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    Who are the NERD fund donors Mr Snyder?

    Raise the curtain.

    How dare you, sir (or why the Detroit institute of Arts no longer has any credibility whatsoever).

    By KG One, Section News
    Posted on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 02:45:01 AM EST
    Tags: Macomb County Art Institute Authority, Oakland County Art Institute Authority, Wayne County Art Institute Authority, Let's call it what it really is: A tax for the Detroit Institute of Arts, Rep. Tom McMillin, Graham Beal, Charlie Langton, WXYT-1210AM, Annemarie Erickson, L.Brooks Patterson, big-government republicans, republican kakistocracy (all tags)

    "...And we don't need to get into campaigns where, where wild accusations of peop...of individuals, like, such as, Meford (sic) McMillin is lying. Using words that we don't have to suffer, this kind of willful ignorance."

    Okay, who is "Meford"(sic) McMillin?

    Better yet, who made this very eye-opening statement?

    {Details below the fold}

    The race for next week's DIA shakedown, er I mean, Macomb/Oakland/Wayne Regional Art Institute Authority Millage is starting to get interesting.

    Making his rounds on the morning talk shows this week prior to the tax vote, Detroit Institute of Arts Director Graham Beal called into several radio programs to make more faux-threats of museum closings if local taxpayers don't ante up and fund his little fiefdom on Woodward.

    Graham Beal
    Send me your money!!

    On Charlie Langton's Tuesday show, Director Beal wasn't originally scheduled.

    Instead Charlie Langton interviewed Michigan View's Art Critic Bruce Walker. Needless to say, the information was very damning to the DIA, so Director Beal decided to call in while the interview was taking place and crash it.

    For roughly five minutes, the good director denied everything that has been released about the DIA's actual financial situation, called Rep. Tom McMillon a flat-out liar (go to 12:10), and then hung up his phone in a huff without taking any further questions.

    The overwhelming majority of the callers on Charlie Langton's Show afterwards were not very supportive of Director Beal OR the Detroit Institute of Arts.

    Oh, and the art tax wasn't very popular either.

    I'm not going to beat around the bush: I really don't care for this tax and I especially don't care for how art tax proponents have framed their arguments in support of it.

    As far as I'm concerned, the art tax fails on four fronts.

    First, DIA Operations. The museum simply isn't operated efficiently. For Exhibit "A", I give you what those running the DIA are being paid.

    Here's a breakdown of the top six salaries of the museum's board (H/T to Simon Haddad at Affordablepublicservice.com for his excellent work):

    DIA Director, President & CEO Graham Beal Total Compensation: $426,699
    DIA Executive Vice President & COO Annemarie Erickson Total Compensation: $236,869
    DIA Vice President & CFO Loren Lau Total Compensation: $201,816
    DIA Vice President Museum Operations Elliott Broom Total Compensation: $154,136
    DIA Director of the Campaign Margaret Falcon Total Compensation: $154,119
    DIA Vice President of Exhibitions and Collections Strategies David Penney
    Total Compensation: $151,606
    and finally
    DIA Director of Membership and Annual Fund Kim Baker Total Compensation: $125,955

    Don't take my word for it. Here's a link to the DIA's 990 Form (Page 32).

    This all makes me feel sorry for a poor guy by the name of Henri Loyrette.

    Henri Loyrette, for those of you who aren't aware, is the Director of The Louvre. Another one of those "world-class" museums you'll hear being thrown out a lot in the coming days. His compensation only comes to about $109,000/year. Anyone want to wager if his subordinates make more than him?

    Poor Henri.

    The DIA is also rolling the dice on this one by kicking in about $1.45-million of it own money in support of the art tax.

    Hmmmmm, keeping doors open? Promoting unpopular tax? Tough call.

    Annemarie Erickson

    One side note worth mentioning. Annemarie Erickson was the individual responsible for personally going to the respective county boards and making them squeal like stuck pigs before kowtowing to her demand for this tax.

