In Tower Fight, D Magazine Editor Tim Rogers Fails to Disclose His Wife's Employer Did Work for Nasher Center

Categories: Schutze

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Once again, D Magazine Editor Tim Rogers demonstrates that he struggles with severe intellectual and ethical challenges. Or something.

In mid-April D Magazine published a cover story called "Towering Inferno," written by Rogers, about claims by the Nasher Sculpture Center downtown that it is being damaged by reflected light from a new high rise called Museum Tower. Since that story came out, Rogers has taken to the blogs again and again to lambaste what he calls the "Museum Tower death ray."

Rogers' version of things is that Museum Tower, which complies with all of the city's requirements and was awarded all the necessary city approvals before construction, nevertheless is too reflective and is basically subjecting the Nasher Sculpture Center to a slow death by light.

As Unfair Park has reported, lawyers for the owners of Museum Tower have accused D Magazine and The Dallas Morning News of "pursuing advocacy journalism to serve the agenda of one side of this complex situation."

What Rogers has neglected to share directly with his readers -- something he still denied to me this morning even after his wife admitted it -- is that his wife, Christine Rogers, is part-owner of a public relations firm called SparkFarm that has represented the Nasher in the past and still lists the Nasher as a "current client" on its web page.

That's a material personal financial interest in keeping the Nasher happy with the Rogers family. All he had to do was disclose it in his story. He did not.

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SparkFarm's client list, from the company website. We added the highlight, in case you missed it.
Knowledge of this connection may have been floating around in the rumor mill for some time. But Rogers has never declared it. In fact he continues to deny it.

Rogers wrote me early this morning to say, among other things, that, "SparkFarm doesn't represent the Nasher."

But his wife had already emailed me several hours earlier to say, "A former member of The SparkFarm team provided project-based support for two traveling exhibitions and an event at the museum. The work occurred between March and May 2011. Our firm has not worked with the Nasher since then."

And the SparkFarm web page shows a red asterisk -- or did last night when I screen-grabbed it -- to show that, among a much longer list of entities SparkFarm has represented in the past, the Nasher Sculpture Center is one of a shorter list that SparkFarm still works for.

I asked the Nasher last night if SparkFarm had represented the Nasher in any way in the Museum Tower controversy. Kristen Gibbins, a spokesperson for the Nasher, emailed me this morning to say, "SparkFarm was not paid to advise or represent the Nasher on the Museum Tower story/situation. There was no involvement whatsoever."

In her message to me, Christine Rogers also said, "I'm not sure how much you know about Tim and me, but I can tell you this: We don't agree on much. Because of this, and to avoid any conflict of interest, we don't discuss work with each other. Our marriage and our jobs are better off for it."

I am perfectly willing to accept that at face value. My own wife and I both work in the media business in Dallas, and for years we have maintained a pretty scrupulous separation of church and state (don't ask me which one is which) where proprietary information about our employers is involved.

But what about the people who own Museum Tower? Do they accept this explanation at face value? They have informed me this morning they are in meetings but will call me ASAP. I'll let you know.

Here's the point. Rogers needed to say it upfront, first and foremost. The rumor mill and anonymous blog comments don't count.

In Rogers' position, taking a strong advocacy position for one side and against the other in a dogfight, you absolutely need to declare upfront if one of the dogs is yours. You have to disclose at the very beginning any personal material interest you may have or could be perceived to have in the outcome of the fight.

Look, part of this is sort of an I.Q. thing. Why declare it yourself? So Jim Schutze won't be able to declare it for you in "Get Off My Lawn."

In January of 2011 I accused Rogers of being I.Q.-challenged over this same sort of thing. The Dallas school system was obligated to carry out a special internal investigation after complaints were lodged that Rogers had used his clout with the school system's public relations office to get his kid into a certain school.

I said at the time I thought the basic underlying journalistic principle in that ugly scenario was, "Do not call the same people you beat up on all the time and ask them for an under-the-table favor." You know. How smart is that?

So now he defends the Nasher and goes after Museum Tower. Fine. That's his right. Glad to see the magazine is capable of an edge sharper than a butter knife once in a while.

But his wife's company has a website listing the Nasher as a current client. She admits her firm has done work for the Nasher in the not-too-distant past. Rogers never declares any of this to his readers. He continues to try to weasel out of it today, after his wife has admitted it to a reporter.

And what is the big investigative tool needed to ferret out all of this? An Internet connection and a mouse.

I'll let you know when I hear from Museum Tower.

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14 comments
Towski
Towski

 Well, it's obviously at least twice.

Bob
Bob

 There is an old post (or two) out there on Front Burner where Tim touts his wife's work on at least one of the Arts District's projects. D's "conflict of interest" is laughable because they are a pay-for-play magazine. Nothing wrong with that; it's their model.

