Saturday, December 30, 2017

While Madame Defarge knits away...

Remember, not so long ago, when the lack of promotion was a common complaint among WBAI supporters? A devastating exodus of the station's listenership began amid calls for a higher level of programming and greater diversity. WBAI was being morphed into a soapbox for afro-centric propaganda and morally bereft scammers. Frivolous fatal factors that, along with extraordinarily inept "management", have brought WBAI to the current point of no return.

Prayers for press were finally answered, but not as desired—if anything favorable was said, it was in the past tense. That ought to have sent a signal to Pacifica's governing bodies, but bad programming got worse, bigotry became more blatant, and certifiably incompetent managers and producers were tenured.
From time to time, you will find a pertinent press clip posted here—this one submitted by a loyal WBAI contibutor and former listener:

Anderson Valley Press clip

Friday, December 29, 2017

Turning to Chapter 11

Here, in full, is an audio clip of the Pacifica National Board's open meeting called to authorize the interim Executive Director to take a major step which he sees as the only solution to Pacifica's current do-or-die financial crisis.

It is by no means the ideal way out, but the alternative paths, signal swap, loan or property sales may pose an even greater risk. It seems pretty certain that the fat lady's song will span the country, but it is also clear to reasoned people among us that this is a situation brought on by years of mismanagement, neglect, moral decay and pursuit of personal interests. 

Simply put, this curtain closer is ultimately the result of appalling hiring practices brought on by years of handing the reins over to opportunistic amateurs whose idea of a New York "community" radio station is one that focuses on an educationally handicapped black population and pursues its own self-serving goals through taking advantage of plights they ought to be attempting to remedy.

The irony is that their race-based doctrine has brought WBAI's listenership to its lowest point, chasing away intellectually curious supporters of all races, ages and political persuasions. A dearth of listeners has left piggybanks wanting and cash registers silent. Now we can expect WBAI itself to become but a memory, but not a cherished one. Most of us who knew it long will be remarkably indifferent as it goes dark, so to speak. What have we lost? a few meaningful programs drowning in a sea of propaganda and other mediocrities.

Restoration was still possible a few years ago when I started this blog. My revisit had almost been accidental—I expected changes, but not the drastic downgrade that soon became obvious. The station had suffered ill-advised changes by the Seventies, but now it had sunk to a lower level and Pacifica's principles—the glue that once held us together—were being violated by people who seemed more interested in themselves than in building up and maintaining the extraordinary experiment Lew Hill and his friends had started with KPFA in 1949. 

As I said, I did not hear a WBAI beyond repair, so I initiated this blog with emphasis on the past. I never believed the station ought return to the old groove that reflected—and, in some ways, contributed to—the Sixties' cultural revolution, but integrity and vision had not become outdated. We had entered the digital age, yet I sensed no awareness of it as I listened to one moribund "show" after the other. The station was in a rut—stagnant and uninspired.

I had no desire to return to WBAI in any capacity, but it occurred to me that I might be of use if I shared some of my earlier experiences with current management, so I sent an e-mail offering them whatever advice I could give. Receipt was never acknowledged, so I called and left a message that was likewise ignored. Somehow I did make contact with Jim Dingeman, who immediately invited me to attend and, if I so desired, address a meeting. He was very friendly and clearly eager to improve what he, too, saw as an area in need of attention. After watching a few videos of LSB meetings on YouTube, I decided against accepting Jim's invitation.

Enough of that—I tend to get carried away when I broach the subject of WBAI's disintegration.

Following the open meeting—which is contained in the one hour and six minute link below, the Board went into "executive" (i.e. closed) session. It seems wrong that the people who pay the salaries and bills are excluded from a meeting that will, essentially, tell them whether or not they have wasted their time and money in support of the station, but I suppose we will eventually learn if the Pacifica farce ends with Chapter 11. 

The Open meeting in full.

UPDATE: (Courtesy of Tracy Rosenberg)
There was no authorization for Chapter 11 in the closed session. Crosier's motion did not pass. The board will continue considering a bridge loan to pay off the judgement.

