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December 17, 2011

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HESherman

A very valid and considered explorations of the issue overall as well as the article’s perspective (and needless to say, my two comments in the article were extracted from a longer conversation; hardly my only thoughts on the subject). But I must ask about the following from above: "There are many people in the funding community who think this is a scandal and possibly illegal.” Charges of possibly illegal action are serious -- what are your sources for this statement and if there are funders that feel this way, have they brought their assertions to the attention of the attorney general’s office? If you charge Pat with incomplete reportage, you need to substantiate this statement.

Isaac

Howard,

Thanks for weighing in. I'd love to know more about what in your interview didn't make it into the Times piece. As for the funders... obviously, I can't provide you with the names of my sources. I was not moving in those circles as a journalist at that time and it wouldn't be fair to people who didn't realize their opinions were going to get broadcast on the internet for me to now do so. As for whether or not they contacted the attorney general, I have no idea. As I said, these things tended to get said in my presence at conferences, on phone calls doing research, so I wasn't asking a lot of follow-up questions at the time.

I will say that perhaps the word "think" in that sentence is too strong and should be replaced with the word "worry," but there you go. There's been many... er... innovations that people use to get around the spirit of the non-profit tax code invented since its creation (such as enhancement, a practice I am mixed-to-negative on and umbrellaing, a practice I am completely pro). The legality of many of these actions is murky. I wonder if this will change as State and Federal budgets get more squeezed and legislators try to solve these gaps without technically raising taxes.

Ashley

The point of your post is that the article you are discussing is inadequately reported & written, not whether what allegedly non-profit theatres are doing is legal (or not). But for those interested in the merits, here is a place to start. http://www.lawforchange.org/NewsBot.asp?MODE=VIEW&ID=4311
Also, Mr. Sherman implies that if no one has complained to the state AG's office, then what's going on is legit. That is, of course, not necessarily so.

Walt828

Legal or not, it certainly stretches the purpose of non-profit status, a point that Rocco Landesman has made repeatedly and strongly in the past. If we are looking for a way to undermine the 401(c)3 application to the arts, this is a great way to do so.

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