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Kentucky Shakespeare Board minutes

Kentucky Shakespeare Board minutes

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Published by josephlord
In August 2012, the Kentucky Shakespeare board met to discuss allegations made against Brantley Dunaway, then the chief executive and producing artistic director.

Dunaway answered to the allegations from a report made by board member—and now board president—Allen Harris. Here are excerpts from the board minutes.
In August 2012, the Kentucky Shakespeare board met to discuss allegations made against Brantley Dunaway, then the chief executive and producing artistic director.

Dunaway answered to the allegations from a report made by board member—and now board president—Allen Harris. Here are excerpts from the board minutes.

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Published by: josephlord on Jul 16, 2013
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KENTUCKY SHAKESPEARE
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
Thursday, August 16th, 2012Attending Board MembersPresident, Marjorie Dufek,President Elect, Allen HarrisTreasurer, Donovan HayslipSecretary, Ziggy ZubricStrategic Chair, Karen RichardsonStaff AttendeesProducing Artistic Director, Brantley DunawayThe meeting was held at the 2
nd
floor conference room of ArtSpace and commenced at 3:05.The agenda was to solicit Mr. Dunaway’s responses on a memo that summarized allegations made bymultiple former staff members (see Appendix A). Beginning on July 23, several former staff memberscame forward to express complaints and frustrations about Mr. Dunaway.The former staff members were all interviewed by President Elect Harris, and he crafted the memo thatwas delivered to Mr. Dunaway at 9am on the morning of the meeting.President Dufek explained that the purpose of the meeting was to allow Mr. Dunaway the opportunityto respond to the memo. Mr. Dunaway proceeded to provide a point-by-point discussion, detailedbelow.
1. Brantley’s comments, attempts at humor, etc., are often inappropriate and sexually charged.He often comments or inquires about personal relationships. Everyone I spoke to (except Source4) mentioned this, often at length.
 Mr. Dunaway agreed that it is a sexually charged environment. He admitted to inappropriate jokes andacknowledged that it is wrong, and that he should have set a different tone. However, he qualified thisby noting that theatre is a different environment than most professional settings, and he asked that hiscomments be placed in that context. He reported that he is frequently the victim of lewd jokes andinappropriate physical behavior. He stated that as a leader, he should not have participated in suchbehavior, but asserted that this is very common in the industry, as work relationships often become very“intimate,” as the employees are often kissing and sharing their emotions in their line of work. Mr.Dunaway shared a few anecdotes of lewd behavior by other former staff members as a way of demonstrating how common it is.When asked if he inquires about employees’ personal relationships, he replied, “Absolutely,” anddiscussed several instances of employees being visibly upset by their personal situations. He stated thatit was his responsibility to discuss the matters and to probe the relationships that his employees werehaving with other employees.A group discussion ensued, and it was difficult for Mr. Dunaway to clarify why he would pry forinformation on relationships that involved two employees, as opposed to others that only involved oneemployee. He characterized his involvement as being a compassionate friend. He also stated that former
 