More details from Tracy Rosenberg, who has advocated a loan solution all along:

The Pacifica National Board approved an interest-only loan on the LA property to pay off the summary judgment on November 9.  The Logan Investments loan is 8.99% percent - interest only for three years and would pay off the summary judgment in full and allow time to pursue and complete one of the less destructive signal swap offers to raise millions of dollars. 

The PNB also approved  on December 18 a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing preparation to be shown to the board prior to filing. It has not been produced. 

There's no need for more board resolutions, as Bill knows. What there is a need for is completion of the Logan Investments loan paperwork so a loan contract can be issued and the preparation of a bankruptcy filing for board review, just in case it needs to be filed. 

... there are lots of reasons to avoid bankruptcy, but you need to understand what D&O insurance is. D&O insurance provides a board with legal protection after the deducitible is paid for human resources lawsuits and will pay settlements. It doesn't cover attorney's fees for bankruptcy filings (which will be a million dollars+), and it doesn't pay your debts for you. About the only thing in Pacifica's current portfolio of problems that D&O might address is the Leslie Radford lawsuit against Bill firing her, and that only after $250K in legal bills were run up in that case. 

A post-meeting statement from Bill Crosier:
"Many of you have asked what happened with the Pacifica bankruptcy motion last night.

The PNB majority moved it to executive session. I can't give details publicly about the executive session, but I'll just say that the PNB did not get to that motion in exec. session, so took no action on it." Bill

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Exiles' gloomy return

Berkeley - (Editors note: After more than three and a half years of regular weekly bulletins, Pacifica in Exile did not come out for the last eight weeks. The primary reason for that has been to avoid providing surplus information to Pacifica's main creditor, the Empire State Realty Trust, that could hamper negotiations. At this point, however, we believe the member's right to know has to be the priority, and since various members of the Pacifica community have been putting out information of varying levels of accuracy for some time now, we decided the time was right).

When we last left off publication, Pacifica had been hit with a $1.8 million summary judgment from the Empire State Realty Trust for back rent from 2013 to 2017, The rent is for WBAI-FM's transmitter which broadcasts from the iconic NY skyscraper. A 15-year lease had been signed in 2005 by very temporary IED Ambrose Lane, a WPFW broadcaster who presided briefly between Dan Coughlin and Dan Siegel. The lease was signed under somewhat mysterious circumstances in that members of the 2005 board of directors have not confirmed that they saw it or reviewed it prior to signing. The lease took full advantage of the skyscraper deficit in New York City after the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001, hiking the rent abundantly every year for a decade and a half until 2020, where it topped out at more than 3/4 of a million dollars a year, a prohibitive amount for any community radio station. 
Through all of its turmoil and trouble, WBAI and Pacifica paid the extortionist lease for a long time, incurring regular operating deficits to do so. A "Save the Transmitter" campaign in NY raised $375,000 in a month in February of 2013, but after tapping out the donors, the money dried up and the station, which had been carrying a million dollar payroll in addition to the now half a million dollar lease, made extensive staffing cuts and substantially shrunk its operation and the revenue it produced dropped from $3 million a year down to less than $2 million a year.

After the Siegel/Brazon coup in 2014, which has been chronicled in this publication, in detail, a rumored negotiation took place to try to reduce WBAI's transmitter rent and/or to try to get out of the lease. WBAI has had a standing offer to move its antenna to the Conde Nast building at 4 Times Square for a modest monthly rate of $14K for 5 years running, but has never been able to take advantage of the offer (a 300-400% reduction in rent) because the Empire State Realty Trust would not let them out of their $8 million dollar contract. But the negotiation was a strange one. It began with then-IED Margy Wilkinson removing Pacifica's NY real estate attorney from the negotiation process so Pacifica had no legal representation, and ended with a hush-hush closed session of the board in which it was announced that there was a "verbal agreement" that WBAI could pay a reduced rent of $12K a month.

WBAI did so for almost two years, and then Pacifica was hit with a lawsuit for the balance of the unpaid rent in December of 2016. The "verbal agreement" was worthless. WBAI general manager Berthold Reimers, who was left to the negotiations with no assistance, put out a statement yesterday similar to that filed in court under penalty of perjury:

"I truly believed the National Office would negotiate some terms. Indeed, it took the Empire State almost 3 years to take action. The National Office did not negotiate. I am not an officer of the foundation and could not go any further".

