The San Francisco Controller’s Office has released an audit finding the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) "inappropriately” paid nearly half a million dollars to a former employee.
Auditors evaluated payroll and cash disbursements over the last three years (2013-15), during which period Diane "Dede" Wilsey was the CEO and president of the board at the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor.
Wilsey got in hot water over a 2014 decision to order a $450,773 check cut to an ailing former employee. At the time, Wilsey said she didn’t need approval for the payment.
But the chief financial officer disagreed, was placed on administrative leave, left and then sued, claiming whistleblower protections. That was followed by a $2 million settlement, and attempts by Wilsey to get board members to help reimburse the museums for the payment. Four board members resigned.
San Francisco’s director of audits Tonia Lediju says city rules don’t really speak to Wilsey’s decision, but it’s “improper” under federal guidelines, as defined by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).