We gave oversight to the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, a local 501c3 organization in Portland, Maine with executive pay as high as $560,000 a year.
- Your organization at OpenTheBooks.com has been giving oversight to local organizations that received $1 million Covid-aid forgiven loans. What are you highlighting this week?
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute received a $1.1 million forgiven paycheck protection program loan in 2020. PPP loans were meant to help mom and pop businesses on Main Street whose businesses were shut down during the economic lockdown.
However, we didn't see any financial need by the Gulf of Maine Research Insitute -- in 2020-2021 their net assets grew from $24 million to $27.6 million. Their CEO made $428,356 from the charity and another $126,1110 from their affiliated property management charity. That's total income of nearly $560,000 during the pandemic.
- When you reached out to them for comment, what did they say?
The spokesperson said the CEO pay is paid at market rates, reviewed by a third-party consultant, is compensated based on the success of the organization.
Since 2014, Gulf of Maine Research Institute paid their CEO a total of $2.6 million and their affiliated property nonprofit paid him another $800,000. That's a total of $3.4 million in CEO compensation over the last eight years.
(Much of the organization's revenues come from government. For example, in 2020, the research institute had $15 million in revenues and $6 million of those revenues were from government.)
- Gulf of Maine is a private organization -- although a charity non-the-less -- why investigate them?
The $1.1 million forgiven PPP loan tipped us off and when we investigated further, we found the high compensation. Then, the largest net asset increases during the pandemic. Then, we found they were substantially funded by government, taxpayer dollars.
Then, we found the substantial increase in stockpiled assets: In fact, since 2014, the net assets of the organization increased by $17 million, from $10 million to $27 million.