The Getty’s Blue Period

Problems at the world’s richest art institution.

BarryMunitzThe president of the world’s richest art institution, the $9 billion J. Paul Getty Trust, Barry Munitz is on the ropes, with the press lambasting his tenure, California’s attorney general investigating, and former Getty antiquities curator Marion True on trial. In a tearful interview, Munitz tries to set the record straight

On an unusually hot day for January in Los Angeles, with the mercury hitting 90 degrees, Barry Munitz, the president of the $9 billion J. Paul Getty Trust, the world’s richest art institution, was doing his best to strike a pose to match the sunshine.

“Hi, I’m Barry Munitz. I provided the weather,” he says, pumping my hand in the parking lot of the J. Paul Getty Museum’s magnificent Roman-style Getty Villa, in Malibu. Situated on 64 hillside acres overlooking the Pacific, it stands just in front of the ranch house that once belonged to the collection’s founder, the industrialist Jean Paul Getty. The site of the original Getty Museum, the Villa was closed for eight years for a $275 million renovation so it could house the Getty’s collection of ancient artifacts. The January 28 reopening was meant to be the jewel in the crown for Munitz, 64, who was appointed president and chief executive officer of the Getty Trust in 1997. That same year the Getty’s collection of European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, decorative arts, and photography was relocated from the Villa to the Getty Center, Richard Meier’s famous, $1 billion complex of structures, clad in white travertine marble and white metal panels, in Brentwood.

Munitz, slight and lean, with a gray mustache, is wearing a purple jacket that matches the color of his car-a 1996 Chevrolet Camaro convertible. When people talk about Barry Munitz, they talk about his snappy dressing, dynamism, and charisma; some speak with enthusiasm, some witheringly. “I think he spends more time picking out his wardrobe than he did trying to understand the issues and politics of C.S.U.,” says one of the latter, a former colleague from Munitz’s days as chancellor of the California State University system.

“I’m a communicator,” says Munitz later, sitting at a table in the Villa’s sunlit conference room. We’ve just finished a tour of the place, and Munitz has, with his trademark puppy-dog enthusiasm, pointed out its highlights-particularly the technology that enables the temperature and humidity of the earthquake-proof display cases to be monitored from a central station. Already, he claims, museum officials from around the world have come to look and learn about the technology. “The point of the Getty is about sharing,” he says.

But there is a nervous energy in his voice which increases as he talks; one is not altogether surprised when, toward the end of the interview, in which he protests that “it’s been a painful personal year, but a remarkable professional year,” Munitz bursts into tears.

The painful part starts with his former curator of antiquities, Marion True, 57, who is on trial in Rome, accused of conspiring to acquire illegally 42 ancient objects now in the Getty’s possession. She knew, it is claimed, that they had been unearthed by looters-tombaroli (tomb raiders), as they are known. (Italy’s 1939 antiquities law says that the Italian state rightfully owns all objects proved to have come out of its ground after 1902.) Also on trial is Robert E. Hecht Jr., an 86-year-old Paris-based art dealer, accused of selling to True many of the antiquities, sometimes through other dealers-although True should have known, according to prosecutors, that they were in fact coming from Hecht and that he dealt in illicit trade.

True was indicted last April by Paolo Ferri, a tenacious Italian prosecutor who had been working on the case for many years. The primary evidence was Polaroid photos of thousands of allegedly looted antiquities, some still covered in dirt, which had been discovered in a Swiss warehouse belonging to Giacomo Medici, a Maserati-driving Italian dealer. While True is the only major museum curator to have been indicted by Ferri, the Getty is not the only U.S. museum to own objects that appear in the photographs. So do New York’s Metropolitan Museum, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Toledo Museum of Art, and the Princeton University Art Museum, according to Italian court records. However, True’s case was not helped by a 2001 raid on Hecht’s Paris apartment, where Ferri came across a diary, the entries of which he claims confirm the links among Medici, Hecht, and True.

True’s indictment, however, was only the start of Munitz’s problems. In June, the Los Angeles Times ran a profile that characterized him as a fast-talking operator who in 2003, while cutting jobs and budgets, was receiving an annual compensation package worth more than $1 million. The article detailed a trip on a yacht with former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan and his wife, and lavish Getty-financed junkets to Cuba and Greece. Munitz’s contract allows him to fly first-class, and he did so with gusto-taking 30 trips between 1999 and 2002. Also, he purchased, on the Getty’s dime, a $72,000 Porsche Cayenne, which he had souped up with the “best possible sound system, the biggest possible sunroof,” and “power everything.” (The car was justified as being for board members when they visited.)

