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November 19, 2015

Calif. Reviewing Whistle-Blower Complaint at San Francisco Museums

California Attorney General Kamala Harris's office is investigating allegations of financial impropriety at San Francisco's Fine Arts Museums in connection with a $450,000 payment to an ailing former staffer, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. City auditors are also reviewing the organization's books in the wake of a claim by the museums' former chief financial officer that CEO Dede Wilsey ordered the payout without getting board approval.

Citing unamed sources, the Chronicle says the attorney general's office has asked the board that runs the de Young and Legion of Honor museums — the two institutions that make up the Fine Arts Museums — to turn over bank statements and other financial documents going back two years.

Ms. Wilsey, a noted Bay Area philanthropist and socialite who also chairs the museums' board, has denied any wrongdoing. The payment went to a city-employed engineer who was assigned to the museums until he suffered a heart attack last year. Organization officials have said it was made at the recommendation of Michele Gutierrez, the then-CFO who filed the complaint. Ms. Gutierrez was fired after her allegations became public, the Chronicle previously reported.