Lou Spisto is now officially the executive director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Spisto had been named the interim executive director in February after the resignation of Jonathan Weedman, who had been accused of forcing a young Chorus member to have sex with him. Weedman has denied that allegation.
In an announcement that he was officially taking over the executive director role, Spisto acknowledged the non-profit organization’s serious financial problems and said that it will survive.
“As many of you know, we almost went out of business this past spring, but with your help, and specifically the help of you who have donated and attended our concerts, we have survived. Still, there is a long way to go to reach complete financial stability.”
In March GMCLA, which is headquartered in West Hollywood, acknowledged that it has been struggling financially. A review of its federal tax returns shows that revenue, which had been growing steadily over the past five years, in 2017 fell 21% to $1.36 million. It was in January of that year that GMCLA hired Weedman, a former senior vice president of the Wells Fargo Foundation, for the executive director’s job. GMCLA also saw a 7.5% reduction in expenses in 2017. But with the decline in revenue, that still left the organization with a loss of $227,000. GMCLA’s IRS 2018 tax return is not yet available.
Spisto has been a member of the GMCLA board of directors from 2015 to 2018 and is a Tony-nominated producer and a prominent nonprofit arts administrator. He once served as executive director and producer for The Old Globe where he raised $75 million for a new theatre, reserves, and special projects. He also has served a board member for Music Heritage Global.
“I decided to accept this position for the same reason I decided to jump in in February, and join the board four years ago — GMCLA is important to the quality of life here in Los Angeles and it can not be replaced by any other organization,” Spisto said. “We are unique, vital, and our service and song cannot be duplicated …
“I’m looking forward to a great concert at the Walt Disney Hall in August. We will celebrate our 40th anniversary and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and we’ll be joined by members of the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus and hundreds of singers and musicians from around the country.“