We, current and former employees, are writing to inform you that we sent a letter with demands to the NYRR Board of Directors calling for the immediate removal of Michael Capiraso as president and CEO of NYRR.
Like you, we are deeply concerned about the direction in which he is driving New York Road Runners. His poor leadership coupled with the toxic and discriminatory work environment that he has fostered compromises our standing in the NYC running community and hinders true progress on issues like equity and inclusion because he gives voice to those who lack the deepest lived experiences and proper insight to shape an authentic and meaningful way forward. NYRR has $49.7 million in net assets that could have been used to retain some employment. Instead Michael used the Covid-19 crisis to right-size the organization and pursue other business goals at the expense of dedicated and committed employees we love and respect.
Michael cultivates an unfair work culture rooted in preferential treatment, fortifying an HR department unequipped to handle internal crises, emboldening spineless PR strategies during historic times, and driving a white savior narrative in our youth and community programs. He has outright lied to white staff who have been speaking up and advocating for Black colleagues saying that complaints that Black staff have raised were resolved. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Papering over systemic racial discrimination with DEI focus groups and recommendations on future action does not uproot the seeds of toxicity, discrimination, and implicit bias. His failure to remediate claims of sexism, racism, and bullying is a grotesque failure in leadership that leaves opportunity for these seeds to sprout despite recommended culture shifts. This Black Lives Matter public sentiment is performative and disingenuous to all of us. These carefully crafted messages that have been posted recently do nothing to resolve internal issues Michael continues to dismiss.
Our concerns move beyond work culture. In our Board letter we asked for audits and investigations into financial mismanagement and suspected malfeasance. It is our deep reverence for New York Road Runners- our history, mission, and potential- that forced us to take this difficult action. To be very clear, it is our love for NYRR that we aim to #RebuildNYRR with new leadership that can implement equity in all facets of business operations. We are hoping for leadership that can balance innovation and revenue generation with deep understanding of how our work positively and negatively impacts NYC communities and residents. We want leadership that is authentic in its commitment to fairness and equality.
Concerned Current and Former NYRR Staff