The details of the settlement were not made public at the time, but eye-opening documents reviewed by Q have shed light on the financial cost of the controversy that surrounded Dugan's tenure.
The Recording Academy, in a tax filing submitted to the IRS, disclosed that Dugan was awarded a staggering $5.75 million for the year. Although the filing does not specify the nature of the payment, it does reveal that Dugan was the highest-paid individual at the Recording Academy — despite not working any hours per week.
The settlement came after months of disputes between Dugan and the Recording Academy, which led to her dismissal by the board. An agreement was reportedly reached in June of 2021.
Dugan, who was listed under her married name, Deborah Szulansky, held the position of president and chief executive for approximately five months before being removed from her post.
In contrast to Dugan's $5.75 million payment, chief executive Harvey Mason, who took over from Dugan, earned $1,369,344 during the same period.
Dugan's dismissal came after allegations of bullying and just ten days before the 2020 Grammy Awards. In her complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she claimed that her removal was in retaliation for exposing misconduct within the organization, including sexual harassment, corrupt voting procedures and conflicts of interest among board members.
She also accused powerful industry lawyer Joel Katz of harassment, which he vehemently denied.
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At the time of Dugan's dismissal, the Recording Academy stated that they had not paid her a settlement and emphasized her management deficiencies and failures.
They believed that not removing her from the organization would compromise their values and set a precedent that such behavior has no consequences.
Dugan, in response, accused the Academy of not conducting a thorough investigation and ignoring claims of conflicts of interest and voting irregularities.
According to the outlet, the recent disclosure of her substantial settlement is expected to spark further questions and scrutiny regarding one of the music industry's most significant scandals.
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In addition to Dugan's settlement, the tax filing also revealed that the Recording Academy spent $25,941,816 in salaries and had total expenses of nearly $89 million.
The Academy recorded a profit just below a million dollars and registered over $56 million in income from the Grammys telecast and sponsorship.
The Grammy Awards will air on Sunday, February 4.