Monday, May 18, 2015
An interesting moment from the May 26, 2015 PNB Finance Committee meeting. KPFT's Bill Crosier asks Pacifica CFO Raul Salvador important questions. The answers, if you can understand them, may offer a clue as to why Mr. Salvador abruptly reigned May 6. You may recall that he was dismissed by the PNB last year, when his interim status was about to run out, but rehired covertly when the Wilkinson regime crawled in. This exchange was extracted by Tracy Rosenberg, who wrote the following lead-in:
"As usual former PNB vice-chair Bill Crosier asks the right questions. The answers are baffling. The three primary areas: 1) Will restricted funds used to pay operating expenses be repaid? 2) Why did Pacifica take out a loan for $156K to pay back employment taxes 6 weeks after getting an unsolicited $150,000 donation? 3) Why does an accounts payable list only itemize 20% of the amount Pacifica owes?"
Thursday, May 7, 2015
May 7, 2015
For Immediate Release
Pacifica's CFO Resigns
Berkeley-Pacifica's chief financial officer Raul Salvador suddenly resigned on May 6, 2015 at 10:00am. The resignation is effective May 15th, four days after new Executive Director John Proffitt begins work on May 11th. Salvador's tenure at Pacifica was stormy, marked by the Board's decision not to move ahead with his permanent hire in January of 2014. The decision was reversed by the new incoming board a month later, leading to the departure of most of the national office accounting staff.
Since then, the fiscal 2013 audit took an astonishing 8+ months to complete, the fiscal 2014 audit has not begun, and Pacifica missed Corporation for Public Broadcasting filing deadlines in both 2014 and 2015 for public media funding. The California Attorney General launched a correspondence audit of Pacifica in December of 2014.
Pacifica's board has not announced Salvador's departure formally on their website or anywhere else, but are expected to mention it at this evening's Internet-streamed board meeting session.
Salvador's abrupt resignation comes a week after the board majority expelled former KPFK local board treasurer Kim Kaufman from their ranks, after Kaufman submitted documents independently to California's Attorney General and notified the board she had done so. Kaufmana was expelled for the alleged crime of supposedly releasing financial data Pacifica sent to California's Attorney General to former board members in response to the investigation. A petition objecting to her removal by a narrow 14-person vote on the 22-member board can be found here.
More inquiries into unauthorized purchases made on company credit cards have been launched.
Outgoing interim executive director and board chair Margy Wilkinson does not seem to be willing to let her successor, John Proffitt, a nonprofit radio manager for 28 years, make any decisons, making a last-minute crony hire of former Pacifica board member Leslie Radford as the new permanent general manager of LA station KPFK, less than 9 office hours before Proffitt begins work on Monday.
Radford has no apparent credentials for the KPFK general manager position. She teaches introductory community college classes and has no mangerial or media experience. Her public Linked In profile can be seen here. Radford is a member of the dominant Siegel-Brazon faction to which Wilkinson belongs. The incoming permanently hired executive director expected to interview the candidates and make the hire on his arrival in Berkeley, but has been pre-empted by interim Wilkinson's nepotism hire.
The network's five stations have begun their Spring on-air fund drives, which will run for most of May. Early results out of California are disappointing, with both KPFA and KPFK posting receipts at 75% of their daily goals, even after substantially reducing those goals from previously budgeted amounts. (KPFK's budgeted goal of $750,000 for the Spring fund drive was reduced to $612,000 and KPFA's budgeted goal of $733,000 for the Spring fund drive was reduced to $580,000). Results from Texas station KPFT, Washington station WPFW and NY station WBAI are not available yet.
