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JFK Library Corp. 1972 Tax Return Shows Firm Is $14 Million in Black

By Andrew P. Corty

The John F. Kennedy Library Corp. is firmly in the black financially, its 1972 tax return indicates.

The tax information hushes doubts--raised by the reluctance of corporation representatives to discuss the library's financial status--about the library's financial viability.

The latest figures available, those from the library corporation's 1972 tax return, show net assets of $14.2 million. Considering interest income, pledges still outstanding, and money still owed to the Kennedy Institute of Politics, the library corporation should have upwards of $17 million by July 1975 when construction is now slated to begin.

The scaled-down library plans will cost only $15 million, $2 million less than the estimated cost for architect I.M. Pei's original design topped by a glass pyramid.

"The $15 million figure is damn imprecise," Stephen E. Smith, president of the library corporation, said Monday, cautioning against putting "numbers" on the project until construction is ready to begin.

Smith said the $2 million cushion between construction costs and the amount the corporation will have in the bank is a contingency in case the construction is delayed again.

He said the corporation would face a 10 per cent yearly increase in construction costs if construction starts later than next summer.

Smith declined to reveal the total value of pledges still outstanding, saying only the total is "over $5 million."

Until construction begins, the endowment for the Kennedy Institute of Politics will be the library corporation's major expenditure. Of the $10 million endowment planned for the Institute, the library corporation still owes $3 million which will be paid in yearly installments.

Tax returns of the non-profit library corporation are part of the public record and were obtained by The Crimson through normal U.S. government channels.

In addition to revealing that the corporation has followed a standard, conservative investment policy, the tax records show incorrectly that President Bok is a director of the library corporation.

When asked Monday about the possible conflict of interest arising from his directorship on the library corporation, Bok said, "If I'm a director it's news to me. I'm not a director, I've never spent a minute in their meetings. Conceivably there is some slip."

Smith confirmed that Bok is not now and never has been a library director. "If he was listed it's a mistake inadvertantly done on the part of our Boston office."

Smith said Bok was invited to become a director but turned down the offer in deference to former president Nathan M. Pusey '28. Pusey was then and is now one of the 19 library directors.

The tax returns also provide a wealth of apparently valid financial information.

Since 1963 the library has received contributions totalling $15.4 million, including $1.1 million from royalties on William Manchester's book, "Death of a President."

Investment income has totalled $5.0 million, leaving the library with a total income of $20.4 million through December 31, 1972.

On that date the library's investments were divided between nongovernmental bonds ($3.5 million), corporate stock ($3.9 million in 16 different corporations) and certificates of deposit ($4.7 million). The library claimed $2.0 million in assets relating to planning and acquiring the library site.

The conservative portfolio, for example, contained stock in American Telephone & Telegraph, DuPont, Exxon, General Electric, Manufacturers Hanover Corp., and Proctor and Gamble.

In 1972 the library received $642,000 in interest, $139,000 from dividends, and $988,000 from sale of various stocks and bonds.

The corporation spent only $54,000 in salaries and wages in that year, as all directors and officers operated without pay.

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