Burning Man moves to mid-Market and begins conversion to nonprofit status
"We will liquidate our ownership interests and it will be for more than $20,000," Harvey said, alluding to the sum promised to departing board member under the LLC's original operating agreement, an amount he dismissed as "laughable."
The slow, conditional transition and big potential payout were criticized by longtime burner and former mayoral candidate Chicken John Rinaldi, who led a 2004 rebellion against the board's control over an event that is created mostly by its participants.
"We've gotta pay for their retirement for something they stole from us in the first place?" Rinaldi said. "They're turning Burning Man into a commodity. They're selling the event."
Harvey, Mikel, and board member Marian Goodell say they are simply trying to safeguard Burning Man and ensure its longevity. "Nonprofits can go bad so the real challenge is creating a rugged framework," Mikel said. "This thing needs to run beyond us."
But even Rinaldi agreed with the move to Mid-Market, which Goodell said is good timing as BRC begins to create and shape the Burning Man Project. "We need to be in an urban environment to get a handle on what we need," she said, noting how isolated their last two offices along Third Street have been. "We want to have a public face to the world."
Guardian City Editor Steven T. Jones is the author of The Tribes of Burning Man: How an Experimental City in the Desert is Shaping the New American Counterculture.