windfalls

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?