Thursday, March 31, 2016

Breeding ground for cons and conflicts

Today, we were told that the judgement against Pacifica in a case filed by Steve Brown has come down in his favor. The ruling grants Brown the full amount plus all legal fees. This case had to do with Bernard White's lawsuit, alleging that his firing had been based upon his race. 

It's a somewhat complicate case, made worse for Pacifica due to its own false claims (almost a pattern here, don't you think?).

In the meantime, Gary Null has withdrawn his case against Pacifica, WBAI, and involved individuals, but only temporarily—as he emphasized in a commentary delivered on his WBAI show today, Thursday the 31st of March, 2016.

Add it all up (without Reimers/Cohen embellishments) and it becomes clear that Pacifica—with its substandard programming, narrow vision, and inept, dishonest management—is closer than ever before to being morphed into a painful footnote.

Bear in mind last night's dire reality check from Pacifica CFO Sam Agarwal as you listen to Gary Null's commentary. Don't be thrown off by Mr. Null's penchant for embroidering his own import—what he says about Pacifica's darker side, including its copyright infringements, is no fantasy.

Brother, can you spare a million?

The  Pacifica National Board's Coordinating Committee held a phone meeting Wednesday night. Much of the discussion centered around setting up an obligatory in-person session for the discussion of pending measures, including mortgage.

However, one big problem soon became apparent—a revelation that ought to have been abundantly clear to all, but it took CFO Sam Agarwal, fresh from visiting the ruins of WBAI, to spell it out. He brought an important, sorely needed check. No, not the kind dreams are made of... this one was of a different nature: a Reality Check!

Once again, we can thank Indigopirate for delivering the essence of a PNB meeting.

Sam Agarwal, CFO Pacifica

‘I want to make everybody aware of the cash flow concerns.’

‘We are looking at a very difficult situation.’

$100,000 still due for the 2014 audit still in progress.

Central services have not been paid by at least two stations.

No confidence critical services due in the next fifteen days can be paid.

$44,000 charged to credit card, never cleared.

‘I don’t know where to strike a balance.’

‘I am dealing with the hard realities… the cash flow is becoming a very serious concern.’

‘This cannot continue.’

‘We are reaching the point where the national office will not be able to meet its payroll.’

‘Going forward I don’t see a path where we can even be cash even.’

Will not be able to present auditors with a cash flow plan – will have to accept a going concern issue.

Therefore, will not be able to obtain a mortgage – this is very clear.

‘Complete focus has to be on immediate cash flow.’

‘How can we raise some cash so that we can at least meet our basic needs?’

Three stations have submitted cash flow that is shaky, two stations don’t even have a cash plan… they are tapped out.

‘There cannot be any cash flow plan to break even.’

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Red sail in the sunset?

The Bumbling Bozos of Berkley may have stumbled deeper into the morass. Here's a flag Tracy Rosenberg saw today:

The 990 tax form for the year 10/13 to 9/14 does not appear to have been filed with the California Registry of Charitable Trusts. Pacifica's status is listed as delinquent. 

I assume the 2013-2014 990 form was filed with the Internal Revenue Service as the last possible date to do so was in 2015 and the board was informed that it had been, but it also needed to be filed with the State of California with the accompanying RRF form. 

I believe this is the return Pacifica had Armanino prepare in 2015 for a cost of $10,000. 

The current 990 form for the year 10/14 to 9/15 was due 5 months after the end of the fiscal year unless an extension was requested. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

If your phone don't ring... it's them.

With the wolves getting rather restless and the vultures circling impatiently above, The PNB Audit Committee had a meeting. It wasn't their first regarding the present situation, nor would it be their last.

Ask anyone who was a part of Tuesday's telephone circle jerk to tell you what the result was and you will probably get a blank stare. As the amendments piled up on such simple decisions as determining an agenda, the clock—which has not been on the side of Pacifica lately—ticked ominously. This was not the usual factional war—although there was some of that below the surface—but rather a case of the blind leading the blind, memories failing, and utter frustration. Should the auditor be invited to the net meeting? Some thought not, because the bill has not been paid and such visits can run into the thousands. Others felt that the auditor's presence would not make any sense, because the Committee has nothing to lay on the table. Still others realized that nothing makes sense anymore, if it ever did. 

The following excerpt will give you a good idea of how farcical all this has become, and if you for some very odd reason feel up to it, I have also include the entire stream, which comes in two parts and almost takes up as many hours.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Roses to roaches...

As Pacifica's new Chief Finance Officer, Sam Agarwal, flies in to attend a meeting called by the Empire State Building people, Reimers' secrets are going to be more difficult to keep. He is still cowering out of sight, but his cronies have been busy covering up for him. The ESB is now owed close to a million in back rent, piles of paid-for "thank you gifts" are collecting dust at Atlantic Avenue—which is said to be owed back rent—and Gary Null's lawsuit circles over the wreck of WBAI like a vulture with high hopes.