Among the issues creating the logjam was reported to be Pacifica's inability to present ESRT negotiators with a current audited financial statement. At the time the lawsuit was filed in December of 2016, Pacifica's last completed audit was two years old (2013-2014). Pacifica's last completed audit as of today is for 2014-2015. The California AG has demanded the 2015-2016 audit report be filed by February of 2018. Pacifica would have to file it's 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 audits by June of 2018 to regain eligibility for Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant funding. 

Post-judgment, after Pacifica's efforts to enlist NY politicians to ask the Empire State Realty Trust for mercy did not work, the predictable panic set in since a creditor with a judgment can eventually tap into bank accounts and place liens on real estate assets, to attempt to collect a debt if the debtor does not voluntarily pay up. Some Pacifica board members, observing the Foundation owns $10 million dollars in real estate mostly free and clear, apart from the Berkeley properties (KPFA's main studio and the next door abandoned restaurant/national office) have liens on them due to four years of unpaid property taxes), sought refinancing on the LA property (KPFK's studio). Several lenders in the subprime market offered $2-$2.5 million against the LA property in mid-October, which would have cleared the summary judgment, removed the threat of collection activity and provided a 2-3 year window to pursue a license swap or sale or a real estate sale.

Other board members, petrified by the overall size of the debts which, including the long-term debt to Democracy Now, have crept up to the same $5-$6 million mark that newly democratized Pacifica faced in 2001 after the insurrection against the old board of directors, insisted that Pacifica should file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, undeterred by statistics that 85% of organizations that file for Chapter 11, collapse, and do not emerge from bankruptcy.

The split on the Board of Directors, did not break down along the long-established Siegel/Brazon/Independent lines, but instead found the Save KPFA Berkeley group allying with CFO Sam Agarwal to shill for the bankruptcy filing, while several independents agreed with the rest of the former Siegel/Brazonites that Chapter 11 should be avoided if possible. Pacifica was slow to initiate the October loan applications, responding to only one in November, and ignoring the other two until this week. The first loan offer came with some onerous initial paperwork, but instead of counter-offering and indicating which terms were unacceptable, executive staff simply rejected the loan, did not pursue the other two offers and began a sequential series of appeals to the Board of Directors to let them file for Chapter 11, without even providing a pre-filing copy of the petition. i.e. a blanket authorization. This proposal that has now been voted down by the National Board three times in a row. 

The second loan broker, whose offer was responded to just this week, appears poised to make a loan on reasonable terms for three years, which would allow Paciifica to settle the judgment amount and remove any threat of collection activity.

The National Board has been neglectful in reporting out their closed session activities, as they are required to do, so Pacifica in Exile is providing this list of the material closed session motions that have been voted on this year through December 18, 2017. We hope it will assist you in understanding the actions being taken on your behalf as donors and members. We encourage you to download it and read it. While we could provide you with open session meeting audio, this document is likely to contain more of what you are most interested in right now. 

Finally, we'd like to end with a bit of an editorial note. The facts are above and available for your perusal, but in our opinion the word "independent" in independent media is an important one. We believe Pacifica should make every effort to remain independent and not be eager to throw up its member-purchased assets for grabs, at the discretion of the federal government (which is currently populated largely by lunatics) and a creditors committee headed by an aggressive capitalist real estate speculator and billionaire. That's a bad place to be. It would make Lew Hill cringe.

Fantasies about bankruptcy as a panacea i.e. it will get us out of the Empire State lease or it will make all of the debts go away, are unlikely to come true. Bankruptcy courts exist to get creditors as much of their money as possible and Pacifica has assets worth a great deal more than its debts. Ten times more is a conservative estimate. If Chapter 11 bankruptcy was salvation for broke entities, then 85% of organizations would get out of it, not the reverse where 85% of organizations collapse inside of it. To spend a million dollars or more of your charitable donations in an effort to beat those bleak odds and do battle with some of NY's most experienced and aggressive lawyers, for years, should be an unappealing prospect to everyone.

