Here's the whole release:
In order to achieve cost-savings and greater efficiency, the Los Angeles office of the JREF has closed effective September 1, 2014. All operations have been moved to Falls Church, Virginia.
DJ Grothe is no longer with the JREF. James Randi has taken over as acting President.
This restructuring is part of an enhanced educational agenda aimed at inspiring an investigative spirit in a new generation of critical thinkers by engaging children and their parents, as well as educators and the general public, in how to think about the many extraordinary claims we hear every day.
Anyway, so, no rumors. And, if it needs change, it surely needs it beyond an 86-year-old being acting president. Maybe Randi, like Paul Kurtz, has founder's syndrome? After all, per Wikipedia, Randi himself was chairman of the board. Maybe Grothe wasn't taking orders well enough or whatever.
Even if other people affiliated with JREF had problems with Grothe, part of that could be larger "alignment" issues. And, beyond the savings in salary and office space, a head of a nonprofit is supposed to help out with fundraising, and Grothe apparently wasn't doing that. If it's as bad as it may be, this can't be a surprise — other than it being a surprise he wasn't escorted out even earlier.
Per a Tweet by Jim Lippard, it is that bad, on funding: JREF Revenue: 2011: $1.56M, 2012: $1.29M, 2013: $887.5K.
And, neither does larger mismanagement. That includes social media mismanagement of posting the same annoucement on Facebook and adding a "no comments" at the end of it. And, now, the beginnings of a flame war between social justice warriors and others have broken out there.
And, it's being abetted by P.Z. Myers, aka Pharyngula, to whom I shall not link. (P.Z. has some information wrong, but, since I'm now also blocked from commenting there with my Yahoo account,I won't try to figure out some other way to straighten him out.)
Meanwhile, the Randi site's forums, which I know led to a lot of interesting discussion, and probably some occasional flaming, are being cut off from the organization? Jim Lippard notes that this is a few days old, and has been done by other skeptical or atheist nonprofits. That said, I think it would be smarter to kill a forum outright rather than hand its ownership over to somebody else. Branding issues, etc.
Especially given that Gnu Atheist type social justice warriors are "goosing" this whole situation, and probably have been since rumors started a year ago about Grothe's management, the forums should have either been killed outright or handed off to a third party some time ago.
Flip side is that the Gnus are surely at least partially righton the amount of libertarianism under guise of alleged skepticism that runs around JREF. If someone like Sharon Hill, the blank-check defender of Brian Dunning, is that involved, that says something.
As usual, a bit of pox on both houses from where I stand.
And, yes, bad management happens in the skeptics world. Witness both problems Paul Kurtz had at Center for Inquiry and some that his successor, Ron Lindsay, has had. Some were financial; some were other management issues.
Related to that, "founder's syndrome" doesn't necessarily just apply to the founders of non nonprofit advocacy-type groups. Witness the "single donor" issue at Center for Inquiry, withdrawing his 25 percent of budget donations when Kurtz was pushed aside. That said, in Randi's case, given that he named the organization after himself, there's an extra twist there.
Beyond that, how many skeptics' groups are needed? One commenter on Randi's forums may be right: Michael Shermer will take over The Amazing Meeting (for now), and perhaps the whole Randi shebang eventually.
And, Randi was getting $250K as chairman of the board? Really? That is founder's syndrome.
But, don't worry, Gnus; if P.Z. and his Freethought Blog co-founder Ed Brayton get the idea for a larger Gnu Atheist "portal" or something, they'll have some of the same issues, in all likelihood.