    Second, the DIA really isn't very interested in making any money on its own.

    Back in February, the Detroit Free Press did a write-up on the "Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus" Exhibit at the DIA. In the article, Detroit Institute of Arts Director Graham Beal let slip a very damning quote on how he feels about DIA generating money on its own:

    "The strong box office for Rembrandt is a boon to the bottom line. An especially expensive show to mount, it was budgeted at $1.8 million and was always expected to lose money", Beal said.

    This is a very important quote from DIA Director Beal that bears repeating:

    "...it was budgeted at $1.8 million and was always expected to lose money."

    Must be nice to spend other people's money and not need to be responsible whatsoever.

    The Rembrandt exhibit was very popular at the DIA. People were practically breaking down the doors to go inside and see the exhibit. On a related note: The nearby Henry Ford Museum stayed open for 24-hours last June so that the public could see the "Emancipation Proclamation" on display. And the DIA couldn't extend its own hours on a wildly popular exhibit because...

    .. oh yeah, I forgot, other people's money.

    The third reason I'm against the art tax is that the DIA simply doesn't need the money

    The DIA is looking at the approximately $23-million/year in tax revenues it hopes to collect over ten years to create an endowment of about $230-million to fund their yearly budget for museum operations (their yearly budget is currently about $25-million).

    What the DIA is denying/avoiding/strongly gesturing pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-curtain is that they ALREADY HAVE approximately $175-million in endowment money right now. $100-million of that is unrestricted. $75-million is restricted (H/T Rep. Tom Mc Millin for an outstanding job locating this).

    "But, you are still $55-million short," answers the arrogant art tax supporter.  

    I'm not finished.

    In 2009, the DIA's net assets were $132-million. In 2011 (the latest year available), it was $182-million (H/T ditto).

    In just two years worth of work, there's $50-million more for you to work with at the DIA.

    Its details like this that caused DIA Director Beal to throw a temper tantrum and storm off of the radio interview I mentioned at the beginning.

    I can't help but wonder if Rep. McMillin will fire off a press release about being called a liar by someone who wouldn't(/couldn't?) come up with a single shred of evidence to refute his argument, or better yet, ask to go on "Let it Rip" to just plain stomp a mudhole in Graham Beal on TV.

    Finally, I'm against the tax because the people backing it are being just plain deceptive.

    The money issues I've mentioned above, DIA-tax supporters have not exactly been forthright with their "facts".

    Originally art tax supporters claimed that the museum WILL close its doors if the art tax fails. After their financials were released, the art-tax proponents backpedaled a little on that threat and are now claiming they are "in danger of closing" or "could possibly close".

    Art tax supporters claim that we need not worry on where the money will be spent. They will have an audit performed.

    Newsflash: They already have an audit done. They need it for 501(c) status. Ernst & Young did the DIA's 2011 Audit.

    As it was explained to me, an audit means only that someone had looked over the numbers and said that they work out. It doesn't make any assertions as to how that money was spent, or even if it was spent wisely.

    Any CPA's out there, feel free to chime in on this one.

    Art tax supporters claim that passage of the art tax will provide unlimited free admission.

    Yeah, the DIA will let you in the front door, but if you want to see any special exhibits or go to the Detroit Film Theater inside of the DIA, the DIA will still require you to reach into your wallet to get in those parts of the museum.

    And lastly, let's not mince words here: It's all about bringing in money for the DIA.

    Check this (Page 2):

    The Macomb County Art Institute Authority was established pursuant to Public Act 296 of 2010 and formed to allow for continuing support of art institute services for the students, residents and visitors of Macomb County. The law allows the Authority to seek authorization from the electors to levy a tax of not more than 0.2 mill (20 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) on real and personal property to provide revenue to an art institute services provider for this purpose. Accordingly, to continue providing art institute services to benefit the residents of the County, shall a 0.2 mill on all of the taxable property located within the County be imposed for a period of ten (10) years, being years 2012 through 2021? It is estimated that if approved and levied, this new millage would generate approximately $ 4,877,863.36 in 2012.


