GRAND RAPIDS, MI — A former Grand Rapids Art Museum administrator has filed a ‘whistleblower’ lawsuit against the museum, claiming he was terminated because he sought to stop financial violations.

Donald Neil Bremer filed the lawsuit in late September, claiming he was fired as the museum’s chief operating officer in June because he pressed to stop the reallocation of donor-restricted funds for general operating purposes.

Bremer was hired in June 2015 after leaving his job as director of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. He was fired from the GRAM in June 2017.

In the lawsuit, Bremer claims he advised GRAM Chief Executive Officer Dana Friis-Hansen and other administrators, on several occasions, that funds were being improperly diverted.

But he said other administrators took no corrective action.

Lawyers for Bremer said the use of “restricted donations” for other uses, such as basic museum operations, is a violation of federal law.

“When a nonprofit that relies extensively on donations from the community acts in a cavalier fashion with its entrusted funds, this undermines the trust donors have for all nonprofits,” Bremer said in a statement released by his lawyers.

Museum officials released a statement about the lawsuit Thursday.


For information, education, and answers to frequently asked questions about Whistleblowers, see the Whistleblower FAQ and Education Page.

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