Perhaps most serious, the article accused Munitz of unloading a piece of Getty land for what was alleged to be $700,000 less than market value to his friend the wealthy philanthropist Eli Broad. (In a strongly worded response to the paper, the Getty’s board denied that the sale price was beneath market value; in fact, they said, they were pleased to be able to unload it, because the land has restricted access and they saved a broker’s fee.)

Also controversial-actually, it’s the main gripe of many of the Getty employees interviewed by V.F.-was that Munitz hired as his chief of staff Jill Murphy, now 33, whom he had discovered waiting tables when she was a student at Cal State Sacramento and he was the C.S.U. chancellor. Not only her lack of background in the arts but her management style offended many people. “She’s the type who would (figuratively) kick you in the kneecaps,” says one person.

There has been a steady trickle of senior executives out the door. In 1999, the general counsel of the Getty Trust, Christine Steiner, left amid rumors about a conflict with Munitz. In 2002, acting general counsel Penny Cobey and longtime executive and chief operating officer Stephen Rountree both departed. In August 2004, the museum’s associate director for administration and public affairs, Barbara Whitney, resigned. Two months later, Deborah Gribbon, the museum’s director, left amid reports that she and Munitz had philosophical clashes. “I think she left because she no longer had any faith that the Getty was being run according to sound principles,” says John Walsh, Gribbon’s predecessor. In September 2005, her successor, acting museum head William Griswold, quit to take the reins at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Whitney was outspoken in her criticism of how the Getty was being run. “Barry and his key staff members not only lack the expertise but have little regard-and actually seem to have contempt-for those who do have it,” said Whitney.

“I’m concerned that the Getty board has been spending (too much) time watching old episodes of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” commented Iowa senator Charles Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees tax-exempt organizations, after he read the June 2005 L.A. Times story about Munitz’s alleged extravagances. According to a staffer, Grassley’s office is considering writing a letter of complaint to the Getty board.

Munitz’s reaction to the L.A. Times article, he says now, was astonishment. He was particularly hurt by the implication that his wife is a diva in the mold of the Joan Collins character in Dynasty. “I’m sure you’ve heard from others she is the most caring, modestly living person,” he says.

But more shocks were in store; just four months later, in October, an L.A. Times investigation cited information from confidential documents, widely thought to have been leaked by a former or current Getty employee, showing, among other problems, that Marion True had in 1995 been given a loan of nearly $400,000 for a house on the Greek island of Paros by an associate of London art dealer Robin Symes, who had sold objects to the Getty in the late 80s and early 90s. (Symes spent seven months in jail last year for perjury after he lied about two antiquities sales worth more than $2 million.) The next year, True borrowed another $400,000 from the collectors Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman to repay the loan just three days after she and the Fleischmans sealed a huge deal for 334 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities to fill in gaps in the Villa collection. Evidently, senior Getty executives had received a tip about the first loan as long ago as 2002, but did nothing about it. By last fall, California attorney general Bill Lockyer had begun a formal investigation into the finances of the J. Paul Getty Trust, including the pay and perks received by Munitz.

Meanwhile, the Getty tried to take control of events. In October, True retired, although the Getty is still paying her legal fees for the ongoing trial. She was, say sources, disinvited from the reopening of the Villa. (A Getty spokesperson says True is welcome at the Villa at any time and does not need an invitation.)

In October the board of the Getty Trust set up a five-member team to conduct an internal investigation, spearheaded by Ronald L. Olson, a high-profile Los Angeles lawyer who has represented former Hollywood superagent Michael Ovitz and investor Warren Buffett. Both Olson and the board chairman, John Biggs, who is head of the new team, claimed that the investigation would be entirely “independent.” The L.A. Times and The New York Times, however, pointed out that most of the board members, and especially those on the five-member investigative team, were friends or appointees of Munitz’s. (Olson said that anyone with conflicts of interest would be removed from the investigation.)

Then, in late December, the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Foundations, an advocacy group for nonprofits, announced it was placing the Getty Trust on a 60-day probation pending the delivery of documents answering allegations of financial misconduct. It is tantamount to a notice that the trust is “not in good standing,” said president Steve Gunderson.