    So why is it that the ballot languages in Macomb/Wayne & Oakland Counties all conveniently leave out mentioning the Detroit Institute of Arts by name anywhere in the proposal?

    I get the copying and pasting from P.A. 296 and voilà you've just created a brand new entitlement that big-government republicans like L.Brooks Patterson and democrats just love to dole out.

    But c'mon! At least be honest about where the money you're shaking us down for will actually go to.

    One final word on the art tax: According to Wednesday's Detroit Free Press, ERIC-MRA released the results from a poll claiming that after surveying 237 adults, 69% supported the tax.

    No word on the breakdown of the respondents (i.e. likely voters, actual voters, voting age adults) or the wording of the questions, but this little blurb buried near the end of the article caught my attention:

    "DIA officials conducted their own poll two weeks ago that showed a majority of voters supporting the millage. Museum Executive Vice President Annemarie Erickson declined to release details, but said the level of support was less than in the EPIC-MRA poll. She said the museum remained intensely focused on turning out the vote."

    I haven't heard back on who had done this survey, whether it was Mitchell Research or Susan the art school intern from CCS.

    EPIC has been known to be wrong in the past.

    The fact that the DIA did their own internals and haven't released them publically (or even in any of their latest advertisements) tells me that this isn't as much of a slam dunk as they thought.

    There may be hope yet.

    My other final word on this; I can't help but wonder wonder what would be involved in getting P.A. 296 repealed when this tax fails?

    There is plenty of room on the legislative calendar in 2012.

    You still have republican majorities in the Michigan House & Senate. You have a "republican" in the governor's office.


    < It's Not a Penalty: It's a Tax | Auction Ad Powerful >

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    Only in Michigan... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Corinthian Scales on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 10:58:26 AM EST
    ...would the Fabian indoctrinated herd allow their local bureaucrats to further the theft of monies through levy on private property ownership for a tax-exempt entity cabal of overcompensated nobodies who proudly boasts as its distinction of "cultural necessity" the works of a <strike>Democrat</strike> rat bastard commie born in Mexico.

    In both the United States and Mexico, Rivera's monumental frescos gave life to revolutionary themes, often offending critics as well as the public. In New York's Rockefeller Center, for instance, his murals were destroyed because of public outrage over their strongly pro-communist content.

    And, if that isn't tale enough for a tri-county collective being easily duped by rent-seeking vultures propagating the existence of their enshrined Leninist Manifesto as "cultural enrichment," the same tax-exempt "Founders Society" also ups the the anti-First Amendment ante with using tax dollars to validate violent scribble of a pirating pedophile.

    Why that cactus hugging groveling schmuck John Adams must be smiling at the gullible Michigan thralls considering the DIA shakedown from his grave.

    Puuuuuuuure Southeast Michigan.

    It's a great place to be ... from.

    • DIA - NO! by Tatersalad, 08/07/2012 11:01:52 AM EST (5.00 / 1)
    Fifth argument against the tax... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jgillmanjr on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 11:40:53 AM EST
    Public funds shouldn't be supporting this kind of thing in the first place.

    • Like: +1 by Corinthian Scales, 08/02/2012 11:59:14 AM EST (none / 0)
    DIA TAX (none / 0) (#4)
    by NO DIA TAX on Thu Aug 02, 2012 at 07:12:14 PM EST
    There's a REASON the DIA, Detroit Institute of Arts or even the word "museum" aren't in the language - because the arts authority wants to the power to send the money WHEREVER IT WANTS.  Why is the spokesperson for the Oakland County Arts Authority a prominent Birmingham attorney?  WHY would they NEED an attorney?

    SO follow me for a moment - the "operating agreement" between the DIA and the City of Detroit expires smack in the middle of this millages term.  What if its not renewed? THEN WHAT?  Who knows - we sure don't.  Where does the money go them?  For that matter, where does it go NOW?  What exactly is a   "art institute services provider"? Do you know?


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