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Some MOCA board members are wary of Eli Broad

by Dean Rotbart

December 17, 2008 | 1:05 pm

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The New York Times is reporting today that some at Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art “have grown wary” of philanthropist Eli Broad and his possibly less-than-generous effort to provide financial support to ailing MOCA.

In an Op-Ed article published last month in the Los Angeles Times, Broad, who along with his wife Edythe are the subject of my Monday ‘The Memo’ this week, promised to donate an additional $30 million to MOCA, if others would also pledge big bucks.

NYT reporter Edward Wyatt notes that the Broad’s offer is for $15 million in fresh funds for MOCA’s dwindling endowment and another $15 million to help cover operations and exhibits over the next five years.

Yet Wyatt reports that some wary MOCA board members say Broad’s terms “put him in the position to control the museum or its collections if the museum is not able to complete its fund-raising efforts.”

Kind of like a stealth hostile takeover.

The Times reported that The Broad Art Foundation issued a statement saying it will back any solution to MOCA’s fiscal crisis if the plan achieves five goals:  “maintains MOCA’s independence, keeps MOCA headquartered on Grand Avenue, continues MOCA’s world-class exhibition program, preserves its collection for view by the broadest public, and provides financial assurances that would provide the institution with long-term financial health.”

Such a five-part solution is easy to envision.  It is spelled B-R-O-A-D. 

One item in the Times article that Eli and Edythe are not likely to reprint in their press clippings is Wyatt’s assertion that MOCA’s collection “is widely considered to be of greater depth and quality than Mr. Broad’s.” 

No wonder Eli is willing to fork over $30 million to have a shot at controlling the entire MOCA collection, too.

What a charitable guy!

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Dean Rotbart’s take on the Jewish world and Israel.

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