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How will the convention business hold up in an oil-starved world? Will video conferencing start to trump air travel and hotel stays? Nobody yet knows, but San Diego taxpayers have been paying an increasing amount of money to support the region’s increasingly stressed convention industry. Take the example of the City-subsidized San Diego Convention Center Corporation. According to the latest available federal tax returns, the nonprofit outfit paid its president and CEO Carol Wallace $307,565, along with $56,454 in employee benefit plan contributions and $4232 in car allowance and other expenses. That was up dramatically from the previous year, in which Wallace got $259,361, along with $20,745 in benefits and a $6551 expense allowance. The year before that, Wallace was paid $278,568 and got $21,051 in benefits and $6940 for expenses. Another convention center employee getting the big bucks was the corporation’s vice president and general counsel Beatrice Kemp, who received $205,064, as well as $20,506 in benefits. The year before, Kemp got $197,972 and benefits of $19,797. The year before that, she got $195,411 and $19,541 in benefits. Another beneficiary of the corporate salary hikes was Mark Emch, vice president of finance, who got $182,376 along with $18,238 in benefits. The year before, he made $166,296 and $16,630 in benefits.

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