There are no easy decisions. The 3 million in debt that Pacifica was carrying in 2013 (2/3 of it to a relatively friendly creditor Democracy Now'sAmy Goodman) metastasized during the 3-year Siegel/Brazon coup into $5-$6 million. The ticking bomb that the NY lease agreement always promised came to pass. Some assets are going to have to go to service that debt and the expensive and ultimately unsuccessful democratic experiment will have to be rethought, hopefully without entirely jettisoning the democratic impulse entirely. But who makes those decisions is very important.It should be us. Those who built it, own it. If Pacifica's 68 years mean anything at all, that is what should be true. 

Pacifica Bankruptcy Motion 2017

Dear PNB Directors,

Attached is a resolution for authorizing to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and Reorganization. As is clear, we have exhausted all options at this time to secure a loan or to pay the ESRT judgement or to secure a forbearance agreement. Three attorneys have told us, in very clear terms, that Pacifica’s assets are in imminent danger of being liened or seized, some of which may happen today.
We have no written forbearance agreement of any kind with ESRT. They have a judgment against us and have filed in every state where we operate. Now that we are at this point, we must file chapter 11 to protect Pacifica's assets, so we can continue operations.

All directors have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the Foundation's assets. This decision has been blocked and delayed for a long time and cannot be delayed any further. Time has run out. Various delinquencies and financial distresses cannot be ignored. So, I urge my colleagues to do the right thing. Still, we can salvage and come out of this crisis. But later, we will not be able to do so. Waiting until Jan. 8 will be too late, as that's when all the California properties will be at risk. Our other assets, including our bank accounts, are already at great risk of seizure.

As this issue is of critical importance to Pacifica, I am copying all Local Station Boards, the National Finance Committee, Audit Committee, and General Managers and Business Managers to keep them informed.

Please note that any attempt to block or unnecessarily delay this motion will be taken very seriously. As a follow up to our meeting with the California Attorney General Charitable Trusts Division, the officers would forward the outcome of this motion to their office with voting results. Directors may be held personally responsible for conscious disregard of their duties. Damages now can be very clearly specified and it will be the loss of property, interest and legal costs.
I'm sorry to have to put this so bluntly, but this is very important - perhaps the most important thing the PNB has had to do, to protect Pacifica.
Now is the time. We cannot wait any longer.

Bill Crosier

William G. (Bill) Crosier
Interim Executive Director
Pacifica Foundation

Pacifica Bankruptcy Motion

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Breaking the silence...

Nobody listens to WBAI anymore and fewer still want to hear objective criticism or advice from people who know and care. Among the handful of respected broadcasters left on Pacifica stations is Economic Analyst Doug Henwood, whose program, Behind the News offers a welcomed contrast to the inane fluff and race-generated propaganda that dominates a lackluster weekly schedule. Here is what he has to say about the self-destruction and vandalism Pacifica is currently undergoing.
Because WBAI is broke, almost listenerless, and run by idiots, the station didn’t pay its transmitter bill to the Empire State Building, and is now $3 million in arrears. The ESB has sued and wants to seize Pacifica’s assets, which would include KPFA and KPFK’s bank accounts and buildings. 
Because the Pacifica board is staffed by idiots, the network is not filing for bankruptcy or taking any other meaningful measures to protect itself. The rational thing to do would be to sell WBAI’s frequency (at 99.5, it’s on the commercial section of the radio dial), because the station is braindead and pointless, and the proceeds could save the rest of the network. But that doesn’t seem to be happening.
There’s a high risk that KPFA — where Behind the News originates — will stop broadcasting on January 12. I don’t know what that means for the future of BtN, but aside from that, the loss of KPFA would be tragic. 
It’s taken years to get to this point. If you wanted to destroy the network, you couldn’t have done any better than make Tony Bates the WBAI program director and Berthold Reimers the general manager. And you couldn’t have done any better than staff the board with people who have no idea of how to run anything. It would be premature to type “RIP,” but it’s not too soon to make what delicate people call “arrangements."
—Doug Henwood
Doug Henwood's program is also heard at Pacifica's KPFA whose general manager, Quincy McCoy, had this to say:

I’ve held off writing this depressing message as long as I could in an effort to gather as much information and analysis possible while working with current and former LSB members in trying to protect KPFA’s interests in this grim situation we find ourselves in.

Because of Pacifica’s critical financial condition and the PNB’s lack of strategic action or courage the prognosis for the network’s future is shadowy.

