The board also said Mr. Armstrong is “fairly and reasonably compensated for his exemplary performance.”
“The Board exercised due diligence in determining Mr. Armstrong’s compensation,” the board said. “The process was based on the guidance provided by a leading law firm with expertise in compensation for the leaders of independent schools and a review of compensation levels for Mr. Armstrong’s peers at similar private schools, with due regard to Mr. Armstrong’s experience and responsibilities and the challenges presented.
“An independent committee of trustees was established in 2011 to examine Mr. Armstrong’s salary, benefits and other compensation all of which were determined to be reasonable and proper.”
The Times also sought information from the school on the contrast between the compensation reported for Mr. Armstrong reported by the school to the IRS of $453,718 and the $800,000 figure contained in Mr. Harrison’s lawsuit.
In their statement, the trustees said an independent auditor has reviewed Mr. Armstrong’s employment contracts and the audit firm has never expressed concerns about his compensation.
“Moreover, each year a certified public accountant from the firm prepared the school’s tax returns, which include disclosures about compensation for Mr. Armstrong and other senior members of the school’s administration,” the trustees said.
“The board is confident that proper procedures are in place to assure that required public disclosures regarding Mr. Armstrong’s compensation, as well as that of others school officials, are accurate and in full compliance with other legal requirements.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Harrison’s lawsuit states that Mr. Mallon told him that Landon was possibly violating IRS rules on excess benefit transactions. Mr. Mallon also said that based on a review of data obtained from guidestar.org, a website that collects and makes public nonprofit IRS statements, Mr. Armstrong was one of the top 10 highest compensated headmasters in the country with a salary 150 percent to 170 percent higher than his peers.
In a separate statement, the school said it would defend itself against “Mr. Harrison’s allegations” and added that Landon has “a longstanding commitment to treat all members of the community employees, students and others fairly and without regard to race, ethnicity or gender.”