[Mad about you: Bennett; Kaczynski; USAT's Paulson]
Freedom Forum flack Susan Bennett is defending the charitable foundation's decision to display the cabin where convicted "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski once holed up in Montana. The 10-by-12-foot hideaway is at the journalism foundation's controversial Newseum, which opened in new $450 million digs in April.
So, why am I surprised to see the one-time USA Today editorial writer quoted in today's Washington Post? Well, it's been four months since Bennett assured me that someone would explain what founder Al Neuharth did in 2006 to earn his $225,000 Freedom Forum salary, plus a $200,545 expense account. And I'm still waiting.
Neuharth, 84, is the retired CEO of Gannett. Freedom Forum's chairman and CEO is Charles Overby, a former Gannett vice president for news and communications. Indeed, Overby leads a group of GCI insiders who run the foundation.
Among the questions I put to Bennett on April 3 -- questions the non-profit charity refuses to answer:
- What are Neuharth's specific job duties?
- What was the purpose of his expense account?
- Did he work 40 hours a week year round?
- Who determines his compensation?
- Is there a committee of the board of trustees who sets his compensation?
- How much was Neuharth paid last year?
But wait; there's more!
There have been several developments since I first questioned Bennett about those odd payments to Neuharth.
I reported that her politically savvy boss, Overby (left), is a $165,000-a-year member of the board of directors at for-profit prison chain Corrections Corporation of America. In that capacity, Overby has contributed $25,000 to the company's political action committee -- a PAC that has battled congressional legislation that would strengthen the federal Freedom of Information Act, public documents show. (Overby has been a Corrections Corporation director since December 2001, public documents show -- a seat that still doesn't appear in his Freedom Forum bio.)
And then there's this development: Gannett Blog now has more than 17,000 readers for Bennett to continue ignoring each month.
Earlier: The tortured history of Gannett vs. Freedom Forum
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[Images: Bennett, Freedom Forum; Paulson, Indiana University]