facebook-pixel

University of Utah paying departing Pioneer Theatre executive $175,000 in settlement

University also getting back nearly $18,000 paid to recruiting firm that found Christopher Massimine, who was caught with bogus credits on his resumé.

(Pioneer Theatre Company) Christopher Massimine, who started his job as managing director of Utah's Pioneer Theatre Company on July 1, 2019, is being paid $175,000 in a settlement to leave PTC — after news outlets reported that claims on his resumé were fabricated.

The University of Utah will pay $175,000 to Christopher Massimine, in a settlement that brought about the resignation of the Pioneer Theatre Company’s managing director.

Massimine, who started at PTC on July 1, 2019, went on paid leave on May 27 — days before news outlets reported that the theater producer had fabricated parts of his resumé, touting awards that he never won and claiming credits on movies and video games he never worked on.

Massimine submitted his letter of resignation on Aug. 16, saying he was leaving Utah’s largest professional theater company “to address issues in my personal and professional life, stemming from untreated and at times an incorrectly treated mental health condition.” His last official day on the job was Friday.

Diane Parisi, PTC’s development director since 1998, was named interim managing director in early June, shortly after the stories about Massimine’s bogus credits were posted.

Massimine’s resignation was one of the terms of the settlement, agreed to by Massimine and university officials in early August. The Salt Lake Tribune received a copy of the contract Friday, through a records request under Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA) — because PTC, which is under the umbrella of the University of Utah’s College of Fine Arts, is a part of state government.

Under the terms of the settlement, the university will pay Massimine $175,000 — half within 10 days of his departure on Friday, the other half during February 2022.

Under the terms under which he was hired away from the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene in 2019, Massimine received an annual salary of $135,000. He also received an “administrative salary supplement” of $17,500 a year for his first two years, “to facilitate greater engagement and collaboration with the university’s theater and academic programs,” according to an offer letter signed by Daniel A. Reed, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs.

When he was hired, Massimine also was offered a $15,000 allowance to move his family from New York to Salt Lake City, and a $15,000 consulting fee to work with PTC leaders before his official start date.

In reaching the settlement to part company with PTC, Massimine and the university release each other from future claims. Also, as the settlement states, “the parties do not acknowledge any wrongdoing.”

Massimine signed the contract on Aug. 6. The university’s chief human resources officer, Jeff C. Herring, signed the contract on Aug. 8, and Reed signed it on Aug. 9.

In a separate settlement, also obtained Friday through a GRAMA request, the university struck a deal with the job recruitment company that found Massimine.

According to the terms of the settlement, finalized on July 7, Management Consultants for the Arts, Inc., will pay back the university $17,964.31. That payment has already been made, according to a document the university also released Friday.

That figure represents about half of the nearly $36,000 the university paid MCA for its services, according to a report from Fox13′s Adam Herbets, who broke the initial story in June about Massimine’s bogus claims. The Tribune also uncovered false claims in Massimine’s resumé and biography in June. On Aug. 16, the day Massimine submitted his resignation, The New York Times posted its own story about him.

PTC is scheduled to begin its 2021-2022 season on Sept. 10, with a concert-style production of the Fats Waller musical “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

Editor’s note: Fox13 and The Salt Lake Tribune are partners in a content-sharing agreement.

Return to Story