Executive director of Utah Pride Center resigns

Posted at 2:55 PM, Nov 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-14 00:16:05-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The executive director of the Utah Pride Center abruptly resigned Wednesday after allegations of poor accounting and an aggressive management style.

At a packed meeting Wednesday night, members of the LGBTQ community talked about what’s next for the non-profit group.

"I think that in order for true change to happen at the pride center, I really believe change needS to start at the top," said one community member.

Valerie Larabee served as Pride’s executive director for nine years, and just a few hours after her resignation, board member Megan Ribson told the crowd, "It is a new day at Utah Pride."

During the meeting, board members promised more transparency.

"On financial transparency, our website should have all of our 990s, all the historical ones so you can see it, you should know the budget," said board member Jesse Nix.

After losing a six-figure federal grant, Pride slashed its budget and laid off two employees.  A former board member said the non-profit's accounting is a mess and blames Larabee

"I think the funds of the organization were mismanaged,” said Allen Miller. “The controls were lax and the reporting was even laxer, but I don't believe malfeasance was actually involved."

"I'm grateful to her for stepping down," said Sharon Foster. "I think it was a very wise move, projects have outgrown her ability to handle them."

When asked whether finances were mismanaged, board president John Netto said, “No. Some visibility was lost in terms of cash flow and what our costs are going to be going into next year."

He credits Larabee for turning the Pride Festival into a profitable fundraiser and helping the non-profit group transition to a larger, more visible building in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City.

"I'm quite upset hearing about her resigning," said supporter Jared Basinger.

Now, Pride is considering bringing in an outside contractor to look closely at its books and the board's performance while they search for Larabee’s replacement.