By editorial board • 

Welcome rays of sunshine penetrate the doom, gloom

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Comments

Oregonian

"But Down was cut from the same cloth as Smith". I think it is highly unfair to compare a (SEC investigation underway - guilt or innocence yet to be determined) fraudster in Down to an aggressive businessman in Smith. Del Smith was a genuine all-American visionary entrepreneur who created something out of nothing in both Evergreen and the museums.

Stoller and Smith are a much closer comparison than Down and Smith.

tagup

I’ll give you that Smith was an entrepreneur.....can’t agree on the All- American part, as Smith’s employees, vendors and taxpayers all got the short end of the stick from his operations.....purposely avoiding the obligations of paying wages & bills and knowingly co mingling charitable non profit dollars for personal use, doesn’t make a good businessman.....it’s what crooks do!

Oregonian

Smiths employees: knew full well who they worked for and how that affected their careers. Those who didn't like it left. The executives all knowingly worked for a quarter of what they would have earned elsewhere and never received any of the "equity" they were promised. Hard to see a victim there. They got something out of working for him that we can't fully understand.

Smith's vendors: also were aware of Smith's reputation. At one point, Smith was borrowing money at 18% per year when 6% was the standard rate. Banks/vendors/investors all knew he was a risk and priced doing business with him accordingly.

Taxpayers: not affected. I'm not sure what you're claiming there. If anything, taxpayers benefitted from the numerous spin off businesses that created jobs and therefore tax revenue.

Charitable funds: he self-funded the museum (just as Stoller will undoubtedly have to do for years if not decades) and did one weird pull-back of funds. Criticize him for that (it was odd and surely illegal) but the bigger context is important.

We should celebrate Del and Michael Smith's contribution in bringing the museums to McMinnville. I hope the Smith family rests in peace.