employees often divulged personal information voluntarily, suggesting that he was merely listening, notprobing.
2. Everyone also complains of Brantley’s tendency to yell and scream at employees in front of others, as well as his tendency to go from friendly to furious at an employee in a matter of days,if not less.
 Mr. Dunaway began, “Yes, I have a temper.” He related a story about him “losing his cookies” with Ms.Lenae Price during a heated argument over the picture to use for the cover of the program. He recalledanother instance of “blowing up” on Mr. Joe Gilbert for not performing his job well. He also claimed thatthere have been numerous explosive moments among staff members that had nothing to do with him,as a way of implying that it’s the result of working in a high-pressure atmosphere.Mr. Dunaway was asked if he had promised Ms. Price that her benefits would remain in place untilSeptember. He explained that this arrangement was forfeited when Ms. Price quit. When told of therecording that Ms. Price claims to possess, he replied, “I would like a copy of that recording.”
3. Employees, both seasonal and full-time, were used as babysitters for the Dunaway childrenand paid by Kentucky Shakespeare. This was booked as seasonal labor. Four sources all confirmthis.
 Mr. Dunaway began, “Yes, that’s true,” and he discussed multiple occasions where he required baby-sitting in order to attend events to promote the organization. He claimed that his wife has become a“face of the organization,” implying that her attendance at events also promoted the improvement of the organization, thus justifying the expense. As an example, he stated that Culver and Lourdes Hallidayare on the board because of his wife’s efforts, and he noted the amount of revenue that relationship hasbrought to the organization.Secretary Zubric asked Mr. Dunaway if he ever employed subterfuge in paying for his baby-sitting. Mr.Dunaway denied this. He also stated that he is forbidden from opening mail, categorizing expenses, andother activities that may have allowed him to conceal any babysitting payments.Mr. Dunaway stated that he had “no idea” how his babysitting expenses were entered into QuickBooksbecause Mr. Gilbert was in charge of that and had a system in place.Mr. Dunaway was asked if he has a login to QuickBooks, and he denied having one.[Later, after Mr. Dunaway left the room, Treasurer Hayslip claimed that he has personally witnessed Mr.Dunaway in the company QuickBooks.]
4. Madison Dunaway has an iPhone paid for by Kentucky Shakespeare. Two sources confirm this.
Mr. Dunaway said that this is accurate. He claimed that equity actors’ contracts stipulate that they mustbe provided a cell phone if they request one. During the 2011 season, one of the actors requested one,and it was provided. Mr. Dunaway said that the phone was added to the organization’s “family plan,”and only costs $9.99 a month. He said that terminating the phone would have cost the organizationmoney, so it “sat in a drawer” for a while until he decided to provide it to his wife, since it was alreadypaid for and not being used.
5. Brantley often refuses to provide itemized receipts for expenses. Two sources both complain of this.
 
3:33- Mr. Dunaway said that this accusation is “not true.” He asserted that Mr. Gilbert has “a system andcodes.”
6. The Dunaways use the company account at Highland Cleaners for their personal dry cleaning.This practice eliminated an $800 credit balance from the end of the 2011 summer season until the beginning of the 2012 summer. Typically this balance is used to barter for a playbill ad. Twosources confirm this.
 Mr. Dunaway claimed that this allegation is “absolutely not true.” He explained that the organizationtypically swaps ads for cleaning services. He admitted to putting a sport coat, a shirt, and a suit into acompany pile once, but argued that he could not have possibly spent that much money in dry cleaning.He stated that he has a personal account at the same drycleaner.
7. Brantley often uses the company van for personal use, including a vacation. Source2 and Source3 confirm this.
Mr. Dunaway began, “That is not true; well, it’s true and not true.” He explained that he used the van tomove organizational material to his home to store in his basement. He then added, “I
may 
have used itfor personal use.” He stated that it is a “common practice” and claimed that equity actors need to haveaccess to transportation, and that they are allowed to check the vans out for use.He claimed to have never used the van for family vacations, but noted that he did drive it to Greensville,South Carolina. Mr. Dunaway claimed that he has a cousin there owns a mechanic shop, and that thiscousin provided $1,500 of free work on the van. Mr. Dunaway described the overall trip as “an easy wayto save money.”
8. The company credit card is often used for personal expenses. Two sources confirm this.
Mr. Dunaway stated, “Absolutely not” in response to this charge, and he requested an example. Hestated that his worse transgression in this area is forgetting to hit “print receipt” at a gas station.
9. Kentucky Shakespeare paid for expenses related to the University of Virginia production,including hotel and t-shirts. Two sources confirm this.
Mr. Dunaway admitted to purchasing the shirts, claiming that they sported the organization’s logo. Hestated, “I did it for the PR value,” and he stated that it led to future contacts helpful to the organization,such as a fight choreographer.“You [the organization] paid for one set of hotels, not all of them. I was down there a couple of times.”He claimed that the organization only paid for a few extra nights of a hotel after his University of Virginia job was complete, stating that he remained to talk with a contact from another Shakespeare festival,and to connect with a member of the Brown family as a way to network the organization. Again, hestipulated that these meetings and these expenses occurred after his work at the University of Virginia.
10. Brantley spent $750 for fireworks for a company 4
th
of July party. Two sources confirm this.
Mr. Dunaway admitted to hosting a staff bbq, and claimed that the money for this event is in thebudget, and is actually less than was budgeted for the event. He noted that he used to host several smallstaff events, but decided this year to host a single big one. He clarified that the expenses included allbbq material, not just fireworks.

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