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Detroit Institute Of Arts Directors Repay $90K For Executive Bonuses

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A memo says directors of the Detroit Institute of Arts have repaid the museum $90,000 as reimbursement for bonuses awarded to top executives in 2013.

In the memo obtained by The Detroit News, museum Chairman Eugene Gargaro Jr. apologized for making "mistakes which we regret," but emphasizing there was "no wrongdoing of any kind."

Last month, the museum defended six-figure salaries of its two top executives, saying that it didn't anticipate backlash when raises were granted a few years ago, before the city filed for bankruptcy.

Documents show that director Graham Beal and chief executive officer Annmarie Erickson each received $50,000 bonuses as well as double-digit pay increases in 2012 — Beal's salary increased 13 percent to $514,000; Erickson's increased 36 percent to $369,000. The increases came the same year voters in neighboring counties approved a yearly $23 million property tax millage to fund DIA operations for 10 years.

It was the second year in a row that Beal received a base salary raise, and the third consecutive raise for Erickson. Beal's compensation has risen 20 percent since 2010, according to the documents, while Erickson's has jumped 56 percent.

At the time, Gargaro said the compensation was based in part on personnel evaluations and the DIA's financial performance.

"When we were in dire straits, many times we gave Beal and Erickson credit for the work they've done to get us through these unique financial times," Gargaro told the newspaper. "Yes, it's a significant amount of money. That's what it takes to attract and retain top talent in our community."

Some suburban officials have criticized the museum, especially because it relies on a three-county property tax for much of its budget. Gargaro's memo, dated Tuesday, was addressed to elected officials in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties and their art authorities.

MORE: DIA Considers Asking Counties For Approval Before Granting Pay Raises

DIA Defends Executive Raises, Arguing Salaries Still Lower Than National Average

DIA Officers Got Pay Boost, $50K Bonuses After Counties Approved Tax Millage

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