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RECORDING ACADEMY RESPONDS TO ALLEGATIONS

Following a Variety story detailing allegations from a former MusiCares executive, the Recording Academy—the board of which is currently assembled at the Fairmont Kea Lani in Maui for its annual meetings, and dealing with the fallout from a different volcano—has issued a rebuttal of certain key points, which appears below. The former VP, Dana Tomarken, who was terminated in April after a 25-year tenure at the Academy, made her assertions in a lengthy missive. Among her claims is that Grammy boss Neil Portnow "steer[ed] money away" from MusiCares after a shortfall resulting from this year's NYC-based broadcast, that he cut a deal to move the yearly Person of the Year gala at Radio City Music Hall rather than Barclays Center, ostensibly losing more money, and that the reason given for her firing was not paying for an auction item in a timely manner. She also levels accusations of "workplace abuse and harassment" at unspecified other people. You can read the entire piece here.

In responding to the article, the Recording Academy issued this response:

While we will not address point by point the letter from Ms. Tomarken, who was recently terminated following a thorough investigation, we respond as follows:

 (1) The decision as to the venue for this year’s Person of the Year event was made after careful consideration of all options, and input from all appropriate individuals. MusiCares’ interests were not sacrificed in favor of the interests of the Recording Academy.

(2) As Ms. Tomarken well knows, neither MusiCares nor the Recording Academy ever intended to reduce, nor will they reduce, the amount of financial support made available to MusiCares clients in need. MusiCares continues to provide the highest level of service to people in need across our music community, as evidenced by the four-star rating it earned, once again, in February from Charity Navigator—the highest rating the independent charity watchdog organization awards. Simply, our commitment and support will not be diminished.

 (3) Ms. Tomarken did not raise the issues relating to alleged “workplace abuse and harassment” until after her employment was terminated. An independent investigation of these allegations was immediately commenced. Based on the outcome of that investigation, appropriate action (if any) will be taken. Both the Recording Academy and MusiCares take all allegations of this kind seriously.

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