9/11 museum awarded bonuses to 12 highest paid executives

After shutting down for six months during the pandemic and laying off or on leave of 60% of its staff, the cash-strapped 9/11 Memorial and Museum gave each of its 12 top executives $ 1,000 in bonuses paid, The Post learned.

The bonus brought total compensation in 2020 for CEO Alice Greenwald, who recently announced that she was to resign, at $ 564,500, according to the organization’s latest IRS filing.

Built to remember the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and to honor the 2,958 murdered people, the memorial and museum suffered a big financial blow during the pandemic and are still struggling to recover.

The bonuses were funded by an anonymous donor and limited for this purpose, spokeswoman Lee Cochran said.

“The donation was intended to recognize the exceptional dedication of a very hard-working staff” who led the organization after COVID-19 forced the shutdown in March 2020 and produced virtual education programs during the shutdown, Cochran said .

The 9/11 memorial and museum struggled to cover operating expenses after losing millions in sales in 2020.
Helayne Seidman

Besides Greenwald, 11 top staff who each raised $ 187,000 to $ 347,000 in 2020 also received the $ 1,000 bonus. The remaining 155 employees received unspecified bonuses “based on length of employment”. said Cochran. It did not disclose the amounts or total spent on bonuses. “Everyone has something.”

The wages anger an advocacy group, 9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters and World Trade Center Victims, who want the National Park Service to run the site.

“It’s a cash cow for museum managers. Their salaries are exorbitant, ”said retired FDNY deputy chief Jim Riches, chairman of the group, whose son of firefighter Jimmy Riches was killed on September 11.

Chairman and CEO, The 9/11 Memorial and Museum Alice M. Greenwald
The CEO of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, Alice Greenwald, had previously been criticized for trying to cancel events in person on the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2020 terrorist attacks.
Getty Images

“It was built to honor the victims and tell the story of 9/11. They make money with my son’s blood. It’s a shame.

When the museum closed, the sale of tickets and tours increased from $ 74.7 million in 2019 to $ 11.2 million in 2020. After its reopening, it rose to $ 18.9 million in 2021, Cochran said. This loss of that revenue, which covered 91% of operating expenses, was devastating.

Now the memorial and museum, which ended 2020 in the red, are making a case for taxpayer dollars. He lobbied for a bill sponsored by Northern State Representative John Katko to require the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to provide a one-time grant of $ 5-10 million for operations, maintenance and security.

An American flag flies at Ground Zero in front of the entrance to the National September 11 Memorial Museum in the NE corner of the memorial site.
The bonuses to the leaders of the 9/11 memorial and the museum were funded by an anonymous donor, according to a spokesperson.
Helayne Seidman

The memorial, which is patrolled by both the NYPD and port authority police, also spends around $ 700,000 per month on private security, Cochran said.

Board member Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles Burlingame was the pilot of the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon, told a Congressional subcommittee last month that the extra security is crucial in thwarting terrorist attacks.

“Our site is a place of great interest for people who would like to harm us,” she said, recalling the 2017 Halloween terrorist attack by a man who killed eight people while that he was driving a van on a cycle path along the Hudson River near Ground. Zero.

9/11 Memorial and Museum Executive Director Alice Greenwald commemorates the 25th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing at the North Reflection Pool on February 26, 2018.
9/11 Memorial and Museum Executive Director Alice Greenwald commemorates the 25th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing at the North Reflection Pool on February 26, 2018.

Riches’ 9/11 family group is urging Congress to reject the offer.

“Do the memorial and the museum really need $ 10 million to fund the private security guards, or do they need the money to offset their wages and out of control expenses?” The group said in a statement. “Once again, the 9/11 Memorial Museum calls on federal taxpayers to support their inflated and unsustainable budget.”

The memorial and museum spending for 2020 was $ 84.8 million, including $ 22.1 million for employee salaries and benefits.

Chairman and CEO, The 9/11 Memorial and Museum Alice M. Greenwald
Greenwald has said she is stepping down as CEO.
AP Photo / Richard Drew

It ended the year with a deficit of $ 47 million, of which $ 29.2 million was depreciation of the building and equipment, officials said. The cash loss was $ 17.9 million.

Red ink would have been worse, but 139 people – mostly board members – donated $ 5,000 and more. The board’s “emergency fundraising campaign” has raised around $ 45 million to date, Burlingame said.

A mystery donor who gave $ 10 million is not former mayor Mike Bloomberg, Cochran said. Bloomberg, chairman of the board, previously loaned the organization $ 15 million, which has not been repaid.

Tribute of Light's blue beams pierce the air near the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in Manhattan.
The 9/11 Memorial and Museum currently spends $ 700,000 per month on private security expenses each month.
AP Photo / Hiro Komae, File

In April 2020, the memorial and museum also received a loan of $ 4.6 million from the Federal Paycheck Protection Program. The funds lasted until June, Cochran said. The layoffs and holidays were executed on July 1. The loan was canceled last year.

Currently, 188 people are on staff, up from 340 before the pandemic.

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