Document | What the Kentucky Shakespeare Board Heard About Brantley Dunaway

In August 2012, the Kentucky Shakespeare board met to discuss allegations made against Brantley Dunaway, then the chief executive and producing artistic director. 

Dunaway answered to the allegations from a report made by board member—and now board president—Allen Harris. Here are excerpts from the board minutes.

The full document is posted at the bottom.

Dunaway resigned this week.

‘Sexually Charged Environment’

1. Brantley’s comments, attempts at humor, etc., are often inappropriate and sexually charged. He often comments or inquires about personal relationships. Everyone I spoke to (except Source4) mentioned this, often at length.

Mr. Dunaway agreed that it is a sexually charged environment. He admitted to inappropriate jokes and acknowledged that it is wrong, and that he should have set a different tone. However, he qualified this by noting that theatre is a different environment than most professional settings, and he asked that his comments be placed in that context.

‘Temper’

2. Everyone also complains of Brantley’s tendency to yell and scream at employees in front of others, as well as his tendency to go from friendly to furious at an employee in a matter of days,if not less.

Mr. Dunaway began, “Yes, I have a temper.” He related a story about him “losing his cookies” with Ms. Lenae Price during a heated argument over the picture to use for the cover of the program. He recalled another instance of “blowing up” on Mr. Joe Gilbert for not performing his job well.

‘Employees … Used as Babysitters’

3. Employees, both seasonal and full-time, were used as babysitters for the Dunaway children and paid by Kentucky Shakespeare. This was booked as seasonal labor. Four sources all confirm this.

Mr. Dunaway began, “Yes, that’s true,” and he discussed multiple occasions where he required babysitting in order to attend events to promote the organization. He claimed that his wife has become a “face of the organization,” implying that her attendance at events also promoted the improvement of the organization, thus justifying the expense.

Improper Company Van, Credit Card Use Denied

7. Brantley often uses the company van for personal use, including a vacation. Source2 and Source3 confirm this.

Mr. Dunaway began, “That is not true; well, it’strue and not true.” He explained that he used the van to move organizational material to his home to store in his basement. He then added, “I may have used it for personal use.” He stated that it is a “common practice” and claimed that equity actors need to have access to transportation, and that they are allowed to check the vans out for use.

He claimed to have never used the van for family vacations, but noted that he did drive it to Greensville, South Carolina. Mr. Dunaway claimed that he has a cousin there owns a mechanic shop, and that this cousin provided $1,500 of free work on the van. Mr. Dunaway described the overall trip as “an easy way to save money.”

8. The company credit card is often used for personal expenses. Two sources confirm this.

Mr. Dunaway stated, “Absolutely not” in response to this charge, and he requested an example. He stated that his worse transgression in this area is forgetting to hit “print receipt” at a gas station.

Cash Flow ‘Poorly Managed’

Treasurer Hayslip claimed to have personally witnessed Mr. Dunaway in the organization’s QuickBooks account, and it was suggested that Mr. Dunaway is using a former employee’s login information. Treasurer Hayslip again stated that he is sure that Mr. Dunaway has access to QuickBooks.

President Dufek stated that cash flow is poorly managed, and the committee agreed that bookkeeping cannot be a function of the office staff.

President Dufek summarized the board’s decision as: “Do you think he’s an honest person or not?”

Dunaway Dismissal ‘Could Impact Relationships in the Community’

President Elect Harris noted that the dismissal of Mr. Dunaway could impact relationships in the community. He stated his understanding from Mr. Dunaway that Brown-Forman employee Mr. Jim Welch had agreed to solicit $500,000 in commitments by January 1, 2013.

President Dufek, who recently spoke with Mr. Welch, clarified that this commitment had explicitly not been made, and that the matter was still unresolved and speculative. President Dufek also said that during her discussion with Mr. Welch, the topic had been raised on whether or not Mr. Dunaway is up for such a stressful position.

The full minutes of that August board meeting are below:

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