A controversy has broken out at Berkeley's KPFA, where popular show Guns and Butter was reported on Facebook to have had programming related to California's childhood vaccination debate censored. The email appeal, which appears to have gotten around widely, says:
"Today Gary Null was scheduled to appear on Bonnie Faulkner’s program Guns and Butter over the Pacifica Network’s flagship station KPFA in Berkeley CA. He was scheduled for the full hour to speak on vaccine efficacy and safety and address issues concerning the California vaccine bills. The station censored her from doing the broadcast. The first time G&B been censored in 11 years. The program is syndicated and airs on other land stations around the nation, and is particularly popular in California. KPFA and other Pacifica stations pride themselves in being the last bastion of free-speech, commercial free broadcasting in the nation. However, it has become increasingly controlled by ideologues with political agendas trumping the public interests it claims to champion. Anyone who wishes to file complaints to KPFA management and express the station’s disservice to California residents may do so by sending a brief email to either the general manager Quincy McCoy firstname.lastname@example.org or better yet the station manager Laura Prives who was responsible for banning the broadcast email@example.com."
Guns and Butter frequently covers heated topics and has consistently posted some of the most robust fundraising totals on the Berkeley station's 1-3pm afternoon strip. The replacement show G&B aired on Wednesday raised $2,814 in the 1-2pm hour, the highest total in the 11am to 10am period of the 2 1/2 day fund drive so far.
Pacifica in Exile readers may write to the board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now we know why they haven't posted a picture of the new "studio"! They had a couple of years in which to create it, Reimers was said to have consulted an "architech designer", Chief Operations Manager Tony Ryan worked hard to build it, claiming to have spent his own money on it...
|Regression lives at 388 Atlantic Ave. Photo by Jim Freund (posted on FB)|
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
The following sobering piece by Stephen M. Brown addresses, among other issues, the racism that has escalated under Mario Murillo's tenure as iPD and is possibly giving WBAI the final push over the edge to oblivion. Originally published elsewhere, it is reproduced here with permission pending.
Dear WBAI Supporter –
I am perplexed and saddened that WBAI’s Program Director, Mario Murillo, has invited two people back on the air who had long ago been sent packing from WBAI in disgrace, and for good reason. When queried, Berthold Reimers, who as general manager has final authority over who and what gets on WBAI’s air, denied responsibility, claiming, “Gee, I’m only the general manager. What could I do?”
The first disgraced returnee is Don Rojas, who as a former General Manager helped inflame racial and ethnic antagonisms among staff and listeners. He resigned after protests over his incessant absences from the station, his failure to capably perform his job, and the mysterious disappearance of several of the station’s newly purchased Apple laptops, which -- it was discovered by examining shipping receipts -- had been surreptitiously “diverted” to his father-in-law’s address in New Jersey.
The second disgraced returnee is Bernard White, a former WBAI Program Director. After being caught and forced to confess that he gave thousands of dollars from a WBAI fundraiser to a friend, White was eventually dismissed for failure to capably perform his job, and for abetting hate speech and committing libel on the air. In response, he sued WBAI and Pacifica, claiming damages of $500,000 because – as he alleged – he had been fired for being Black.
Never mind that he had been fired by a female African American general manager, on the advice of an African American human resources director, with the consent of local and national boards that were at least 50% people of color. Or – even more telling -- that the person who replaced him was also African American.
Despite the fact that his claim could not even pass the laugh test, Mr White gambled that Pacifica would do what it always did when it was sued – i.e., settle for a quick $50- or $60,000 payment to avoid having to pay the $125,000 deductible for legal bills that was required by Pacifica’s insurance company before it would start picking up the tab. But White had gambled wrong. Pacifica’s then-Executive Director refused to play that game. She wouldn’t pay a dime to settle White’s fraudulent claim and went to court. The judge agreed that the claim was meritless and threw it out, writing a scathing decision that exposed White’s lawsuit for what it was – a cynical and blatantly dishonest attempt to scam the foundation for his own benefit. White vs Pacifica. Nevertheless, this fraudulent lawsuit cost WBAI and Pacifica hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal costs, which they could ill afford.
Both Rojas and White, after damaging WBAI and leaving in disgrace, have been brought back by Program Director Murillo – not because they will help WBAI – but because they are his buddies. Once again, cronyism has trumped competence at WBAI. Thanks, Mario. Thanks, Berthold. With friends like you, WBAI doesn’t need enemies. “Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose.”
Stephen M Brown