The Imminent Threat

Come *January 12th *KPFA’s money and property may be seized by the Empire State Realty Trust because of a 1.8 million dollar debt of our sister station WBAI.

If this happens we will cease broadcasting because we will be unable to operate the station. At that point, our building and our bank account will no longer be under our control. Needless to say, this is a terrible position to be in, especially for management when there is *still* no plan of action to articulate from the National leadership to the staff.

How Did This Happen?

• WBAI owes the Empire State Realty Trust 1.8 million dollars in delinquent transmitter rent. [Plus more delinquent rent since April, not covered in the suit.] ESRT filed in court against Pacifica on November 23rd, 2016. Their monthly rent is currently at $53K per month escalating each month.

• On October 4 a judge found in favor of ESRT making it possible for them to file in all states where Pacifica has properties, allowing them to seize money and property.

• The idea of a signal swap for WBAI was ignited and brokers were hired.

• The PNB voted to give IED the authority to begin preparation for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but he and many others on the PNB thought to sell properties (like our two adjacent buildings) and others could cover the debt. The other idea was a high-interest loan that so far has never been secured. All of these instead of the signal swap in New York.

• Then the PNB rescinded the bankruptcy resolution. Also, KPFA and KPFK signals were added for signal swaps.

• ESRT judgment filed in California on December 6th to seize property and money from KPFA and K. It is a 30-day waiting period that ends January 12h.

• Then the PNB voted to allow some prep for Bankruptcy.

• At PNB meeting 2 weeks ago California’s Deputy Attorney General, Julianne Mossier spoke at the meeting and made it clear that the board needed to vote to take action immediately and that anyone who obstructs for any personal reasons were liable for not carrying out their fiduciary duties.

• The board ignored her plea, but set up an emergency meeting about moving ahead with bankruptcy the following Monday but no action was taken.

• The clock is ticking…

What is Being Done?

I want to thank all the LSB members who have worked so diligently this year negotiating with the PNB in good faith to move the network in a positive direction while also protecting KPFA’s interests.

Because of the imminent threat of a lien on KPFA’s bank account, we have disbursed in advance (what is legally allowed) our payroll account to Dec 31 st., medical benefits till February and all of our essential bills are paid.. In the first week of January, we will process advance payroll for January and pay another month of medical. I’m sorry to say that is all management can do. There still is no playbook for a month or two months down the road.

What is the PNB doing? The governance structure of Pacifica, our historic culture of the usual political infighting, etc., has led to disagreement and paralysis. Unless action is taken pretty immediately we may cease to exist. You deserve to understand where things stand. I could wait no longer.

Much respect,

Quincy McCoy

General Manager, 
"In times of crisis, *unity* is the only solution." 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

WBAI LSB farce...

For the past couple of days, Cerene has popped in and out of Pacifica-related online lists. preparing to disrupt the scheduled on-air discussion. The notifications Shawn Rhodes sent out to all concerned was ignored by Cerene and her JUC group, in keeping with a previously employed tactic.

Of course, they did receive the notification, but, going by their play book, showed up at the 11th hour with a demand to be "included." Besides Cerene, that group comprised two members, Eugene and Pauline,  who have a history of not showing up or remaining silent at LSB meetings. This time, they came prepared to pitch for the MNN "solution." Everyone on the inside knows that JUC game.

Part 1 of audio
Part 2 of audio

They allotted two hours to this meeting, but wasted much time by inexplicably running some of the station's station-break nonsense, the propaganda spots for killer "mumia", a lengthy anti-POTUS montage, a "lecture" (book sale) by "Romona Africa", a character from the Philadelphia bombing-by-police incident, etc. I edited these commercials out. There were less than a handful of callers, one complainant called twice, indicating that there was no rush of callers trying to get through. 

Cerene Roberts, an odious fly in Pacifica's soup, dominated with her incessant push to turn WBAI over to MNN, an organization said to be dangling a reward in the form of an administrative position at the reborn WBAI propaganda machine. It is a sordid tale. 
More later...

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Credico in the wings...

A pertinent aside....

