NewsFox 13 Investigates


University of Utah will pay $175,000 to executive who tricked them with grandiose lies

massimine with karen.jpeg
Posted at 7:55 PM, Aug 18, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah has agreed to a settlement with a high-paid executive who fooled them with outlandish claims about his work experience to get the job.

FOX 13 uncovered Massimine's career of widespread lies in a special investigative report that aired in June.

He remained employed, on paid leave, for more than two months.

FOX 13 Investigates: High-paid University of Utah executive lied on resume, published fake articles

According to a settlement dated August 6, 2021, the University of Utah will pay Massimine a total of $175,000.

The settlement is contingent on Massimine's resignation, and prevents any further legal action.

"The parties desire to settle fully and finally any differences that may exist between them," the settlement reads.

According to the University of Utah, the money is coming entirely from Pioneer Theatre Company's budget, which includes grants and donor funds.

This is despite the fact that Pioneer Theatre Company had no involvement in the settlement or any employment decisions.

"As a season ticket holder for over 20 years and an annual donor, I am beyond disappointed, frankly disgusted that a fraudulent employee could get a settlement after his lies were exposed," wrote Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay. "I will never donate another dollar."

Massimine dubbed himself the "Mastermind," claiming to have been a major player in the film, television, music, theatre, video game, and advertising industries.

Despite stating he had worked on some of the most well-known projects of the past two decades, many of his claims were proven to be false.

Massimine became the managing director of the university's Pioneer Theatre Company in 2019, earning more than $200,000 per year in donor and taxpayer-funded salary and benefits.

When hired, the university touted Massimine as a two-time Tony Award nominee, although a spokesperson with Tony Award Productions told FOX 13 he never received a nomination.

Massimine continued to lie about his career after receiving the job, telling the school he had been awarded "Humanitarian of the Year" from an organization that was later found to not exist.

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

FOX 13 discovered Massimine used taxpayer money to pay for the trip to Washington D.C., accepting the fake award from the fake organization.

Massimine announced his resignation on Monday, citing mental illness.

"There is a fair amount of truth within the reporting, withstanding discrepancies," Massimine wrote. "Regardless, I take responsibility for errors in my resume but stand by my work product throughout my career."

The University of Utah initially declined to reveal the terms of the settlement.

Lauren Scholnick, the employment attorney representing Massimine, declined to comment.

It remains unclear how Massimine passed background checks in his application for the position.

The university confirmed it has also entered into a settlement with Jonathan West of Management Consultants for the Arts, the search firm tasked with vetting candidates for the position.

Management Consultants for the Arts charged nearly $36,000 for its efforts.

West declined to comment.

According to a settlement dated July 7, 2021, Management Consultants for the Arts agreed to pay $17,964.31 back to the University of Utah.

"The issue was settled to the satisfaction of the university," a University of Utah spokesperson wrote.

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