Jacqueline Berkaw ran the DCM Telefunding office at Chicago’s Symphony Center for over a year.
Here’s a profile of her by journalist and author Kathleen Sharp.
(click link) JunkBlonde
Looking like a soon-to-be dead balloon with skin roughly the color of sandpaper, and bottle-rocket red hair poured from a tube, Berkaw was hard to miss. Prone to wearing garish and expensive costumes, that screamed new money and no taste, she was notorious with the staff for her fits of rage, her arbitrary accusations, and a personality that ran the gamut from harriden to screaming infant.
For the CSO and DCM there are many questions, not the least of which is how did this woman with multiple convictions for fraud* ever survive a background check? Was she in fact subjected to one as the law requires? If so who knew about her criminal background, and did they share that information with anyone else?
And following her dismissal from the Chicago Symphony Center how did she get the same job in the fundraising office of the Houston Ballet?
Perhaps Jeff Alexander, the President of the CSO can explain to the thousands of CSO donors just what happened, and more importantly perhaps he can guarantee that Berkaw did not steal any of their credit cards? Why not contact Jeff and ask him: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Berkaw served over 2 years at the federal prison at Lompoc. She was convicted of credit card fraud, bank fraud, real estate fraud and mail fraud. It is illegal for a convicted felon to work in fundraising in Illinois (regulations vary from state to state – no small comfort to the thousands of art patrons whose credit cards were or are vulnerable). It is a legal requirement that fundraisers conduct background checks on prospective employees. Failure to do so is a felony and conducting a background check and ignoring the prospective hires criminal record is also a felony. Currently Berkaw is working as the manager for the fundraising office at the Houston Ballet where she has access to thousands of credit cards.