Brown addendum - Crosier response

Please scroll down for update

I was only  third party recipient of what is considered hearsay. It is up to the victim to go to the police, but she did not want to. Also, although I believed her story, her allegations were only that: allegations. They have not been proven in a court of law. There is always the chance that she could be a fantasist (although I do not believe that), and so naming names and going to the police could conceivably tarnish innocent people. The legal obligation for Pacifica was simply to investigate the allegations, which it failed to do, and that in itself is a crime.
—Steve Brown December 23, 2017

Response to original Brown post: 
 —Bill Crosier, December 24, 2017  

A response from Steve Brown:
 Who told you that the woman’s allegations had been investigated? I was a board member at the time; you were not. And I know from personal knowledge that no investigation ever took place, even after I reported the woman’s allegations directly to Executive Director John Proffitt, which I did while the producer was still alive. The emails between Proffitt and myself about these allegations are still on my computer, and will no doubt be subpoenaed if there is a lawsuit. I can assure you from personal knowledge that no relevant persons – including the person accused and the woman making the accusations – were ever contacted by Pacifica, let alone investigated. This kind of reckless and irresponsible behavior by Pacifica management certainly rises to the level of gross negligence, possibly even criminal negligence -- not to mention a total abandonment of ethical behavior by an organization that claims to be a role model for ethical behavior for the rest of the media. That is hypocrisy on steroids.
2.       I specifically omitted the fact of the producer’s death – he died last year – to prevent his identity from being guessed. But this email of yours now makes that precaution useless. (By the way, even though dead, the producer’s 30 years of broadcasts are now being reverentially being aired by Pacifica, one every day, with awed program hosts delivering gushing commentary about what a marvelous human being he was.) What you don’t seem to get, Bill, is that the producer’s recent death makes Pacifica’s position worse, not better, as I informed Pacifica management right after he died. I warned Pacifica that – with the producer now dead -- the woman would no longer fear for her life or the lives of her children; so nothing would prevent her from going public or initiating a lawsuit. This meant that Pacifica had lost its best opportunity to address the woman’s charges quietly (and honorably). But it didn’t matter how much I and others urged Pacifica to “Do The Right Thing.” True to its history of ignoring – or even abetting and covering up – incidents of sexual abuse, Pacifica chose to bury its head in the sand. It chose not to investigate (which is a violation of the law), let alone deal honorably with the woman’s allegations. Most unforgiveable of all, Pacifica’s inaction arguably allowed the producer (if the allegations were true) to continue his sexual abuse of women via Pacifica’s airwaves. 
Signature-Steve Brown-Steve
Stephen M Brown

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Reactions to Brown

Pacificans in other places are beginning to react to the allegation brought up in Steve Brown's post (see below). We still don't know if that post is real, but no further word has come from Steve.

From Kevin White:
Steven Brown is such a drama queen. Steve, if you have any credibility left please go to the police.

From H. Lamb:
Steve Brown,

A lawsuit not having been filed does not vacate your serious responsibility to report crimes and report to Pacifica and the station, the person who puts them at risk.  Don't add to the situation by withholding what you know.  That in essence makes you an accomplice after the fact.  Not something you should be willing to take part in.  If you honestly believe the claims are true and that crimes were committed, you have an obligation here, not to further be a part of withholding information related to crimes.

It's your call, but it also appears you've know about it for a long time and have remained silent, making you part of whatever cover-up and neglect you are talking about.  That isn't fair to anyone, including yourself.  If there are crimes, let them out.  Let them finally be investigated and the chips fall where they may.

Don't withhold pertinent information and drag it out any further.  If you know of crimes, report them to Pacifica and authorities.  We can ill afford more detriment.

The victim should not have to live in fear of further crime or have to live with it never being handled. Others with information should also come forward.



From Sandra:

Per your narrative both you and Gary Null have known about this for several years now but are just now going public? 

Why have you waited so long? Why are you coming forward with this now? When can the rest of us expect to see some official documentation of these alleged charges?

Why have 100+ women who have alledgelly suffered horrific abuse at the hands of this mysterious abuser waited so long to come forward?

Seriously, no one, not one victim went to the police? Neither you nor Gary went to the police on behalf of this person or the 100+ other alleged victims? 

I personally know and trust Bill Crosier. I find it hard to believe that he would dismiss such a serious allegation.

