Former NYPR CEO Was Paid Almost $1.9 Million On Way Out


Former New York Public Radio CEO and President Laura Walker acquired nearly $1.9 million in complete compensation in 2019, regardless of leaving the general public media group that March after acknowledging she might have executed extra to handle allegations of sexual harassment and bullying that led WNYC to finish its relationship with three outstanding hosts. (Walker stayed on in an advisory function via that June.) 

Walker’s compensation figures come from an annual federal tax submitting, which is required of most nonprofits and was posted on WNYC’s web site Thursday. The paperwork embrace compensation figures for the 2019 calendar 12 months and record two “former” workers, Walker and former Senior Vice President Dean Cappello, amongst its highest-paid staff. New York Public Radio is the dad or mum firm of WNYC and Gothamist.

The disclosures provide a view into the monetary prices of Walker’s departure from WNYC, which has weathered income shortfalls in recent times, together with via borrowing and workers cuts, amongst different measures.

Latest audited monetary statements out there on WNYC’s web site state the nonprofit borrowed $10 million in July, 2020, noting “there’s vital uncertainty across the breath [sic] and period of enterprise disruptions associated to COVID-19, in addition to its affect on the U.S. economic system and, as such, New York Public Radio is unable to find out if it’s going to have a cloth affect on its operations.” In April, NYPR introduced the layoffs of 14 workers, together with 4 staffers at Gothamist and WNYC.

The nonprofit’s newest submitting exhibits that Walker was paid simply over $1.2 million in “base compensation,” in addition to almost $687,000 in “different reportable compensation.” That’s greater than the roughly $901,000 Walker earned the prior 12 months, her final full 12 months as CEO and President.

A screengrab of the 990 form that shows the salaries of NYPR's highest paid staffers, including CEO Laura Walker.


A screengrab of the NYPR 990

In a press release, NYPR spokesperson Jennifer Houlihan Roussel stated that Walker’s 2019 compensation “displays not solely common pay, but in addition funds due upon an worker’s departure, together with: trip payout; funds from deferred compensation plans, which she contributed to throughout her 20+ years of employment; and different contractually-obligated funds due upon departure below a multi-year contract.”

In keeping with the paperwork, Cappello, a longtime deputy to Walker, was paid almost $294,000 over the identical interval. Cappello, whom Walker reassigned within the months following the abuse allegations, reportedly left NYPR in mid-2018.

The compensation paid to Cappello displays “funds due below a multi-year contract,” Roussel stated, including that “current cost-cutting measures and the elimination of administration positions has saved New York Public Radio greater than 15% on senior management compensation.”

Roussel stated WNYC doesn’t disclose compensation particulars past what’s required in annual filings and declined to touch upon the phrases of both of these contracts, together with whether or not or by whom both contract was terminated or whether or not the contracts have been honored in full or had time remaining when Walker or Cappello left NYPR. 

The current tax submitting states that NYPR didn’t pay severances to any of its highest-paid workers in 2019.

Walker and Cappello didn’t return requests for remark. An e mail auto-reply from Walker stated she is on trip. 

Timothy Wilkins, Chairman of the New York Public Radio Board of Trustees, which hires NYPR’s President & CEO, didn’t reply to a request for remark. 

Walker, who’s now president of Bennington School in Vermont, grew to become president and CEO of NYPR in 1995 and oversaw a interval of great progress.

However Walker additionally drew criticism, together with from some present and former workers, for her dealing with of allegations of sexual harassment and bullying by outstanding WNYC hosts, together with former Takeaway host John Hockenberry, who stepped down in 2017. Just a few months later, New York Journal’s “The Minimize” first revealed allegations by a number of girls of undesirable kissing and touching, and different inappropriate or bullying habits by Hockenberry, inserting the station — and its workers — within the middle of the #MeToo motion that was taking form.

Talking on WNYC’S Brian Lehrer Present days after the article’s publication, Walker apologized, telling Lehrer, “I’ve an enormous quantity of admiration and respect for these girls for coming ahead right now and I apologize that our protocols weren’t there and our insurance policies weren’t there.”

Within the ensuing days, NYPR positioned two different male hosts, Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz, on go away whereas the corporate investigated allegations of inappropriate conduct. Each have been later fired for violating firm requirements for an “applicable and respectful work setting,” NYPR spokesperson Roussel stated on the time.

This story was produced by two freelance journalists. Investigative reporter Isaiah Thompson has labored for quite a few publications in Miami, Philadelphia and Boston, most lately at public radio station WGBH. Fernando Diaz is an editor and journalism educator who most lately served because the Edith Kinney Visiting Professor of Investigative Journalism on the Walter Cronkite College of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State College.

As a result of this text is about New York Public Radio, no modifications have been made to the story with out their approval with the intention to keep journalistic independence. The manager administration of WNYC didn’t evaluate the story previous to publication.