaintingOf course we do live in New York City - with its city government, which includes our most-respected billionaire mayor who, by disregarding the wishes of the voters, effectively worked to extend his term in office. In doing so, he and the City Council cunningly employed a possibly legal means to bypass the law limiting their terms in office. It should be noted, that he didn't attempt to rescind the $400.00 rebate to the city's home owners until shortly after the law restricting a third term was craftily overturned.

So, members, take heart, elections at the League, no matter how meaningless, do take place every year. And, your vote is duly counted. Of course, despite the fact that the League pays for the balloting, there's hardly ever anyone to vote for but those currently on the Board - this, despite the fact, that only three of the current Board members, according to the League's Constitution, are required to continue to serve.

Moreover, of the remaining six members of the Board who are selected (not elected) by the Board, nothing is known. Why? Because the Board has been cancelling the January business meeting that is called for in the League's Constitution, The result is that the League's membership has no idea of just who is representing them on the Board.

Granted, unless one considers a meal after their meetings - at which League business should be discussed - the members of the Board can receive no compensation. However, the eight artist members and four student members who are elected and selected to be on the Board, if truly involved in every aspect of the making of art, and the advancement of students capable of making art, they should be only too willing to serve a few hours once a week. (The Board - perhaps because the views of all of its members are not being respected or even considered - no longer meets, as in the past, every week.).

The League can be nothing more than a trade school with underpaid, very good artists as teachers of never-gonnabe meaningful, major artists -- unless it returns to being a truly democratically-run-by-artists institution (even with all the faults inherent in a democracy).

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