Why Is Cash-Strapped San Diego Pride Handing Out $5,000 Bonuses to, Like, Everyone?

When it comes to scandal among California’s gay groups, usually our attention is focused on things like Equality California and the Courage Campaign. But now the board of San Diego Pride has given us reason to pay attention. Because there’s cash-tainted trouble in their midst!

Phillip Princetta (pictured, above), the president of SD Pride’s board, received a $5,000 gift from the organization, approved by the board, for his “involvement and leadership” in the group. How kind! And, apparently, controversial. That’s because exec director Ron deHarte (pictured, below) athought that was complete nonsense, raised a stink, and convinced with others in the organization, and demanded a face-to-face with Princetta. Immediately, two of the five board members resigned.

What’d the remaining three do? Not only try to amend the board’s own rules to eliminate term limits, but also canned deHarte and escorted him out of the building, according to GLT, whose Nicole Murray-Ramirez says SD Pride is “one very divisive organization.” She opines:

These are very hard economic times, especially for non-profits, yet this past July, Pride raised both festival ticket prices and booth rentals. The organization also purchased an almost $1 million office building. And, within a one-week span in December, Pride issued more than $12,000 in gifts and bonuses to both staff and its board chair. In my opinion, and with all due respect to the Pride board chair and staff, this was NOT the year to be giving out any gifts or cash bonuses whatsoever.

But the story doesn’t end there. Turns out, deHarte also received a tidy cash windfall.

Until my meeting with the remaining Pride board members, I was unaware that deHarte himself also received a $5,000 bonus almost the same week that Board Chair Princetta accepted his $5,000 gift. On top of that, almost every San Diego Pride staff member also received a cash bonus. The three board members informed me that since deHarte has been Pride’s executive director, he has received more than $20,000 in bonuses.

If this is standard operating procedure at San Diego Pride, so be it. But has the economy’s collapse taught us nothing of boards that operate only to serve their own interests and their leader’s?

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #phillipprincetta #rondeharte #sandiego stories and more


  • Ryan

    Gee remwmbwe when people volunteered and put together PRIDE EVENTS for FREE?

  • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

    I was on the Board of Directors of Academy of Friends (originally Friends of Oscar), the gang which has raised a few million dollars for gay and AIDS service groups in the Bay Area through their annual Academy Awards party/show.

    I am unaware of AoF’s current compensation structure and I am unaware of the work load for San Diego Pride board members.

    Nonetheless, I have never heard of board members of not-for-profit community service organizations receiving ANY compensation. At least in the 1990s, AoF board members were REQUIRED to participate in ticket selling, event planning, special projects, and event underwriting. Typically, each board member contributed 10-20 hours every week for the 3 months prior to the event; 10-20 hours per month during the other 9 months. Additionally, we called on friends, family, and business associates to assist us in our task. In the week leading up to the event, members worked full time to ensure a success.

    One of our biggest features, handed down from AoF’s founder, was that 100% of the ticket sales and 100% of gross auctions and raffle projects, went to the AIDS service organizations. This means that we had to get in kind and direct donations to produce the event and cover staff salaries completely separate from the money raised by the event.

    AoF paid staff was simply the office executive director and an assistant who also acted as treasurer. Pay was very modest; there were no bonuses.

    Project Open Hand was the lead service organization my first year as an AoF board member. One of my most cherished memories was visiting the kitchen they built from the $125,000 AoF raised on their behalf.

    It certainly seems ridiculous to ask for the important and necessary contributions of scores of volunteers to put on large productions when cash is flying out the door to board members and bonuses to staff members.

  • TommyOC

    I thought being on payroll while working for a cause you believed in was bonus enough?

    Last I checked, the people who actually make these events happen (and without which no board would be needed) worked for nothing.

  • scott ny'er

    that is why, when giving to charities one must check into how the charity in question spends their money. Usually, you can find a breakdown of what percentage went where.

    if this is true, and I’m sure it is, then that sucks.

  • El Brucio

    Scott NY’er – I agree. A few years back there was a scandal with Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Canada, where it was found that only 19 cents of every dollar donated actually went to fighting drunk driving.

    It’s always wise to investigate before donating.

  • timmmeeeyyy

    The largest gay organization in my city not only doesn’t pay board members, it requires them to personally raise $1000 to show their commitment to the community. San Diego Pride should do the same.

  • Casey

    So today the board (the remaining three) released a letter saying they were sorry, asked for forgiveness, but wouldn’t resign. And now I’m hearng from various members of the LGBT community that Chris Shaw and A. Latham Staples have been approached to help solve the crisis. One person said Latham said he would help offer some insight but had too many other responsibilities to fully get involved. Chris Shaw said he would, but could only do so till June. What a mess! GLT also just posted a letter from Latham to the Pride Board.

  • schlukitz

    Sand Diego Pride. What a misnomer.

    How can gay men literally “steal”money on a scale like that from contributors and still have “pride”?

    They are worse than the Roman Catholic Church.

  • Brian

    It doesn’t sound as bad as HRC. Joe Solmonese makes $350,000 a year and has a $150,000 expense account. That’s $500,000.

    These guys in SD are small fry. If you’re looking for weasels, HRC is a good place to start.

Comments are closed.