Just like FIFA, ICANN now compared to Carnegie Hall scandal

The exterior of Carnegie Hall in New York. Photo: Bebeto Matthews/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The exterior of Carnegie Hall in New York. Photo: Bebeto Matthews/ASSOCIATED PRESS

WSJ reports that discord has broken out at Carnegie Hall where allegations by the music hall’s chairman, Ronald Perelman, have sparked a boardroom dispute.

A simmering clash between leaders of New York’s Carnegie Hall boiled over on Wednesday as financier Ronald O. Perelman, who recently became chairman of the hall’s board of trustees, accused the prestigious music institution’s executive director of improprieties and said the hall has operated with poor oversight.

The allegations include operating the hall with limited transparency and entering into “related-party transactions.” In such transactions, the individuals involved have a relationship prior to the deal.

These claims that have embroiled Carnegie Hall’s board, which includes some of the most powerful players in New York’s financial and cultural worlds can only be compared to what is happening at ICANN. ICANN apparently was also recently compared to FIFA when news of seven FIFA officials and associates who were arrested in Zurich on a US corruption indictment. This happened just as FIFA gathered for its congress. Surprisingly and amidst this graft claims, incumbent FIFA president Sepp Blatter won elections again but later resigned.

John Poole, Editor, Domain Mondo wrote in his comment to the  ICANN CCWG-Accountability Co-Chair Comments on the Public Comments

“… ICANN may need Board reform—that should have been priority #1. Almost every failing of ICANN can ultimately be attributed to a Board of Directors that was not activist, failed to question, failed to challenge stakeholders, management, staff or GAC advice, failed to be vigilant, pro-active. Therefore, review and improve processes for selecting members of the ICANN Board of Directors, which will lead to independent, activist, vigilant ICANN directors, reflective of the diversity of the global multi-stakeholder community, who will question, investigate, and push back (when necessary or appropriate) against policies advanced by self-interested ICANN stakeholders which are to the detriment of the global public interest or the global multi-stakeholder community; directors who will question and hold accountable ICANN officers, ICANN staff, GAC advice, and all ICANN stakeholders, including policy-making proposals, inquiring as to whether ICANN policies and principles have been followed”

Similar sentiments have also been voiced by one Corporate Governance expert Sophia Bekele who wrote in the CircleID industry blog in a post mortem analysis of Senate hearing on ‘Preserving the Multi-stakeholder Model of Internet Governance’ that

Only proper regulation by an independent agency with full Congressional mandate will ensure that a ‘FIFA-Mafia type’ organization of systematic corruption does not emerge. ICANN should not be trusted by Congress to regulate itself.

Ms.Sophia Bekele’s comments that appear in the article “No Legal Basis for IANA Transition”: A Post-Mortem Analysis of Senate Committee Hearing” further state that It is therefore the responsibility of Congress to ensure that the IANA Technical functions are not transitioned to a Global Multi-Stakeholder Community that will become like FIFA. FIFA has refused to demonstrate any accountability to the global public interest that it serves or to the international coalition of quasi-nongovernmental organizations (‘quangos’ – Country Football Federations and Associations) that comprise its membership.” You can read the entire article here

Perhaps this is a silent way to say that ICANN has not proven any more that its own accoutability is wanting.

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