yaa-bannerAccording to forms filed with the IRS, Young At Art (YAA) children’s museum in Davie allowed a local public relations firm to keep more than 64 percent of contributions it helped to collect. The 2013 Federal Form 990 shows Pierson Grant public relations brought $60,000 in contributions to YAA. The form shows Pierson Grant kept $38, 662 as its fee for fundraising. Young At Art kept just $21,338 of the money raised by Pierson Grant.

Form 990 for 2014 and 2015 do not list any payments to Pierson Grant. The firm is currently listed on the YAA website as an “in-kind sponsor” of the museum. This exorbitant 64% fee is just the latest questionable financial practice by the taxpayer-supported children’s museum.

Previously, REDBROWARD reported Bradi, Inc, a fundraising company, was paid high commission fees even as the total donations collected fell.  In 2013, Bradi, Inc (owned by Diane Weinbrum) brought in $155,000 in contributions. Bradi, Inc was paid $32,990, more than 21% of the contributions.

A year later, Weinbrum brought in another $155,000 in contributions. Despite raising the same amount, Weinbrum was paid $36,500, a 23% commission.

In 2015, Weinbrum only brought in $105,000 to the museum. For some unknown reason, Bradi, Inc received a 28% commission. YAA paid Weinbrum $30,075 for her work.

Yesterday, REDBROWARD revealed YAA executive director Mindy Shrago received huge salary increases even while the museum revenues dropped. Young at Art’s 2013 Federal IRS Form 990 shows Shrago received a $140,387 yearly salary.

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.

In 2015, Shrago’s take home pay jumped to $157,828 dollars. While still seeking relief from the County, Shrago received a $5,421 raise.

All of these large salaries and fees were paid while Shrago and Weinbrum pleaded with the Broward County Commission to bailout the faltering children’s museum. YAA is currently seeking more changes to their deal with the County.

Did donors and patrons realize sizable portions of their contributions were paid to consultants and public relations flacks? Were there verbal or written contracts with these paid consultants? Did YAA board members approve of these payouts? Did YAA institute any cost-cutting measures while trying to get financial help from Broward taxpayers?

Broward taxpayers deserve answers. The County Commission needs to ask Shrago and YAA Chairman David Di Pietro about these financial issues as well as the hypersexualized nature of some YAA sponsored exhibits.