Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Out of simple curiosity, and owning a single share of stock in the New York Times Company, I checked out the paper's Neediest Cases IRS 990 tax return. I want to know about every publicly available document related to the corporation that owns the nation's most influential publication.

One of the most laudable aspects of the Neediest Cases Fund is that all of the administrative costs are borne by the New York Times. None of the money donated to it goes to overhead, salaries, capacity building or other expenses. All contributions are passed along to other social welfare charities in the New York City area.

The FY 2003 IRS 990 return for the Neediest Cases Fund revealed startling information about the salaries of the top six executive officers of the company, who also comprise the board of directors of the fund. The return clearly explains the compensation listed is for service to the company, not the charity.

My hunch is that in the newspaper world, these pay levels are not out of line, but I will leave it to other media watchdogs to compare the New York Times' executives' compensation with other daily publications.

But I find it enormously ironic that I learned of the compensation by reading the tax return for the paper's Neediest Cases Fund (emphasis mine).

Here's the link to the most current IRS 990 for the fund, along with the salary information:


Russell T. Lewis, President

Solomon B. Watson IV, VP

Stuart P. Stoller, VP

James Lessersohn, Sr. VP

Rhonda L. Brauer, Secretary

R. Anthony Benten, Treasurer

Kind of odd that publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr is not a member of the fund's board, considering his father served in that capacity up until his retirement in 1997.

The IRS 990 return for the fund for that year shows what Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger took home in pay for his last year as publisher.

Here's the link and information:


Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Chairman of the Board

By the way, my last dividend check from the New York Times was for a whopping $0.16! Good thing I purchased the stock for political, not monetary, reasons.

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