Wondering what's really going on and why this email is being sent at all. You and the others should be filing a police report to start an investigation if you're seriously going to post this sort of accusation. Have y'all done this?

Houston Texas

Jim Dingeman:
A  never ending soap opera of insanity

???? You tell me....

I don't know what to make of the following, which I just received, but I strongly advise that it be perused with suspicion. If it is a hoax (please note that the letter linked to dates back to July 2015), all I can do it apologize for posting it, but—unable to verify its content at 1 o'clock in the morning, I decided to put it up. I hope it is an exaggeration of bits and pieces that have reached my ears over the past few months, but if it is true, the timing is certainly odd, for it comes when WBAI's dire financial situation has left it wavering on the edge of an abyss.

WBAI has always attracted individuals with mental problems, people who for one reason or another harbor extreme bitterness and hatred. This piece strikes me as not passing the smell test, but—given that this is WBAI and that the so-called "family" is anything but that, there might be  some truth to the allegations. If nothing else, it tells us what kind of people are lurking out there.

Dear Pacifica Supporter –
This is a story it hurts my stomach to send out. After repeated unsuccessful attempts to get Pacifica management to investigate the charges alleged below, the only option left is public exposure.

Is Pacifica Radio about to face    its 
own Harvey Weinstein moment?
 The answer is no – it’s going to be much worse.