Still, the media assaults on Munitz kept coming; a November New York Times piece claimed he had greatly upset Getty museum officials by moving two 17th-century drawings by the Dutch artist Herman van Swanevelt to a room without climate control for a dinner with former Paramount head Sherry Lansing and her husband, the director William Friedkin, who collect Dutch art.

“Could all this stuff in the paper possibly be true?” wondered an old friend of Munitz’s. It was a question many of Munitz’s friends were mulling.

“The person that I have been reading about is not the person I know,” says Sherry Lansing.

“It’s a miracle,” says Munitz of his journey to the Getty from Brooklyn, where he was born. His father, an accountant, walked out on his mother, his sister, and him when Barry was seven, and disappeared. When Munitz is asked about the impact this had on him, his voice cracks, and tears well up and roll down his cheeks. “There was no role model,” he says. “There were mentors who were crucial to me … and that’s become my life. I mean the driving theme was outreach and education and … giving back.”

Significantly, perhaps, despite four marriages, he has never had children of his own. When asked once by Lansing’s 12-year-old stepson, Jack, why not, he replied, “Well, I just think I would worry all the time that something would go wrong, and I would be so pained for them… If something would hurt them, I think I couldn’t exist.” To me he says, “Clearly, when you’ve been raised with that kind of dysfunction and challenge, you want to try to lessen the likelihood that it’s going to happen to others.”

Munitz was married briefly to his college sweetheart. He got his B.A. at Brooklyn College and then went on to Princeton for his Ph.D. in comparative literature. He started teaching at the University of California at Berkeley, where he married a former student. He worked on the president’s staff at the Carnegie Foundation Commission on Higher Education for two years and then moved to the University of Illinois, where he eventually became a vice president. There he broke up with his second wife and embarked on an affair with Martha Sanford, the beautiful and intelligent wife of a wealthy local businessman. Seven years Munitz’s senior, Sanford was interested in education and knew her way around university politics. “I think I was useful to him in that sense,” she says now. But she was also the mother of three daughters, and her friends were concerned she was making a mistake in divorcing her husband to marry Munitz.

“It was quite the scandal,” Sanford remembers. “But at the time Barry dazzled me.”

The pair got married in September 1971. Sanford remembers that even back then Munitz had “a different vision from most people in academia … he basically became unwelcome in Illinois-although that was never made public,” she says. Another person there recalls, “He didn’t quite fit, in my opinion, in the academic life. I think he was very ambitious and often didn’t recognize when he was crossing a line. I don’t know that he was told to leave. I know that he might have been encouraged to look at his options.”

In 1976, the couple relocated to Houston and a year later Munitz became president of the University of Houston’s 30,000-student central campus. There he got involved with the Houston Grand Opera, where he met wife number four, Anne, who worked in the music and production departments. Friends say Martha Munitz was very hurt by the way he flaunted his new girlfriend in public.

In 1980, Charles Bishop was appointed chancellor of the University of Houston system. He and Munitz, evidently, were like oil and water, and few were surprised when, in 1982, Munitz decided to go into the private sector, after his tennis buddy, local business executive Charles Hurwitz, threw down the gauntlet, saying, “You think you’re so smart, why don’t you come in and try to do this?”

In 1982, Hurwitz made Munitz a senior executive of Maxxam Inc., a large shareholder in the United Financial Group (U.F.G.). Unfortunately, Hurwitz had gotten involved with the notorious head of Drexel Burnham Lambert’s bond-trading department, Michael Milken, and soon Munitz was caught up in one of the country’s costliest and thorniest savings-and-loan disasters.

Using the United Savings Association of Texas (U.S.A.T.), the principal subsidiary of U.F.G., Munitz and Hurwitz bought nearly $1.8 billion of Milken’s junk bonds and other Drexel-brokered securities, while Hurwitz was pursuing aggressive takeover schemes with Drexel financing, including the acquisition of Pacific Lumber, where he compiled a controversial environmental record and closed down the company’s pension fund. In 1990 the government had to spend $1.6 billion to bail out U.S.A.T., and in 1995 the U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision filed a civil suit against Maxxam, Hurwitz, Munitz, and other parties who it said had contributed to U.S.A.T.’s failure. In addition to charging that Hurwitz and Munitz and the others who controlled U.S.A.T. ran it into the ground with decisions that were “unsafe and unsound,” the government accused its senior management of taking excessive bonuses and severance packages before its collapse. According to the Office of Thrift Supervision, Munitz was, in 1989, 1990, and 1991, “unjustly enriched” by a salary which totaled $959,876, paid from assets that should have gone toward maintaining U.S.A.T.’s net worth.

