Tuesday, April 8, 2014

FYI: April 7, 2014 release from Pacifica Radio in Exile

The following is a press release from the pro-Reese side of this unfortunate Pacifica battle. It is posted here for your information and comments.

Berkeley-Pacifica's payroll administrator received a letter from Oakland law firm Siegel and Yee on March 28th instructing them to provide online access to Pacifica's payroll accounts to three individuals: Raul Salvador, the former probationary CFO terminated by the board of directors on January 2, 2014, disputed board chair Margy Wilkinson, and Bernard Duncan, who was publicly reported hired as an interim ED on April 3rd, one week after the date of the letter. The letter, authored by Jose Luis Fuentes on Siegel and Yee letterhead, which can be seen here, implied the law firm whose partners include Oakland City Council member Jane Brunner, attorney Alan Yee, and Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel, represent the Pacifica Foundation in a legal capacity. Pacifica's corporate counsel Terry Gross of Gross, Belsky and Alonzo, resigned from his position at the end of March after refusing to represent the board of directors in matters relating to Reese's attempted termination. No replacement attorney or law firm has been retained. 
It is not clear if the partners at Fuente's firm, Yee, Brunner and Siegel gave Fuentes permission to misrespresent Siegel and Yee as Pacifica's attorneys.
The payroll administrators contacted national office staff to request verification of the request and were informed Siegel and Yee did not represent the Pacifica Foundation. Payroll was processed as usual. 
The radio network and 12 of its board members have a date in court for a hearing on a temporary injunction requested by 9 board members, as "Pacifica Directors for Good Governance" on Wednesday, April 9th. The lawsuit, which was paid for by independent fundraising (more than 40 community members have donated to the legal fund) is non-financial and asks the court to enjoin actions by the board majority due to the financial risk they represent. to Pacifica Radio. The restraining order paperwork can be found here. The complete text of the legal complaint can be found here.
According to reports, Siegel told some individuals that he would be "representing Pacifica" at the April 9th hearing, although he has not been retained by the board to do so. Siegel is one of the authors and signatories on Reese's November 11th offer letter for 3 years of employment as Pacifica's executive director, presented to her by the Pacifica board a mere 20 weeks ago. 
An open letter to the Board objecting to the breach of the Executive Director's contract signed by hundreds of staffers, volunteers and listeners across the country can be found here
KPFA local station board treasurer Barbara Whipperman confirmed that KPFA's accounts were not reconciled nor ready for audit at this time, a situation that resulted in the delay of the annual audit from March (6 months after the close of the fiscal year on 9-30) to June (9 months after the close of the fiscal year). Her public statement began "The business manager at KPFA is working on a complicated reconciliation of the KPFA financial records.  The complications center around the records of income from credit card donations, many thousands of records. There are statements from credit card processing companies involved, as well as the monthly bank statements". On April 7, national office staff again attempted to request needed accounting records from KPFA. 


  1. Even Satan sticks to the letter of the contract, but not the PROBATIONARY executive director Reese! The worst part of it is the maneuvering of the likes of Janet Coleman to keep the Pacifica National Board to getting themselves legal counsel. But this is nothing new. In order to maintain more of a financial control over the wealthy KPFA's budget, members of the Pro Grace faction (another erstwhile power usurper, whose family was banished from the Temple of Scientology, you can't make this up, folks), stalled and disrupted the KPFA's board meetings so that budget would not be passed in time and the Pacifica Executive Director could step in. This is not childish, this is Nazi storm-troopers in the legislative assembly.

    I am still doing my research, and there were misrepresentations by some other anonymous posters, a clearer picture is emerging of the two factions (thank the court documents) . Once I get everything in, I will write it all up and post it.

    So, a basic question to all ye Reese fans, what religion does Summer Reese claim to be practicing, other than a legal claim for the feds so as not to have to use the Social Security number, in a bit of anarchist posturing? Or is her religion a big secret? Is it a sect more bizarre and esoteric, than Scientology?

    1. I am somewhat baffled by your anti-Reese crusade, BB. It seems to me that you are going far beyond objective criticism, and overboard. What happened to trigger this?

  2. In what alternative universe is KPFA "wealthy"? If you read the 9/30/12 audit report, KPFA's annual income was $3.4 million, as opposed to KPFK at $3.05 million and good old WBAI at $3.03 million. KPFA's balance sheet value is distorted by a 12 year old "receivable" of $1.3 million from the rest of the network to pay off the Mary Frances Berry legal bills in 2003, but that's not real money and should be written off. Can't really take you seriously if you can't read and understand a financial statement.

  3. Chris, it's her patronizing disingenuousness when she was taking listeners phone calls at BAI, it's her being the good hatchet-woman for Pacifica National Board as long as it served her interests, it's her collusion with Tracy Rosenberg, who laid off KPFA staff to cut costs, but only laid off people she didn't like, and wrecked a popular morning show, and one of the factors was that Brian-Edward Tiekert disagreed with the 9/11 conspiracy theorists? This cost Tracy Rosenberg her position at Pacifica. I find that kind of behavior reprehensible.

    Anonymous, don't take me seriously! Tell me if the Pacifica National Board did not accuse KPFA of holding back money or raising funds for the exclusive use by the KPFA? Isn't one of the sentiments of the Pro-Wilkerson faction, that KPFA actually operated at a surplus and that KPFA's funds were being used to bolster other radio stations? Did Reese take 50 grand of the KPFA funds and use it to pay for the severance package to the laid off employees at BAI, and that was one of the things that precipitated action against Reese?

    Anyway, Anon, everybody else, you are welcome to weigh in with your comments, and set me straight!

    1. I know, it's a ball of confusion and nobody comes out squeaky clean. That's why I don't see much hope for Pacifica, even if it overcomes the current financial crisis. The slate has to be wiped clean, and that probably isn't possible. If both sides had genuine interest in restoring Lew Hill's Pacifica, even contrasting approaches could be iron out, but there is too much self-interst, animosity and ego involved with this bunch of combatants.

      That's how I see it.

  4. Oh no, nobody is clean at Pacifica. It's just very, very sad. I may disagree with Lew Hill, but I admire his courage to stand up to the system during WW2 of all wars, and with Pacifica board in this day and age we have more division and less integration along the racial and ethnic lines, than American society at large and less diversity and more parochialism than the more mainstream and corporately underwritten NPR. Consider this: BAI is split along black nationalist and the non-Afrocentrist, largely Null and older white listeners from the 1960's. In this current Summer Reese battle, you have pro-Reese faction, that includes no Latinos, wage a battle to expel the portion of the Pacifica National Board that Includes all of Latinos. At the same time, you have serious black activists and politicians - Heather Gray, Janis Lane Ewart, and Luzette King, backing Summer Reese. I would venture to guess, that there is more bias, racism, and chauvinism, maybe just anger, resentment, and bitterness, among the Pacifica and Local Station Board members today, than in the mainstream America, at least among the people I interact with on daily basis. Does anybody else see this?