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Former Getty Chairman Returns Funds to the J. Paul Getty Trust

August 18, 2006

LOS ANGELES—The J. Paul Getty Trust announced today that Dr. David Gardner, who earlier had retired as chairman of the Board of Trustees, and who was hired in September 2004 to write a comprehensive history of the Getty and its programs, will return to the trust approximately $99,000 in connection with payments the trust made to him for his work on the project.

In a letter to the current board and trust officers and program directors, Dr. Gardner said that while the Getty history project was launched with great promise and high expectations, he encountered unanticipated setbacks on the project, and in view of the challenges facing the trust at that time, he and the trust agreed to terminate the project in March 2006. 

Gardner wrote, “I deeply regret the misunderstanding that attended my appointment by the Getty in September of 2004 to write a history of the trust and the ensuing difficulties at the Getty these past two years, which were the principal cause of my decision last March to withdraw from this project before its scheduled completion in September 2007.  The history of the Getty, its impact and contributions in Los Angeles and the world, is an important story that should be told.”

Dr. Gardner’s letter acknowledged that his contract, under which he had received a total of $178,158 in compensation, had become a distraction for the trust and he and the trust agreed to a settlement in order to put to rest any claim that he had been overcompensated on the history project. 

Based on a review by the Getty’s tax counsel, the Getty will report the funds returned to the trust by Dr. Gardner as “excess compensation” on an amended IRS Form 990-PF and a related IRS Form 4720.  The trust’s reporting of this transaction is designed to ensure strict compliance with IRS regulations, and does not indicate any wrongful intent on Dr. Gardner’s part. 

The board noted that Dr. Gardner has been a strong supporter of the Getty over many years, and his contributions to the Getty’s mission have been significant and valuable, including twelve years of service on the Getty’s Board of Trustees.  After completing the maximum service as a three-term board member, Dr. Gardner agreed to write the Getty history, for which he was considered to be uniquely qualified.  Dr. Gardner is a published author, who is extremely familiar with the institution and closely acquainted with many of the trustees, officers and curators who had played a significant role in the history of the Getty Trust.

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Ron Hartwig
Getty Communications Department

About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

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