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FOX 13 Investigates: University of Utah executive caught lying about public finances, but remains employed

It has been more than a month since FOX 13 exposed grandiose lies on Christopher Massimine's resume. He remains on "approved leave."
Posted at 9:42 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-09 17:43:27-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A high-paid executive at the University of Utah is still employed despite the results of a FOX 13 investigation revealing that he printed a series of grandiose lies on his resume to get the job.

FOX 13 Investigates: "The Mastermind"

FOX 13 has since learned Christopher Massimine, the managing director of Pioneer Theater Company, also lied about public finances after earning the position.

His previous lies ranged from reality TV shows with Paris Hilton to a fake "Humanitarian of the Year" award that he claimed to have won from an organization that does not exist. Massimine also claimed to be an influential producer in the video game, film, television, music, and advertising industries.

On March 31, 2021, Massimine inaccurately portrayed University of Utah finances in an article he wrote for the national industry-leading publication American Theatre.

"In FY20, PTC faced a potential $1.4 million deficit; we ended the year with a true deficit of $66,000," Massimine wrote. "We will end FY21 balanced. We didn’t achieve this by scaling back. We achieved this by simply scaling, and understanding the balancing act necessary to keep the scale even."

FOX 13 has since obtained documents from the University of Utah, showing Pioneer Theater Company's "true deficit" was $102,779.29.

“It is a big difference. It’s crazy because other people at the theater need to know what the real number is. They need to report that number on grant applications," a former employee told FOX 13. "The whole angle of the article was - 'Look how well we did thanks to my leadership!' - but he didn’t really report the numbers accurately... Pioneer Theater is a non-profit receiving money from taxpayers. They should be as conscientious as possible in reporting their numbers.”

An employee who works under Massimine tweeted her frustration upon learning the news.

"This (story) is about my boss," she wrote. "He’s an ******* and still making 4x my salary while on administrative leave," The tweet reads. "Didn’t get my annual raise again because he wanted his numbers to look good and lied to everyone. Why does he still have a job!?"

Massimine has been on "approved leave" since shortly after the University of Utah started fielding inquiries from FOX 13.

He is still entitled to more than $200,000 per year in donor and taxpayer-funded salary and benefits.

Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, has publicly called for accountability from the University of Utah.

"WHY is this scamster still being paid?! The public deserves an explanation regarding this waste of public money," he wrote on Twitter. "This story is also about a culture at the U of no one in charge being held accountable and throwing public and contributors' money to make problems go away quietly.

The university has named Massimine's temporary replacement.

Massimine has not responded to requests for comment.

Massimine earns more than $200,000 per year in tax-payer funded salary and benefits as managing director of the Pioneer Theatre Company
Massimine earns more than $200,000 per year in tax-payer funded salary and benefits as managing director of the Pioneer Theatre Company

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