Have you any ideas?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Future premium?

Free with any donation of $250.00 on the Plantation Buddy plan — 2% goes to WBAI Reparations Fund, Inc.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Try plugging it in....

They're running around like headless chicken. Null's lawsuit looms over them, Mitchel is—as usual—in major denial, and a meeting called by the Empire State people has the fat lady itching to belt out her song.

The following was posted in Nalinis forum, addressed to Mitchel Cohen—who is ever ready to make up stories in defense of WBAI negligence. I hope he gave Ms. Vogt-Downey the courtesy of a reply. She is a station volunteer who may well be misguided when it comes to its direction, associates with clueless "Occupy" cultist D. Goldstein, but clearly has concern for WBAI's future.  —Chris

Hi All,

I happened to be in at the station this afternoon about 5 p.m.and saw that the huge stack of unsent premiums that has been there for possibly two months remains there. I had offered to pay for the mailing at least a month ago in an email to Berthold and received no response from him. I repeated that offer to Andrea Katz two weeks ago and she said that money was not the problem. Then, of course, we had the tragic death and loss of our Dani.

After that, Berthold said that no one knew how to operate the postage machine, that we were getting a new machine and that all that was necessary was to learn how to operate it and that was supposed to happen, according to what he told me, on Monday March 7.

A week and a half later, all those premiums are still piled there waiting to be sent!!

It is time to take this matter into our own hands. If these premiums are not being sent, listeners/donors are waiting and losing confidence in our station. If they are unhappy with the station they are probably trying to call us for an explanation. Is anyone answering those calls and addressing listener complaints? This is deadly for the station!

Two years ago, we were in a similar crisis. At that time, we mobilized as volunteers, got the station out of trouble, and kept it afloat. I believe that it is time, once again, for the volunteers to move in, take over and solve the problems.

We need to get those premiums in the mail. This means that we must learn how to use the postage machine, put sufficient money in it to pay for the postage, and deliver the premiums to the Post Office.

Will anyone volunteer to help get this done? Does anyone know how to use the postal machine? How to put money on it? Does anyone have a car to take the stuff to the PO?

I will work with whoever is available, but I need help. Can anyone help with this, maybe starting tomorrow late morning?

Ideas???? Comments???


Marilyn Vogt-Downey

The response was apparently good, so MV-D posted this follow-up around 1:30 this morning. Note that she mentions "hundreds of premiums," and 1. No on-air mention/apology has been made to the listeners. 2. When pressed, Reimers was able to get help with the postage machine rather quickly. 

Another case of this opportunist's fuck-the-customer neglect and severely warped priorities. Berthold Reimers ought not only be summarily dismissed, he should be made to repay WBAI for 5 or 6 years of irreparable damage.

This is what Ms. MV-D posted today:

Here is a report of what happened today.

I went in to meet up with Maxine, a regular volunteer. We got Berthold to get the man who was necessary to train us to use the new postage machine to come in this afternoon. He showed Maxine, Berthold, Mitch, and me how to use the machine. Then we showed Tony, one of the chief BAI engineers. It is an unbelievably awkward system and labor intensive. But we managed to get started putting postage labels on a few of that enormous stack and now have the hang of what the process entails. A box of premiums is now ready to go to the Post Office. But the work has only just begun...

...We will be continuing this process over the next few days until all these hundreds of premiums are finally posted. From then on, even though the process is not fast, keeping up with the mailing of premiums should not be a problem on a day-to-day basis once this huge pile is processed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Exile Newsletter: March 15, 2016

CFO Proposes Liquidating DC and NY In 60 Days
Berkeley-Pacifica's new CFO Sam Agarwal reported to Pacifica's national finance committee he anticipated a recommendation in a period of 60 days for the liquidation of Washington DC's WPFW-AM and the sale, liquidation or lease of NY's WBAI-FM. Agarwal stated that WPFW was three months behind in central service payments and two months behind in health insurance premium payments and WBAI-FM was two months behind in central service payments and one month behind in health insurance payments.

(The new CFO appeared unaware that both California stations had fallen more than six months behind in central services payments in the past five years: KPFA from February to December of 2010 and KPFK from February to September of 2015. Neither station was offered up for liquidation at the time). 