Munitz and four others settled with the government for more than $1 million in 1999, a year after he arrived at the Getty. All five were prohibited for three years from working at a federally insured bank or similar business. (Hurwitz settled the charges against him in 2002 and then won $72.3 million in sanctions for the government’s having brought a frivolous lawsuit. The government is appealing the sanctions, and evidence has emerged that California Republican congressmen John T. Doolittle and Richard W. Pombo joined forces with former House majority leader Tom DeLay to pressure the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to cease its investigation, which it did in 2002. Hurwitz contributed thousands of dollars to all three, including donations made while the F.D.I.C. case was ongoing, and he has given $5,000 to DeLay’s current legal-defense fund.)

The irony of the troubled years spent with Hurwitz is that without them, Munitz agrees, he would not have had sufficient business experience to run the Getty. “If I had it to do over again I absolutely would have taken a detour in business,” he says. When asked if he would repeat the Hurwitz experience, he says, “I’m not at all prepared to say absolutely not. I don’t know. Because life doesn’t present you those retroactive choices. You know, sometimes you learn more from the painful pieces.”

Bruce Rinaldi, the federal regulator who deposed Munitz, says, “My feeling was that while Barry Munitz certainly had close involvement with Charles Hurwitz-his office was virtually next door-he wasn’t the one with the financial wherewithal or expertise behind these mortgage-backed securities. Munitz played more of a front-man role.”

That role, however, had its own problems in that it required Munitz, in his capacity as a director of Maxxam, to be associated with two controversial projects-the clear-cutting of ancient redwoods on land owned by Pacific Lumber and the construction of a luxury hotel in Rancho Mirage, California, on lambing grounds for the now endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep. These would plague Munitz when he returned to academia. Appointed chancellor of the C.S.U. system in 1991, he was nicknamed “the Texas chain-saw chancellor” by environmental activists, and there was a series of demonstrations against him on campuses. At one meeting, he recalls, demonstrators dressed up as trees and fell down when he entered the room, so he addressed them, “Ladies, gentlemen, and trees … ”

Munitz says he made no attempt to hide his past controversies from C.S.U. “It was very public,” he says. “Everybody had a chance to take a shot at me in 1991. There were long newspaper stories about Maxxam… And what I said to them, and I guess successfully to be hired, is ‘Here’s who I am. These are what my values are.'”

California state senators Tom Hayden and John Vasconcellos were among the most vocal opponents of Munitz because of the Maxxam experience. Munitz says they were “unbelievably tough on me in the beginning (but) interestingly, I got to be pretty close to both of them.”

“I loved him. I trusted him,” says Vasconcellos. The key issues facing C.S.U. at the time were “diversity and quality of faculty… I thought Barry was so bright and so charming… He was a spectacular chancellor.”

Blenda Wilson, president of Cal State Northridge until June 1999 and a former board member of the Getty, adds, “We needed someone with the skills to be able to talk to everyone to raise awareness within the legislatures so we’d get the necessary funding. Barry is great at that.”

Not all the members of his faculty and staff loved him, however. “I’ve just blurred that from my memory as just a bad dream,” says a former colleague. Even so, the articles about Munitz at the time were flattering, bordering on unctuous. A Los Angeles Times Magazine cover story gushed, “He quotes William Butler Yeats, rock star Bob Seger and IBM chairman Lou Gerstner. Speaking without notes and unaccompanied by handlers, he is charming, even entertaining.”

It was this article, people assume, that brought Munitz to the attention of Robert Erburu, the chairman emeritus of the Times Mirror Company, which then owned the Los Angeles Times. Erburu also happened to be chairman of the board of the Getty, which was then looking to fill its top job. To his surprise, says Munitz, he got a call from a recruiting firm, but initially he wasn’t interested. “Ironically, you’re usually a lot more effective when you don’t think you either want or are going to get the job,” he says.

In the interview he said that the Getty was widely seen as too elite and that it needed to have greater outreach and fiscal reworking. He argued that the trust’s wealth should be used to spread excellence around the world-by sharing with other cultural institutions. He placed emphasis on education rather than art, although the museum, he realized, would always be the most visible part of the trust. The search committee voiced its concerns about Maxxam, just as C.S.U. had. When asked now why the board was prepared to offer the post of president to someone who would a year later be barred from working in a bank, a Getty spokesperson said that assurances from C.S.U. lawyers satisfied them.

