After two weeks of scandal involving financial issues and hyper-sexualized content at the Young At Art children’s museum, Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler has had enough. Wexler has put the troubled children’s museum on next week’s commission meeting agenda. Wexler wants the County to cease all negotiations with Young At Art (YAA). More importantly, Wexler wants her fellow commissioners to discuss putting YAA and its pricey preschool under the control of the Broward County Cultural Division.
If successful, this would mark the end of co-founder Mindy Shrago’s reign at Young At Art.
After intimidation games failed, REDBROWARD exposed sexualized exhibits sponsored by YAA curators and artists. These included a Naughty By Nature exhibit which apparently exposed children to pornographic imagery. This exhibit was curated by Shrago’s son Zack Spechler, a paid employee of YAA.
REDBROWARD presented videos of Shrago attending a political party hosted by her daughter, Ali Spechler. In the video, a laughing Shrago whacks a Donald Trump pinata, while her topless daughter rants about Bernie Sanders.
In another video, Ali Spechler hosted a party which vilified the political enemies of her father, Jay Spechler. At the end of the video attacking Judges Victor Tobin and Lee Seidman, Ali Spechler participates in a wet t-shirt contest.
Earlier this week, REDBROWARD revealed Shrago and YAA fundraisers continued to received pay increases even as they begged the County to renegotiate their financial deals.
Federal income tax forms filed by YAA in 2012 show Mindy Shrago’s salary jumped from $125,000 to $141,000 after Broward taxpayers built the new facility in Davie. Shrago received hefty raises in 2013 and 2014. She currently receives a $157,000 paycheck as executive director
Last month, Wexler asked Broward County Administrator Bertha Henry why Young At Art (YAA) had failed to submit their latest proposal for financial relief. Some believed YAA was “playing games” to avoid dealing with the term-limited Wexler. Others wondered if YAA chairman David Di Pietro hoped to avoid the matter while his wife, Judge Nina Weatherly Di Pietro, is facing re-election.
There is no more avoiding the issues facing Young At Art. Broward taxpayers deserve answers. On Tuesday, Shrago, Spechler and Di Pietro will have to answer to the Broward County Commission.
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