To me the most telling document among the stack the US Attorney squeezed from the United Way over this mess is the one outlining the growth in King’s salary over the years. From $120,000 in 1994, to $175,000 with a $20K bonus in 1998, to $290,000 with a $95K bonus in 2008.
In other words, during the rah-rah decade of 98-08, King’s compensation doubled, mirroring the explosive growth in Charlotte’s corporate sector and local government revenue. This was not an accident. King didn’t break in and steal UW money. Charlotte’s best and brightest on her board kept throwing more money at her and didn’t consider stopping until the banking Ponzi scheme they all rode to riches crashed and burned.
Did King develop an out-sized ego ill-suited to running the community’s largest charity? Absolutely. How else do you explain lunches at Bonterra to discuss a $3400 scrap-book project to document her career? But again, this all happened in plain sight of the UW board.
Or would have, had their own mammoth egos and rampaging hubris not obscured the view.