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NYT USTA Investigation Continues to Reverberate

In case you missed it, there was a very good bit of U.S. Open-timed investigative journalism published Saturday in the New York Times.

USTALogo

Article authors Mary Pilon and Andrew W. Lehren found much evidence to support the headline “A Tennis Board Woven with Conflicts.” Starting with the fact that Jeff Williams, publisher of Tennis Media Company (Tennis magazine, tennis.com), sits on the United States Tennis Association (USTA) board and boasts, through his firm, the organization’s largest outside-contractor relationship.

In the article comments, Mark in Albuquerque, Raymond in Washington, D.C. and a number of other readers congratulate the paper for this investigative piece. Others bring up related USTA experiences and issues.

Today, it is the turn of Nonprofit Quaterly to chime in. Columnist Rick Cohen confirms the observation in the NYT article that non-profit USTA has not exactly been forthright about all this:

We examined the USTA’s 2012 Form 990 to note that that the conflicts of interest described in the New York Times article are generally not indicated on the form, the non-employee board members are all paid for their board service (between $6,000 and $26,000), and the executive director, Gordon Smith, pulled in compensation of $1,136,722 plus an additional $140,773 for service to related organizations).

NPQ is aware that many readers find it inappropriate or distasteful to reference the salary of an executive director of a nonprofit… Nevertheless, a seven-figure ED salary (not to mention the number of employees with salaries greater than a half-million) catches our eye. That’s especially true when some workers at the National Tennis Center in Flushing are making paltry incomes — for example, the recently advertised positions for front desk associate and administrative assistant pay $10 an hour.

Stay tuned.

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