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magazines and newspapers struggle to weather advertising dollars fleeing to the Internet, business managers have turned to commercial sponsorship to bridge the gap. Using the Dallas Morning News as a prime example of the new relationship between newspaper advertising managers and news reporters, in December 2009 Richard Pérez Peña of the New York Times reported on what had taken place at the Dallas Morning News. In his article "Some Dallas Editors Will Report to Ad Sales," Peña asked Northwestern University (IL) professor of media ethics Loren Ghiglione about the DMN's allegiance, to which Ghiglione replied, "...it strikes me as at least creating a perception issue when you have, in effect, sales managers managing news personnel." That same media ethics "perception issue" has infected another major Dallas publication: D Magazine. On March 26, 2011, the White Rock Lake Weekly sponsored a panel held at the Dallas Museum of Art to discuss the future of journalism as part of the Dallas Institute Of Humanities and Culture's "Festival of Ideas." Reporting on that discussion in the WRLW, Brooks Powell wrote "Newspaper, magazine legends discuss future of journalism," Powell said that guest panelist Christine Allison, president of D Magazine Partners LTD. had "successfully sought private sponsorship for their arts coverage, which is provided by automotive dealership owner John Eagle. Without that sponsorship, Allison said they would be forced to allocate resources to other areas." John Eagle also happens to be the president of the DMA. So it is natural to wonder if D Magazine arts writers can truly write critically of the transparency issues over at the DMA with Eagle essentially holding the purse strings to the magazine's arts department; this has all the markings of a classic conflict of interest issue. For example, when word was leaked that DMA trustee Marguerite Hoffman secretly sold a Mark Rothko painting--valued at $31.4 million--D Magazine arts writer Peter Simek reacted to the clandestine sale in his May 2010 article, "In Wake of Rothko Sale, Questions Loom Over 2005 Donations' Impact On Museum." That Rothko painting had been "irrevocably promised" to the DMA, via bequest, as set forth in the museum's "Fast Forward" catalog, before being pulled from the museum's future via the secret sale. Similarly, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky purchased a Jeff Koons sculpture, "Balloon Flower (Magenta) in 2001 for $1.2 million. That artwork was also "irrevocably promised" to the DMA, via bequest, before it was pulled from the museum's future when the Rachofskys sold it at auction in 2008 for $25.8 million. "Balloon Flower" was sold immediately following the closing of the DMA exhibition featuring the sculpture. Simek's article garnered a favorable reaction from Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento in his "Dallas Museum of Art in Hot Water" over at Clancco.com. However, the final sentence of Simek's article reads "Again, like Granberry [of the DMN], I am raising questions here. Answers will require more time and space." Well, to date there has been no follow up and next month will mark one full year since Simek made that statement. Did John Eagle tell Simek's bosses to deep-six a follow through write up about the DMA's ongoing issues of accountability and transparency to U.S. taxpayers? Since no Texas media wants to broach the subject--museumrelated careers and social positions could take embarrassing tumbles--it falls on New York, Missouri and Illinois to raise the red flags! Soon, legendary government watchdog U.S. Senator Charles "Chuck" Grassley (R-Iowa) and his "whistleblower" staff may be taking an interest in the
nonprofit ethics issues at the DMA. Powell wrote about the benefit of private sponsorship according to guest panelist Chistine Allison, "Allison also explained how the magazines under her leadership have returned to their roots in long form storytelling rather than tabloid-style gossip...are more authentic to their purpose to 'make Dallas even better.'" If Allison truly believes in what she is saying--about reforming Dallas' art scene--Allison should remind Simek of his unfinished secret sale Rothko painting story and of Simek's shallow "Art Cops" reporting about the December 2010, first installment of art historian Sam Blain's Dallas Art History blog. By the way, Simek's "Art Cops" response to the DAH blog was published solely in the print version of D Magazine's April issue, roughly 90 days after he promised to respond and has still not addressed the major issues in it. By not making "Art Cops" available on the Internet, artists, artists' rights advocates, museumgoers and others interested in the Dallas art scene have been shut out of publicly discussing the issues important to them. Another instance which Simek did not mention in "Art Cops" is the O'Hara bequest litigation. The Virginia Lazenby O'Hara 1970s $4.5 million disputed bequest merits revisiting because the other week the DMA was dragged into yet another lawsuit regarding the late Wendy Reves (Dallas) estate. Reported as another "elderly lady's" contested will case, the O'Hara bequest mirrors the Wendy Reves case by having a common litigant, the DMA. Similar to John Eagle's stature in the city's civic life, Dallas arts patron and philanthropist Margaret McDermott was in the middle of a DMA ethics tussle with Dallas taxpayers--with a subsequent lawsuit against the DMA--after it was learned that O'Hara was unduly influenced by musuem officials to change her will to include the Foundation for the Arts, a private foundation. An audiotape titled "public hearing" of the Virginia Lazenby O'Hara litigated bequest is available free of charge on Sound Cloud.com. A transcript and quotes of the audiotape's content is available at the end portion of the first installment of the Dallas Art History blog.