Bob
Bob

Correction. ALL of the Ticket guys hate him. Gordo tolerates him because because he can leverage D's platform. Ironically, most of the Ticket guys have a screw loose, whereas Tim is a decent guy... unfortunately, he's Wick's minion, which causes him to be a douche. Good drinker and Irish Catholic, though

Bob
Bob

 Well, Tim is a water boy for Wick, but this is really about competing for the "market place of ideas,' right Tim?

Bob
Bob

 Jim and Bill and Ying and Yang.

Honeybee
Honeybee

Fear not, Towski. No need to flatter yourself and get creeped out that I think twice about you.You really aren't on my radar except that I completely loathe a bully and that's how I see Rogers.So when I see your unusual name kissing his ass over there, it sticks in my head.Rogers= a douche and a bully, Towski = likes RogersZac and Bethany are hilarious; Liz is so completely underrated I feel badly for her.  She deserves way more acclaim.  D should cut Tim loose and unleash the better and less insecure writers they have. We literally will not buy an issue of D because of Tim Rogers.   When I told my husband about the time he called the guy, recorded the guy, and posted the recording, my husband told a bunch of people in his office and their response was the same as ours:  what the hell is wrong with Tim Rogers.   That you don't seem to have a problem with that is what is creepy to me.

Sparky
Sparky

 I did not, no, so I am not a consumer under the DTPA, so I have no standing to sue under it, you are correct.  But who's to say others haven't done so?  And if the SF folks didn't post it on their site with the intention that others see it and rely on it, why did they put it there?

RUSKNATIVE
RUSKNATIVE

but does she have a VALID BIRTH CERTIFICATE and published college transcripts?

Bill Marvel
Bill Marvel

Sister, Your comment contains so many novelties -- that is to say, bald misstatements of fact -- that even Jim must be blushing by now at the nunsense he's unleashed. Let's just do a couple of them. We'll start with this howler: "Arts District was a partner, in screwing over the police and fireman's pension fund." That is to say, all those nasty museums and theaters and concert halls got together and snookered the the police and firemen out of their hard-won pensions? That is, the perps were really the victims here, mugged on Flora Street by a bunch of artists and actors? Tricked into financing this ill-considered project, then pumping it up to twice its planned height when they can't unload a couple floors worth of condos in an overstuffed market?  We may be a "joke to the art world," but a good part of that world slobbered all over itself to get the Nasher Collection. And now it's ours, jokes on them. But tell us, "Sister," don't you think quoting -- in this case misquoting -- the New Testament to imply that Museum Tower has been crucified is more than a little, uh, blasphemous? You can't hide behind that habit, Sister. In fact, there's something about your arguments and they way you phrase them that strikes me as slightly familiar.            

Human Being
Human Being

 I've been a visitor of the Nasher for years and I've never said that it needs a screen. Frankly, I though the place was pretty much perfect.

Daily Reader
Daily Reader

Then why is Texas in a lawsuit because they wan to buy water from Oklahoma?  

Sister Mary explains
Sister Mary explains

I confess, you are a sap!  And you did not answer the question. The fact that you and others are trying so hard to prove your devotion to the arts community, in hopes they will hire you, by  putting down Jim, is pathetic. Opening your eyes to what is going on in this town. This topic feels like the use to be's are all stuck in TV Land. A project has to get permits on a building and everything has to be approved and signed off on. The height was not a surprise! It's doubtful any of it was a surprise to anyone in the Arts District. Why, because the city was very involved in its financing and development and the Arts District was a partner, in screwing over the police and fireman's pension fund. Many of those same representatives are no doubt investors in D. Some good comments above in the popular section about advertising, ethics, morals and more importantly, the squirrelly small town way we do business in Dallas and why we are a joke to the arts world. And we wonder why Austin continually beats us out as a better place for arts?  Tim Rodgers wife's clients include AFI, Museum of Nature & Science, TEDxSMU, The Dallas Morning News, D Magazine, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas Center for Architecture, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau?  And let's not forget our Arts District leader, use to be a politician.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph! With the exception of the food trucks and free days, it's no wonder our arts district is failing with locals! And why we have a huge turnover in our arts district with key personnel. It's a sad commentary that repeats itself with our other large non-profits and city officials. Yet another reason, outsiders roll their eyes at how Dallas does Dallas.  Wash, Rinse, Repeat.  For a long time, the investors in that ragazine should have done something. But they didn't. Why because many have a hand in the the above non-profits. “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." "And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.  And the people stood by, looking on......" 

Bill Marvel
Bill Marvel

The art HAD a Northern exposure, scottindallas. Before they built Museum Tower.

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