Interim board chair Tony Norman insisted on a 60-day window for WPFW's local station board and GM to make a recovery plan. New York's WBAI was not so lucky. The committee went straight to a national plan for "restructuring". Agarwal's report can be heard here. The commitee spent most of the meeting time wordsmithing their recommendations to the national board. Little mention was made of the bylaws requirements for membership authorization of any sale, swap or transfer of a radio license or the disposition of significant assets.
The committee also scheduled a special meeting for March 29th to "drill down" into KPFA's finances. The CFO said that KPFA was "just scraping by" and "it was not a good situation to be in".

On March 10th, the final deadline for pre-litigation settlement talks between Pacifica and attorneys for WBAI host Gary Null, who has filed suit alleging piracy and premiums fraud, expired with no visible response from the radio network. A letter from Null's attorney to unofficial Pacifica corporate counsel Dan Siegel laid out settlement terms that included dedicated double-signatory bank accounts for the purchase of premiums after fund drives, an end to the alleged piracy and attempts to make restitution, a compliance officer, the dismissal of fiduciaries who blocked investigation, and forgave all penalties and damages. The failure to settle means the case will move forward into litigation.

According to former national board member Steve Brown, the letter with settlement terms was not disclosed to the full board of directors, preventing them from deciding whether or not to accept the offer as a body. Brown commented in a widely circulated email: "The letter offered a settlement that might help Pacifica’s officers, station management, and national board members avoid facing federal prosecution, paying thousands of dollars in fines, and serving prison sentences of up to 5 years. Because the letter affects not only the welfare of Pacifica, but also the welfare of at least 12 members of the Pacifica National Board (who could be fined personally for refusing to stop criminal activities of which it had been made aware), every board member has a legal right to read this letter – and, as Pacifica’s ultimate governing body, a legal duty to decide how to respond to it. But you were not allowed to exercise that right. That is because Gary Null’s letter was not shared with you as board members. Ooops, sorry. That is too mild a description. What I meant to say is that this information was deliberately withheld from you as board members. This means that decisions that only the board is legally empowered to make, in the open, are being made, in secret, by Dan Siegel, Lydia Brazon, and their tiny “inner circle,” who have been making fools out of you for the past three years".

Around the same time, the Office of the California Attorney General wrote to Pacifica's lawyer, Dan Siegel, requesting he provide registration information for the "KPFA Foundation" nonprofit Siegel secretly set up with former executive director Margy Wilkinson in September of 2013 and headquartered at his Oakland law office. The letter, which was posted in the Registry of Charitable Trusts public database, is dated March 11th and requests the registration information be completed by April 11th. Siegel and Wilkinson have stated the purpose of the "KPFA Foundation" is to "catch" KPFA's radio license should it become loosened from the Pacifica Foundation.

Such a letter can be triggered by the acquisition or intended acquisition of assets (including donated money) by a nonprofit, by the pending AG investigation of financial mismanagement at the Pacifica Foundation (Case # CT011303) or in a routine sweep of shell nonprofits registered at the CA Secretary of State and not registered with the  Registry of Charitable Trusts.

KPFA local board chair Carole Travis had told KPFA's local board the "KPFA Foundation" was collapsed and dissolved, but her statement was untrue. In defense of the secret action to set up the new foundation, Travis also said "we set it up without a discussion because we knew that your side had gone to the Attorney General's office". This was also untrue as the KPFA Foundation articles of incorporation, as can be seen here, are datestamped as received by the Secretary of State on September 24, 2013. The initial complaint with the CA Attorney General was filed six months later on March 24, 2014, ten days after the board terminated the executive director, the last paid executive director has had in the last 23 months excluding John Proffitt's brief 4 month tenure.
Last week the Berkeley wing of the Siegel/Brazon faction weighed in with local delegate William Campisi calling for KPFA to be placed in charge of the network or for Pacifica to be forced into bankruptcy in the 9th District Court. Campisi's comments can be heard here.  This was not the first time Campisi, who is newly elected to KPFA's local station board has taken a strong interest in a nonprofit organization under investigation by the California Attorney General for financial mismanagement. Campisi makes an appearance in a March 25, 2003 article in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, where columnists writing about the financial irregularities at drug rehab Walden House noted they had received an unsolicited letter from Campisi in support of Walden House's founder Alfonso Acampora. Campisi called the reporters "envious people's gutter snipes". Acampora had said in February of 2003 that he "would sooner die than turn over Walden House to anyone else". In March of 2003, he shot himself in the head at the Claremont Hotel. Reporters in a homeless and formerly homeless people's journalism training program called Raising Our Voices had done an expose on financial irregularities at SF's homeless services programs, including Walden House, in 2001.

Since being seated on January 28, 2016, the current Pacifica National Board has primarily considered motions restricting voting rights on the national board and tried to rearrange the outcome of the 2015 board elections in New York. There has been litte to no attention paid to improving the network's operations, growing the membership base, or upgrading the program content offered by the stations.