When Munitz was offered the post, Sherry Lansing says, she told him not to take it. “Sherry argued in the most caring way. It wasn’t so much an argument. It was basically ‘O.K., tell me again why you think this is a good idea given what you care about and given what your values are,'” says Munitz. But the Getty, he says, told him, “We don’t think you understand what the job is… We are committed to having this be an educational institution.”

When J. Paul Getty died, in 1976, the irascible, unpredictable oil magnate, who had never liked any of his children-or, indeed, any of his five wives-left $700 million, the bulk of his fortune, to a trust for funding a museum to be started with his antiquities collection: around 9,000 or so pieces he had collected and housed at his Malibu ranch, which he opened to the public. The first curator of antiquities was Jiri Frel, who left the Getty amid allegations of buying fakes and overvaluing donated artworks.

In 1981, Harold Williams, a mild-mannered lawyer who had headed the Securities and Exchange Commission under President Jimmy Carter, was brought in to take charge. Williams did not know much about art, but he hired experts considered to be the best in their fields. Premier among these was John Walsh, an expert in 17th-century Dutch paintings, who was appointed the museum’s curator in 1983. He, in turn, hired Deborah Gribbon as his number two, and the pair were widely admired by the museum staff. “John Walsh was the kind of person who wrote endless handwritten notes,” remembers one person. “He was a very serious academic. Debbie was the perfect counterpart for him. They even began to talk alike, they worked so closely together.”

But there was friction at the Getty even then. The seven departments jostled one another for money, and such internal divisions were exacerbated by the fact that the departments were located in assorted buildings around Los Angeles, while the museum was housed in the Malibu villa. Williams and the board had the vision of uniting the branches at the Brentwood Getty Center, a sprawling campus where every building-each housing a faculty-is visible from all the others. In 1984 they commissioned Meier, whose design beat out those of I. M. Pei, Frank Gehry, and Philip Johnson, among others.

In 1997, at a cost of $1 billion, the Getty Center opened, and soon after, Williams retired and was replaced by Munitz, whose arrival was greeted with suspicion. “Barry was never going to fit well with the museum types, because he didn’t have an arts background,” says a prominent art dealer. “People in the museum world are particularly resistant to change and are very snobbish.”

Munitz initially seemed not to care. He introduced himself in a speech in front of all 1,200 employees in the courtyard at the Getty Center. Someone who was there recalls him making promises that might be difficult to keep. When a senior executive pointed that out, Munitz allegedly said, “Theater, it’s theater.” (“Why would I say that?” Munitz asks now.)

Sources said that it was apparent early on that many people would be leaving. “As a change agent … I said to them (the staff), ‘Strap on your seat belts’-not that I was looking forward to having a conflict,” Munitz says, adding that the number of people who have left the museum under his watch is proportionally very small.

Some of the worst resentment was caused by Munitz’s chief of staff, Jill Murphy. For one “entire meeting Jill sat in a leather chair (at) a huge conference table,” says a Getty employee. “She had her legs in a lotus position, sort of cross legs. She was wearing a little skirt. And she spent the whole meeting pushing herself off the table and twirling around in the chair … like a little kid.” (Murphy did not respond to requests for comments.)

Munitz was evidently aware of Murphy’s shortcomings-he later described her as having “sharp elbows”-but he didn’t want to confront her about them.

“To have this twentysomething ex-waitress who really didn’t know squat about the art world … would be forgivable,” says an insider, but “the perks issues are so offensive in combination with everything else… If it was a John Walsh, or a Harold Williams, someone who was passionately committed to the Getty’s mission, who was tooting around the world, spending big bucks, doing all that stuff, nobody would blink an eye. No one would care. It’s because he (Munitz) is not passionately committed, everyone feels he is there for the wrong reasons.”

In August, “amid much rejoicing,” according to one employee, it was reported that Murphy would be leaving the Getty by the end of the year to fight world poverty. “We all pretty much fell on the floor and wept because we were laughing so hard,” says a current employee.

Munitz believes Murphy was unfairly demonized: “She was basically a very, very smart, very young woman in a setting where some people had trouble with that… She was my responsibility, she was my staff person, and maybe she became a target because some people didn’t want to fight with me. But she wasn’t out there by herself making decisions.”

