Five million identified as going from Temple in Philadelphia to Japan. Plus: what these school officials make!

Someone in my State Representative [Tom Creighton]’s office had mentioned this figure, but I never thought to look at the Form 990, the report that all non-profits with a certain amount of heft have to file with the Internal Revenue Service.

Temple spent $5,000,000 in Japan during the period July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. On its audited financials, though, it says there is only a $1,000,000 administrative fee. [Shown as (1,000), with the thousands dropped, in a consolidating elimination.]

So what happens to the other $4 million? How much do you want to bet that that’s the rent they won’t disclose for the Azabu-Juban (Tokyo) campus?

What makes this new source of public information key, is that Temple must report the Japan expenditures every year. I didn’t know about “Schedule F” of the Form 990, and it looks like a new thing that the government is requiring. (“Statement of Activities Outside the United States”.) So today there is no way to get around saying what is spent on foreign activities.

Temple Philadelphia reported that it employs 10 people at one location, and spends five million eighty-thousand dollars. It can’t be all salaries, because then those 10 employees are getting half-a-million a piece, almost as much as Ann Weaver Hart. That, in turn, would have to be reported on another part of the Temple University Form 990, which I’ll talk about below.

You might ask if the Form 990 “ties” to the audited Deloitte financials. Can we be sure that we’re comparing apples-to-apples? I say the answer is yes. In the detail of the Form 990, I got tuition revenue to tie to the number reported by Deloitte. I almost have expenses tied, and what this means is that the flow of money in Temple Japan, which is known on the books as “Temple Educational Support Services, Inc.”, or TESS, is consolidated into the Form 990 numbers.

TESS is a Japan operation, so the Form 990 would not report the $24 million that TESS spent in 2009. That’s why you just see $5,080,000. That’s the money that is going out of Philadelphia. NOT the $1,000,000 that Temple in Philly charges to TESS. Temple charges one million to the Japan ops, but spends five million on TESS/Temple Japan’s behalf. The other four million a year is paying the rent and other items.

I just really wish they had been honest about this when I asked the question in October 2009. The Form 990 that I am reading, the first with this new Schedule F, was reported out in May 2010. So there really is no excuse. I appreciate that Temple’s website says these items are [ehem, all] the information that the public is entitled to under Pennsylvania disclosure laws. But that’s a little cheap an excuse, when you have the alumni office in the school asking all of us Temple-connected Pennsylvanians to contact/pressure our state representatives and senators to make sure that the money keeps flowing out of Harrisburg.

Just last night, I got a general e-mail from Kenneth Lawrence, Jr., the Senior Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs. I am part of the “Temple Advocates Legislative Outreach Network” or TALON. Funny, how that is, but I guess that it is. I don’t advocate against Temple necessarily, because, as you may know my saying:

“Temple does a number of wonderful things. But in other ways, it really smells.”

I think Governor Corbett has been looking at it more like, Temple does wonderful things, but man, it costs. So he proposed taking the $180-or-so million that Temple gets from the Pennsylvania Treasury and cutting that in half, to about $90 million.

Accoding to Ken Lawrence, TALON went into action, and convinced the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to propose restoring $45 million of that cut.

You and your peers have played an important role in communicating the value and importance of state support for Temple University. Members of the Temple community have sent nearly 6,000 letters to the General Assembly, visited the office of each member in Harrisburg, and have rallied both on campus and in Harrisburg to vocalize support for Temple. These efforts have clearly paid off, but we must continue to work together to secure a fair appropriation for our university.

When I sent to Representative Creighton and Senator Brubaker, my letter was more along the lines of what kind of money is Temple spending in Japan? Maybe no one at TALON headquarters read that, though. I am all for Temple getting a “fair appropriation”, as Lawrence puts it. But what is fair?

You ought to look at Form 990, if you are interested in this particular topic, and see what the highest paid officers of Temple University get paid every year. Here is a screen shot of just part of the list, (click to enlarge), with Ann Weaver Hart at the top of the chart. She is, by no means, the highest paid person connected with the University and affiliated hospital, however.

I think it goes all the way from her listing, down to former law school dean and former Temple Vice President Robert Reinstein, who made $386,000 as a base.

I wonder, when Ken Lawrence asks all of us TALON people, to talk to our representatives about making sure Temple gets a “fair allocation” from Harrisburg, what exactly does that mean? People on that list, making $300,000, or $400,000 or $500,000–is that part of the “fair”? Wouldn’t you think that a school receiving state money for 25% of its budget would be more–how shall I say it?–“tight” about salaries?

I appreciate that Temple is “rededicating” itself to Japan, and apparently willing to spend an extra $4 million to Tokyo landlords and suppliers in its show of solidarity with the people of Miyagi Prefecture, a hundred miles away. Shouldn’t Temple also rededicate itself to the Pennsylvania community?