Despite losing more than half a million dollars in revenue over the last five years, Young At Art (YAA) executive director Mindy Shrago continues to collect a six-figure salary. According to public records, Shrago has received big salary raises even while she desperately tried to restructure the Davie museum’s financial deal with Broward County. Broward County Commissioners are waiting for Young At Art Board Chairman David Di Pietro to submit a new financial proposal to repay taxpayers’ investment in the children’s museum.
In 2013, published reports claimed Shrago and YAA reneged on its deal with Broward County. According to the Sun-Sentinel, Broward taxpayers purchased land in Davie and built a new home for Shrago’s museum, “on the promise the museum would pay some of the money back — $1 million a year for 11 years.” Even though YAA raised $5 million dollars, it used that money to pay for art exhibits instead of making payments to the county.
But, Federal tax records show YAA had money to pay Shrago’s six figure salary.
SHRAGO MAKES BIG BUCKS WHILE YAA LOST REVENUE
According to records filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Young At Art has been seriously hemorraghing money since 2011. Over a four year period, YAA total revenues fell from $3,691,581 million to $3,100,507 million. That is a loss of $591,074 million over four years. But these same records show Mindy Shrago kept receiving her big paycheck.
Young at Art’s 2013 Federal IRS Form 990 shows Shrago received a $140,387 yearly salary. The form claims Shrago worked fifty hours a week.
Even though YAA was in the midst of a serious financial crisis, the 2014 Form 990 shows Shrago received a sizable salary increase. Shrago was paid $152,407 for a fifty hour work week. This was a $12,020 increase for the executive director of an ailing institution funded by Broward taxapayers.
A year later, Shrago’s take home pay jumped to $157,828 dollars. While still seeking relief from the County, Shrago received a $5,421 raise. It’s unclear if the YAA Board approved these increases each year or whether they were part of Shrago’s contract.
Shrago’s big bucks salary is just the latest scandal surrounding Young At Art. REDBROWARD exposed the questionable exhibits which exposed children to hypersexualized imagery including naked men and women engaged in sex acts, wet t-shirt parties and topless women bashing political figures. Several online campaigns have urged YAA Chairman David Di Pietro to remove Shrago from her position. This is unlikely to happen any time soon. According to sources, Shrago’s husband, former Judge Jay Spechler brags about her large severance package if she is replaced at YAA. Spechler is close adviser and personal attorney for Di Pietro. He sued Florida Governor Rick Scott on Di Pietro’s behalf after his removal as chairman of Broward Health. Spechler and Shrago have contributed thousands of dollars to Di Pietro’s wife, Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro.
Tired of the YAA “games,” Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler has stated she will review the new matters with the County Administrator and County Attorney.