FOREST PARK (KTVI) - Bitter arguments at this hour among the people who are suppose to oversee the tax payer funded zoo museum district in St. Louis.
The Zoo-Museum District oversees all the taxpayer-supported cultural institutions in St. Louis including the history museum. Trustees are meeting right now arguing over whether the head of the history museum should stay and about the role of former Mayor Freeman Bosley, Jr. in a land sale.
No decision yet but sparks are flying over the history museum`s purchase of land back in 2006 and about the salary and perks of Doctor Robert Archibald, the history museum`s well-known director. A new audit report being presented to the Zoo-Museum District says Archibald personally negotiated for the sale of the property which belonged to former city Mayor Freeman Bosley. The history museum purchased it for $875,000 in 2006. The land is now worth less than $300,000. The audit report accuses former Mayor Bosley of a conflict of interest in the deal. Also at issue, Archibald`s salary and benefits package of well over a half a million dollars a year. The trustees are still meeting at this hour and still arguing while observers say the entire flap is giving the history museum and other cultural intuitions a black eye.
“Right now, we have people who are losing their homes and, uh, for back taxes, and they`re sending in money for this and someone`s making half a million dollars and 70 to 80 per-cent of that money is taxpayer money. What that`s does to the volunteers and the whole spirit of the organization when they`re holding bake sales to raise money and someone`s walking around with a half a million dollars,” said Alderman Joe Roddy.
The trustees will be meeting inside a Clayton high rise for a while. But as bitterly as they`re divided no word yet whether they`ll reach any decision. As to the audit charge that former Mayor Bosley could be guilty of conflict of interest in this whole mess? One board member calls that libelous and unfounded. Stay tuned.