Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc pays Corrupt, Greedy Michael Grebe a Whole Lot of Money.

Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc - Michael Grebe

"An article in the Journal of Philanthropy noted that Michael W. Grebe, the former managing partner of Foley & Lardner took an unusual approach to retirement, in that he did not. Instead, the man went right to work running the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc., the Milwaukee charitable organization with 2003 assets of $579,976,984.

One thing he learned over the years at Foley is how to bring in the big bucks. Retirement does not appear to have sapped his earning power very much.

In 2002 Michael Grebe received $292,246 salary from the foundation for his 40 hours of work each week in the Lion House on N. Franklin Place. He also received employee benefit plans and deferred compensation of $34,555.

Not bad pay for a retired guy -- albeit one who worked forty hours each week in a mansion surrounded by artwork on loan from the Milwaukee Art Museum -- artwork we have written about in the past that had been contributed to the museum, we had thought, for the benefit of the public and not for the benefit of retired corporate lawyers.

Grebe must be an indefatigable retired person, since his 2003 salary from the Bradley Foundation was raised to $529,333 and his benefits increased to $42,000. How to explain the $237,000 raise in just one year?

Well, according to the foundation's IRS form 990PF, President Grebe now is listed as working 50 hours a week instead of 40. (Like we say, indefatigable.)

So, if you look at it this way, his raise is not that much -- in 2002 he made $140.50 per hour, and in 2003 he made $203.58 per hour.

Let's hope Foley and Lardner has a retirement program for its retired partners that will help guys like Grebe stay afloat in these difficult times.


Chipstone Foundation a Financial Bonanza for Milwaukee Big Shot Lawyers

Foley & Lardner partners don't have to be retired to draw large outside incomes. Take the case of W. David Knox II, a descendant of the W. D. Hoard family of Fort Atkinson. (You know the people -- they operate the National Dairy Shrine, an actual tourist attraction that has a nearly religious appeal for the lactose tolerant).

He is listed as the President, CEO and Director of Milwaukee's Chipstone Foundation in that organization's IRS reports. In 2003, the foundation, dedicated to American furniture and English porcelains had assets of $55,358,295, not counting the furniture itself, which has been written off the books in accordance with usual accounting standards -- although that has not stopped the foundation for selling millions of dollars of furniture whenever the trustees have a whim to do so.
Knox received $3,000 for attending 10 directors and committee meetings of the foundation, which is peanuts compared to retired Foley and Lardner partner Allen M. Taylor, who received $144,000 for 35 hours a week work at the foundation in that year.

Taylor also received $162,842 in contributions to employee benefit plans that year. (Back in 1990, Allen M. Taylor, then an active partner at Foley & Lardner, was happy to be paid $1,500 for his services. By 1992, Atty. Taylor received $60,000 for 20 hours work a week at the foundation. Polly Stone died in May, 1995, and Taylor received $112,000 that year. How things change, once the boss is dead!)

Foley & Lardner, the law firm, received $309,547 in fees from Chipstone in 2003, and you can assume some of that made its way to W. David Knox, who did not respond to a request for information from

But -- another entry on the tax form reads "Foley & Lardner -- W. D. Knox --type of servce -- consulting." In 2003 that sum paid to Knox was $201,812.

In 2002, Chipstone paid Foley & Lardner $244,740 for its legal work, and "Foley & Lardner -- W. D. Knox" another $234,315 in consulting fees.

In 2001 Foley & Lardner received $237,085 in legal fees, and Knox again got a consulting fee of $180,000.

The foundation owns a large home on eight acres in Fox Point, intended by the Stones to become a museum to house their collection. It also owns a home next door which is occupied by its executive director, Jonathan Prown, who was paid $164,500 in 2003.

The foundation has sold millions of dollars of its collection in recent years, averaging over $1,000,000 per piece of furniture sold.

Scores of priceless pieces from the collection have been hauled off to Williamsburg, Virginia, where it is exhibited to the public there. Prown was formerly affiliated with Colonial Williamsburg.

A few pieces are the stars of the American Collections at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The foundation also has office space in the adjacent War Memorial Building.

One thing for sure -- the partners and retired partners of Foley & Lardner have a very desirable client in Chipstone.

Other wealthy Milwaukeeans who feed at the Chipstone trough include John S. McGregor. a director who received $6,000 for attending 11 meetings, and got $2,280 in employee benefit plan contributions thrown in, Dudley J. Godfrey, Jr., of the Godfrey & Kahn law firm received $3,000 for attending 10 meetings, and Jere D. McGaffey, another Foley & Lardner bigshot who received $3,000 for his ten meetings (but no contributions to his employee benefit plan)
Too bad the Foundation has done so little otherwise to enrich the lives of Milwaukeeans of ordinary stock, for example, by building a suitable structure to house its treasures here, rather than in Virginia. -- Michael Horne "

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