Meanwhile, the unhappiness spread at what was seen as Munitz’s selfishness. “The Getty, in order to act responsibly with its wealth, had to have a very transparent and careful process of deciding (in) what areas it would make grants and what its criteria would be for deciding who would get them,” explains a former employee. “With Barry’s arrival, suddenly he brought a sense of kind of personal preference and interest to things that everybody else at the Getty had worked really hard to suppress… The film (First Year, directed by Davis Guggenheim, about education, having nothing to do with art) was seen as a vehicle for Barry’s personal ambitions.”

Munitz says that in retrospect he misunderstood the nature of the institution. “What I hadn’t really fully thought through was going from the underdog institution to the elite institution. And eight years later I’m still not sure I have fully realized it,” he says. “It becomes very political and very personal when a mission and a priority decision is undertaken in an institution of such relative wealth.”

Munitz says he had a moment of realization a few months into the job, after he gave a radio interview in which he said that the Getty would now consider fund-raising and development work. “It was a front-page story,” he says. Whereas at C.S.U., he says, he “could have declared the world was coming to an end and it would be maybe a little box on page 137 of the Los Angeles or The New York Times.”

“After the board had voted me in for a five-year term, in 2004,” says Munitz, “that was the opportunity to really spend an enormous time in-house talking to everybody… It pains me that I missed the opportunity to be a better communicator.”

Lack of explanation from the top is indeed one of the woes cited by Munitz’s detractors, who felt, in particular, that when the Maxxam case was settled, in 1999, he should have been more forthcoming about what had happened. “Instead,” says one employee, “you had this terrible atmosphere with everyone wondering what it meant. How could the Getty be run by someone who would not be allowed to work in a bank? It was very demoralizing.”

Last year the Getty returned three artifacts to the Italians, and few people thought that the matter would get as far as an indictment. “Many antiquities in the market have falsified backgrounds,” comments Maxwell L. Anderson, the former director of New York City’s Whitney Museum and a principal at AEA, an arts consulting firm. “Museums have had few means to determine the accuracy of a purported provenance, apart from writing government officials in those countries from which objects can be assumed to have been excavated, to see if they have information about a work or works gone missing. The problem is, if an object was spirited out of the ground in the cover of darkness, the government in question will, of course, have no record of its disappearance.”

Marion True, it’s been argued by defenders such as Malcolm Bell III, a University of Virginia art-history professor and vice president of the Archaeological Institute of America, was actually one of the profession’s moral innovators. “The Getty policy is arguably the strongest of any major American museum, and as far as we know it has not been violated. Other museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and several major university collections (Princeton and Harvard among them), instead follow the policy adopted by the Association of Art Museum Directors, which allows the purchase of undocumented antiquities if the museum believes acquisition is justified,” Professor Bell wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece.

True’s peers believe that in part she was targeted because of the Getty’s vast wealth. Its operating budget of $250 million a year means it can buy just about anything it wants. But other U.S. museums are staying vigilant. In November, Philippe de Montebello, the director of the Metropolitan, met in Rome with officials of Italy’s Culture Ministry, and in January the Italians proposed that the Met return 15 pieces of disputed Hellenistic silver and other artifacts in exchange for a series of future long-term loans.

“The antiquities issue is going to affect all museums, not just us,” says Munitz.

True, meanwhile, faces a possible 10 years in prison if she is convicted in Italy. In January she sold her Santa Monica condominium for just under $1 million and went to live in northern France with her husband, Patrick de Maisonneuve, an architecture professor.

At the end of our time Munitz shows me back to the parking lot, where he is eager to point out his car-the Camaro, not the Getty Porsche. Once again Munitz has a swing in his step as he takes in the ravishing scenery.

Does he have an idea of what he might want to do after his time at the Getty? He has a tenured teaching spot at C.S.U., he says, and he might want to do that.

He describes what he thinks of as the most magical moment of his career. “When you stand up at a podium as the head of the campus or the head of the (university) system, and you say, as I would do all the time, ‘Would everybody in the audience … whose child here is the first person in the family to graduate from college stand up and stay standing.’ And then, ‘Everybody in the audience who wasn’t born in this country, please stand up.’ And you look out, and there’s hardly anybody sitting down. And then I would say to myself, ‘It was worth it.'”

His eyes tear up again. V

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