Monday, March 24, 2014

Complaint submitted to CA Attorney General

March 24 2014
For Immediate Release
Shreddergate, Lawsuits and Missing People
Berkeley-Today's resumption of what passes for the work week at Pacifica Radio was chaotic. Here's our best summary of what ensued.
A link to the request for an investigation filed at the CA Attorney General by 8 former National Board members on March 23rd can be found here. (
Despite a March 20th Board of Directors vote to re-hire recently-resigned KPFK general manager Bernard Duncan into the interim executive director slot, alleged board chair Margy Wilkinson sent out this email today to network staffers:
"Greetings: I want to thank the staff of Pacifica and the staff at each of the five stations for their hard work to keep the Pacifica Foundation functioning and moving forward. The Pacifica National Board voted to release Summer Reese by majority vote. A vote of the majority is a vote of the board. At this point I am acting Executive Director of Pacifica. Moving forward the board is currently engaged in appointing an Interim Executive Director to provide stability to the organization"
The email seems to indicate a hitch in the hire of Duncan, whose name, although he was the only candidate presented to the Board of Directors on March 20th, has still not been released publicly by the Board. Board members have not been informed what the status is of the re-hire. A request to Wilkinson to clarify was not responded to. 
Board member Jose-Luis Fuentes, who works at the law firm Siegel and Yee, was on the telephone to Bank of America today seeking to change signature authority on network bank accounts. To change the authorized signatures on bank accounts is usually done formally via a vote of the full board. Fuentes was informed by Bank of America such a change would require a set of approved minutes recording a board resolution to change the authorized signatories marked with the corporate seal. The bank notified the national office of the request made and their denial. The Board has issued no minutes from any board meeting and has not filled the position of board treasurer in the past seven weeks.
Another request to strip alarm codes from the workers in national headquarters was also denied by the alarm company vendor, although it caused stress to national employees who described themselves as being "driven crazy" by their attempts to do their jobs with constant interference from the board and it's conflict with the executive director.
A legal pleading to uphold the signed employment contract is expected to be filed quite soon.
This morning's police incident pretty much fizzled into nothing, although early reports from inside the national office, where it was impossible for the occupants to hear what was going on outside, sounded potentially alarming. The basket of paper waste that started all the trouble is photographed here by Oakland photographer Scott Braley. Fortunately the verbal altercation between the alleged chair and foundation's administrative manager Tamika Miller over the shredding pick-up did not spiral out of control after it attracted the attention of a passing police officer. Officer Ceretti of the Berkeley PD spoke with both Wilkinson and Reese, ascertained that no weapons were on the premises, and appears to have merely filed a report.

March 23 2014
For Immediate Release
Former Board Members File Complaint With CA Attorney General
Berkeley-8 Former Pacifica National Board members from all 5 of the licensed station's signal areas across the country have filed a complaint with the California Attorney General today. The board members request the AG's assistance in investigating the chaotic board takeover of network, help to assure the integrity of the charity and to prevent further reckless actions by the board to destabilize the organization and/or cause the nation's first public radio network to collapse.

The complaint alleges "serious and substantial breaches of duty" by the newly-installed Board of Directors including creating liability, risking uninsurability, preventing access to counsel, and ignoring pending workplace harassment claims. The request for investigation comes from board members who served at various times between 2010 and 2013. The full text of the complaint will be available later today.

In the meantime, disputed board chair Margy Wilkinson confirmed to network employees that the Board of Directors is "having trouble producing minutes". The Board's Secretary has produced no minutes since the 2014 board convened 7 weeks ago. 25+ hours of closed meetings in that period of time remain totally undocumented.

9 sitting members of the Board of Directors issued the following memorandum Sunday evening to ease confusion among the network's employees, vendors and contractors who are unclear who to report to in the standoff between the executive director and a thin majority on the board.

TO: All Pacifica Foundation Radio Employees, Vendors and Contractors
REGARDING: Business Operations
FROM: Pacifica National Board Members Listed Below
DATE: March 23, 2014

In order to minimize confusion and maintain the necessary operations of our network, we Pacifica Board Members (listed below) are writing this note to clarify the current state of affairs:

The Pacifica National Board of Directors has pursued an ill-advised and probably illegal course of action resulting in uncertainty in the direction of the day-to-day operations of the National Office.

The actions have been taken by a bare majority of the Board of Directors without required notice or independent legal input, despite our repeated request for legal and human resource advice. We believe these actions are not binding upon the Foundation.

We regret that the actions above have occurred, despite our strong opposition.

Corrective action will be taken shortly. In the meantime, it is imperative that operations continue as usual via the usual lines of authorization. We ask that you perform your functions as you would have done prior to March 13th in order to protect the assets of the network.

We deeply regret the behavior of some members of the Board of Directors and are concerned about the destructive impact on staff, vendors and the general public. We are committed to maintaining normal business operations and serving the public throughout this episode.

FROM PACIFICA NATIONAL BOARD MEMBERS: Carolyn Birden, Janet Coleman, Heather Gray, Kim Kaufman, Janet Kobren, Janis Lane-Ewart, George Reiter, Manijeh Saba and Richard Uzzell

A statement in opposition to the board's careless actions can be found here and is gathering signatures from board members, staffers and listeners.

The network's national headquarters remains occupied for the 7th consecutive day.


  1. It appears that things may be about to become interesting.

    ~ 'indigo'

    1. That, applied to WBAI's programming, is something many of us have long wished for. :)

  2. Today Null ended his program with another self-serving rant. He boldly decried how some *other* health premiums offered by BAI are 'embarrassing'. He excoriated the racial, political and religious cliques that operate the station. He, standing above the fray, denounced the vitriol, the hatred and the argumentation that is BAI. And, he threatened to leave Pacifica if things don't change -- unless he is 'censored' before that time.

  3. Certainly sounds as if Null is scrambling to save his 'reputation' from a possible impending Pacificopalypse.

    ~ 'indigopirate'

  4. Looks like Summer Reese is suing herself into power, much like JUC supposedly did. Notice how this is mostly an HR lawsuit as opposed to a financial mismanagement/embezzlement/criminal complaint.

    I have seen other cases where bad people sued successfully because management, in their arrogance typically, did not follow proper procedure when firing them. Too bad the PNB did not follow the legal guidelines, when firing Reese.

    1. B bear, which "legal guidelines, when firing Reese" are you referring to? Which ones (or requirements) do you think may have been violated, & how?


  5. In the Union workplace, there are disciplinary proceedings, notices, and hearings that must be followed. I know of a case, where a person was fired for a good reason, won a court case and the company was forced to hire them back with years of back pay, simply because when a Union rep called the high ranking exec and asked, why has this person been fired, the idiot snapped into the phone: Because I felt like it!

    On the other side, at a place like Wal Mart a (store retailing) department manager can be fired at a drop of a hat simply because of the sales figures for that quarter. I don't know what human resource policy and employment contracts are like at Pacifica, but giver prior history and litigation, I am guessing there had been a way of doing it, so that when Reese occupied the Pacifica offices, she would have been arrested for trespassing and harassment.

    The Pacifica board could have sprung the firing on her anyway, but they could have used lawyers and HR people, and a specialist or two, to permanently and effectively remove her.