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Transparency Matters!

September 6, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 36

C &E News has the obligation to keep ACS members fully informed about ACS financial matters even if the disclosures might make present ACS management uncomfortable. C&EN needs to be doing a better job in this regard.

ACS executive compensation is a matter of interest to many ACS members. Starting in 2005, the ACS Board of Directors mandated the dissemination of executive compensation information disclosed in IRS 990 forms. This has been available to members at the website. In a further step forward regarding transparency, the ACS Board of Directors authorized the posting of the full 69-page ACS IRS 990 form for 2008 on This was announced in the Dec. 7 and 14, 2009, issues of C&EN. It would be good if C&EN also informed ACS members that the public multipage IRS 990 forms filed by ACS for the years 2007, 2006, and 2005 are also posted on the ACS website for comparison. It would also be helpful to ACS members if C&EN (and C&EN Online) listed the specific pages in these IRS 990 forms that report top ACS executive and board compensation.

C&EN has reported very little about the ACS v. Leadscope lawsuit; the loss of the appeal of the $40 million judgment for real damages, punitive damages, attorney fees and costs, and daily accumulating interest; and the board’s decision to appeal the last appeal decision to the Ohio Supreme Court. In this regard, neither the members nor council have been informed about the financial and manpower costs of this litigation to ACS. For instance, the public IRS 990 forms list legal expenses for 2007 and 2008 that are each more than $3 million higher than for prior years. What is the explanation?

I also find that many of the Ohio State Court documents are public—for a copying fee, and some are available on the Web.

Detailed C&EN articles about ACS executive compensation and about the ongoing ACS v. Leadscope saga would be helpful to inform ACS’s 161,000 members.

Howard M. Peters
Menlo Park, Calif.



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