What could you do with $100,000 let alone $100,000 a month? What could a non-profit do with that money? Or the many Vulnerable Freshman Legislators who switched their vote on same-sex marriage and are seeking re-election? Lisa Wangsness reported in the Boston Globe that while MassEquality is waiting "to discover what its mission is" that it costs the LGBT Community over $ 100,000 A MONTH. (Half a Million Dollars Since June)
And I do mean that this is costing the LGBT Community. Money from donors does have limits, it comes with demands, and often with loyalties. I wonder if MassEquality will tell us how many large donors have been asked to contribute only to MassEquality at the expense of other LGBT organizations? And while we are at it, we need to demand to know where this community money is going. What are the rents, the salaries including Marc Solomon's, and we need to ask how much money the untouchable, insider consultants are being paid. These are the media consultants and advertising consultants and website gurus albeit many from within the LGBT "connected" community. **(see "Clarification" below)
All of us who work on LGBT Equality are greatly offended to find that this $ 100,000 burn rate has occured since June while MassEquality is trying to "find itself", plan its big party, reach out to communities of color in such a way that one Globe reporter told me sounds like "Missionary Work," and re-do its website. The Lobby Group which had such great success in raising money and winning legislative campaigns for the sole purpose of marriage equality needs to stop thinking about what is best for MassEquality and start thinking about what is best for the Massachusetts LGBT Community.
We all remember those MassEquality pleas for money during the ConCons including this May 6, 2006 one which read, " $10,000 Down, but $ 190,000 to go. The Constitutional Convention meets in just 8 days to consider a terrible new anti-gay Amendment. The Right may well win the 50 votes they need - because we haven't raised enough money to fight them." Ma$$Equality alright.
Unfortunately, I was forwarded an email that Marc Solomon, MassEquality's Campaign Director had sent to David Wilson, it's Board Chair, which for me, sheds more than enough light on what is going on behind closed doors. Marc seems more concerned with punishing those who he finds "disloyal" than correcting the situation of MassEquality's "cash suck" -- a situation for which he is more than a little responsible.
From: Marc Solomon <MarcSolomon@MassEquality.org>
To: David Wilson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Board <Board@MassEquality.org>
Sent: Sun, 28 Oct 2007 10:12 pm
Enough is enough. On Friday, I get a call from Lisa Wangsness, a
Boston Globe State House reporter. Here’s what she asks me. Is it
true that MassEquality has been spending $100,000 a month since the Con
Con? Why are you taking in less than you are spending? Is it true
your contributions are down a lot? Why haven’t you laid off more
staff? Why aren’t you conserving your money for the elections?
This is pure b.s. and I am furious. Someone (or someones) are trying
to take this organization down in the press by leaking sensitive and
proprietary financial information, information available only to board
members. Whomever is doing this needs to resign or be removed from the
board immediately. I checked with our MassEquality attorney, told her
what is going on, and she confirmed that this is a blatant violation of
a board member’s legal responsibility to the organization. That it is
illegal to leak this kind of information. That it abrogates “the duty
of care” and “the duty of loyalty” which are the basic legal
requirements of any board member to any organization.
This board must conduct an investigation and either secure the
resignation or file a cause of action against whomever is responsible.
This comes on the heels of Arline Isaacson’s on the record comments to
State House News, where she makes it look like she is speaking for the
organization and advances a one-staff-person MassEquality for the
future (for those who find this hard to believe, I’ve copied it
below). I have already had lawmakers call me wondering what the hell
is going on.
David, you know I’ve kept it together for two years. I have let way
too many things go by. But this is just outrageous. The board needs
to do something now.
We do all need to take a step back and think for ourselves what is really going on here. Who is profitting, who is truly concerned with the LGBT Community, who is more concerned with his/her job or celebrity? And what organizations have been doing the work for years before marriage equality was even a dream... Read the Boston Globe article again and please think. To question the players from within MassEquality is not somehow "disloyal" to the LGBT Community nor is it belittling to its Coalition Members or the work that we have ALL done in the successful fight for Equality here in Massachusetts.
Look, there is no doubt or reservation in anyone's mind that MassEquality should and will be around at least until the 2008 Elections--it has to be in order to support those legislators who supported marriage equality. But as for what it should be doing if we allow it to become the New MassEquality Corporation, the jury is still out...
There is one thing for sure, however, and I think that a quote in the Globe from one of MassEquality's stakeholders says it best, "An organization shouldn't look for a mission to continue its existence."
Tom Lang, Director Know ThyNeighbor
Clarification (posted Nov.1st 4:30 EST)
I received an email from Ruthie BenDor, MassEquality's Web Designer in reference to my post asking to know the money MEQ paid to "the untouchable insider consultants" and that my post does in fact read that "website gurus" are part of this. Ms. BenDor informed me that she is employed by MassEquality on an hourly basis, she is not one of the "insider consultants" and that my reference to "gurus" should be singular as she is the only web designer. Also, Ms. BenDor provided the new website for MassEquality as "pro bono" and would like to make it perfectly clear, as she wrote in her email to me, "the redesign was NOT a major expense to MassEquality and has NOT significantly contributed to the $100,000/month burn rate."