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Former board member, Children's Museum executive director clash

By WKTV News

(WKTV) - The Children's Museum executive director and a former board member are at odds.

He claims he was removed from the board Monday for questioning the executive director's management of the museum's finances. She says it's because he's been making -- and continues to make -- inappropriate statements.

The Children's Museum board of directors unanimously voted to remove Chris Gordon from the board on Monday. Executive Director Marlene Brown says it's because Gordon has been publicly discussing private museum business. Gordon says he has his own ideas as to the reasons for his removal.

"For her to delete me off the Web page, make accusations that I wasn't on the board, then say 'Oh, no, he was on the board. He wasn't board chairman,' all these things that she's down is obviously her reaction toward being caught for the things that she's done because she doesn't want to answer them," Chris Gordon said.

Specifically, Gordon seeks answers to the vague "other expenses" the museum had of around $50,000 a year between 2010 and 2012.

"We don't know what those expenses are," Gordon said. "We ask for receipts, things like that nature, this is what it turns into.

But Brown says those expenses are delineated on the museum's 990 tax forms. One of the expenses: An unusually high $3,400 phone bill in 2012. Gordon also calls into question Brown's ownership of the building and its property.

"I mean, the transfer of a building in lieu of pay for a nonprofit organization is obviously against the law," Gordon said. "There's no laws that are even out there for that. The last I knew, the court has to decide on the transfer of any nonprofit organization to anybody's personal name."

Brown says the transfer to her mandates that the museum will always remain a museum. She says she never cashed her paychecks for several years because the museum didn't have the money to pay her.

Gordon says he's leaving Utica for the answers he seeks.

"I did retain an attorney today," he said. "The attorney is going to the state. The state is going to look into it."

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