MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Inside the Urban Child Institute, no one wanted to talk about the retirement of the President Eugene Cashman.
Cashman's assistant wanted us to leave.
"I am sorry he is not available. Turn the camera off. He is not available," she told us.
Cashman, emerging from a meeting, bolted for the stairs, refusing to stop and talk with us.
Maybe his silence had something to do with what WREG investigators have been digging into, the Urban Child Institute's tax records.
The nonprofit organization was sitting on $153 million in assets in 2013. It gave out only about $2 million in grants, and most of that was to other organizations like the University of Memphis, Memphis Leadership Academy and the Women's Foundation.
The grant winners all had employees on the Urban Child Institute's board of directors.
Cashman told us to contact the institute's marketing firm, headed by John Malmo. He didn't want to talk about that or the big salaries for the institute's staff.
In 2012, Cashman's total compensation package was $778,519. The next year, 2013, he raked in a little less, $633,529. The other paid staffer, the institute's secretary, Henry Herrod, isn't doing bad either, making $409,000 in 2012 and close to $429,000 in 2013.
For organizations like Porter-Leath, which has 5,800 children in preschool and 600 kids being fed daily meals, funding dollars are always being sought. This change of leadership at the Urban Child Institute could be an opportunity to get a slice of the pie.
"We are hoping that the Urban Child Institute will begin reinvesting in programs to help the birth to 3-year-old segment to make sure that we keep healthy birth rates and get those moms educated," Mike Warr of Porter-Leath said.
Porter-Leath did get funding at one time from the Urban Child Institute but said that dried up several years ago.
None of the institute's board members were available to talk to us about Eugene Cashman's leaving. Through Malmo, they issued a statement thanking Cashman for his service.
His retirement takes effect Jan. 1, 2016.