MusiCares Launches an Official Investigation Into Harassment Allegations

MusiCares, the Recording Academy’s non-prit wing, has hired law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP to look into a fired employee’s claims harassment.

In a letter to MusiCares members, MusiCares chairman Michael McDonald wrote, “With any charity, trust is earned and can never be taken for granted. Needless to say, we welcome their findings and will act on their recommendations.”

Last month, a former employee, VP Dana Tomarken, accused Academy president and CEO Neil Portnow steering money away from MusiCares in order to fund a deficit created by this year’s Grammy telecast in New York City. She also alleged that Portnow was behind a deal to hold the MusiCares Person the Year event at Radio City Music Hall instead Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.  The move allegedly resulted in a $4 million drop in fundraising, from $5 million in 2017 down to $1 million this year.

Tomarken claimed to be a victim workplace harassment from two male coworkers.  She was ultimately fired on April 16th this year, after 25 years at the Academy.  At issue was a $2,500 bill for a MusiCares auction item that she was late in paying.

Portnow responded to Tomarken, saying, “As Ms. Tomarken well knows, neither MusiCares nor the Recording Academy ever intended to reduce, nor will they reduce, the amount financial support made available to MusiCares clients in need.”

A few days, later, Portnow confirmed rumors that he would not be seeking another term as head the Academy.

McDonald told board members that MusiCares is taking Tomarken’s allegations “very seriously.”

McDonald stated that, although he could only share so much on the topic “due to legal and privacy issues,” Tomarken’s firing came after “a full investigation.”