Bremer trustees paying themselves too much

A philanthropy watchdog group in Washington, D.C., wants Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson to investigate the Otto Bremer Foundation in the wake of last week’s firing of executive director Randi Roth.

The three trustees running the foundation are paying themselves far too much, and they have removed critical checks and balances on the people who oversee the foundation’s $800 million in assets, the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy said.

The foundation is one of the Twin Cities’ largest. Last year it gave away more than $38 million to charities, non-profit organizations and government agencies across the Upper Midwest. More than 150 groups and activities benefited, from the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin to the Zimmerman School District booster club.

The three trustees who run the foundation were paid a total of more than $1.2 million in 2013. Brian Lipschultz received $466,198, Daniel Reardon $465,313 and Charlotte Johnson $294,000, according to records filed with the state.

“It’s just an outrageously high level of compensation for trustee service,” said Aaron Dorfman, executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.

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This article also appeared on Mankato Free Press and Twin Cities Pioneer Press.