By Steve Brown
Former Director of the Pacifica Radio Foundation
By now, everyone in America knows that nice guys often do nasty things to women. Even at Pacifica Radio. Or rather, especially at Pacifica Radio, where the biggest cash drain of the past decade (second only to salaries) has been to fight off a flood of sexual harassment lawsuits. Pacifica lost every one of those lawsuits, hemorrhaging millions of dollars in lawyers’ fees, court costs, fines, penalties and settlements that it could ill afford. But those lawsuits pale in comparison to a new sexual harassment lawsuit that is about to be filed, which will hit Pacifica like a bombshell. 
Actually, calling it a sexual harassment lawsuit is to abuse the English language. Because the word “harassment” is laughably inadequate. A more accurate word would be “sick.” Very sick. In fact, the violent abuse and sadistic sexual behavior alleged by the plaintiff might well have been lifted from the screenplay for Silence of the Lambs or The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre.
Since the lawsuit has not been officially filed, I’m not at liberty to reveal the name of the plaintiff or the alleged sexual abuser. But I can reveal this. Over 100 women may be involved, and their chilling accounts of violence and sexual abuse by a Pacifica staff member could make the charges against Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Russell Simmons, Tavis Smiley, Al Franken, Charlie Rose and so many other high-profile sexual predators sound like a Shirley Temple pajama party. Plaintiff’s testimony will allege bloody beatings, ritual torture, forced acts of sexual humiliation, and brutal serial rape that went on for years. 
Although hearing those gruesome details shocked me, I was even more shocked to learn that the alleged perpetrator was one of the most popular and beloved broadcasters on Pacifica’s airwaves – and someone whom I had known personally for over 20 years. 
The saddest part of this potentially devastating lawsuit is: it could have been avoided, as virtually all of Pacifica’s costly sexual lawsuits could have been avoided, had management simply paid attention to the women who came to them, honestly investigated their charges, and (if verified) disciplined and/or discharged the offenders. Instead, management ignored or denied the charges, ridiculed the women and, in some cases, even participated in a cover-up of the incidents. That is what happened in this case. Pacifica’s officers and board members willfully closed their eyes. They made a deliberate decision to look the other way, and do nothing. 
As a former director of the foundation, I can state this as a fact, from personal knowledge. 
Approximately four years ago, in 2013, Pacifica’s then-Executive Director, Summer Reese, together with one of Pacifica’s local station managers [name withheld], were made aware of allegations that a female staff member had been tortured and raped, repeatedly, by one of Pacifica’s male staff members. The abuse had gone on for years, but the woman had kept silent.. She was fearful of going public, she said, partly out of shame, but also because her rapist had pressed a gun to her head and boasted that his father was a high-ranking member of the Sicilian Mafia, who would murder her and her children if she went to the police. Having been born and raised in Sicily, the woman did not view this as an empty threat, but as a chilling reality she had witnessed all too often during her childhood.
Eventually, the woman could no longer handle this abusive situation and fled to her native Italy, giving up her career and tearfully leaving her two young children with friends. Shortly thereafter, she suffered a stroke and later underwent an operation for a brain tumor. When she returned to the U.S., she was an invalid, penniless and homeless. According to another Pacifica broadcaster, Gary Null, who had known her for many years, and who has been a broadcaster on Pacifica stations WBAI, WPFW, and KPFK since 1976, the woman had a brilliant mind and a flourishing career as an emotional health counselor. She was also a model of healthy living.  However, once the physical and sexual abuse occurred, she started to withdraw socially, became increasingly isolated, and slowly began to deteriorate both emotionally and physically. It was only after she returned to the U.S., and Null asked her why she had disappeared so mysteriously, that she told him her story. 
Although the woman was still terrified of revealing what had happened to her, Null finally persuaded her, in 2013, to tell her story to Pacifica management. To that end, Null set up a three-way phone conference between the woman and the two Pacifica executives noted above: Executive Director Summer Reese and the local station manager. (This phone conference was witnessed by one or more Pacifica staff members.) During the call, the woman spoke not only of her own victimization, but revealed that the accused staff member had also victimized many other women, most of them psychologically fragile and therefore vulnerable. He accomplished this through his Pacifica program. By promising them help on the air, he was able to lure numerous women to his office, where he then tortured and raped them. As far as she knew, said the woman, this behavior was still going on. She said that the man had tortured and raped more than 100 women in this manner over a period of many years.
Yet neither Executive Director Reese nor the local station manager would take steps to investigate the woman’s allegations. This not only broke the law (which requires that companies promptly investigate all charges of sexual harassment and abuse), it also permitted the alleged perpetrator to continue using Pacifica’s airwaves to facilitate his sexual abuse of women. When Null urged Reese and the station manager to investigate the charges, the station manager told him that he wasn’t going to rock the boat “because [the accused staff member] brings in big money during fund drives.”  
Ignored and rebuffed by management, the woman (still deathly afraid of her abuser) remained silent until May of 2015, at which time Null revealed her story to me privately. I was at that time a member of Pacifica’s national board of directors, and Null asked me to try, once again, to have management conduct an investigation into the woman’s charges of sexual abuse. I immediately contacted the woman and persuaded her to repeat her story to me. She did so, but begged me not to publicize it because she was still afraid that she and her children would be murdered if she spoke out or went to the police.
I quickly contacted Pacifica’s new executive director, John Proffit, and arranged to meet him privately in Los Angeles, during Pacifica’s annual board meeting, in June of 2015.. At our meeting I emphasized Pacifica’s moral and legal obligation to investigate the alleged abuses as rapidly as possible – and, if verified, prevent them from continuing. There was also a very great risk to Pacifica itself – in terms of public humiliation and loss of credibility, on the one hand, and a flood of financially crippling lawsuits, from as many as a hundred or more women, on the other.
Astonishingly, however, Proffit did nothing. He did not contact the woman, did not investigate her charges, did not even tell board members about the potential tsunami that threatened to drown the entire foundation. After several fruitless emails to Proffit, I finally sent a letter to all my co-members on the national board, alerting them to the charges and urging them to act, while there was still time. However, they, too, chose to do nothing. As did Profitt’s successor as Executive Director, Margy Wilkinson. [You can read a copy of my letter to Pacifica’s board members HERE ; names and details that might identify the woman and her alleged rapist have been redacted.]
For the next two years, despite many appeals, Pacifica continued to ignore the woman’s charges. But hopefully, a few months ago -- for a brief moment -- it seemed as if that was about to change. The current executive director of Pacifica, Bill Crosier, whom I know to be both sensible and sensitive, had agreed to meet personally with the woman, hear her story, and take whatever steps were necessary to address her charges. I believe that this would have satisfied her. She was not seeking to sue anyone, least of all Pacifica, whose mission she supports. Instead, what she really sought was emotional closure after so many years of pain and shame. She wanted her ordeal to be acknowledged -- and regretted -- not ignored and covered up. Most of all, she wanted to make sure that what happened to her could never happen to anyone else at Pacifica.
Sadly, the promised meeting with Crosier never took place. The woman was simply fobbed off with a brief phone call, in which Crosier said only that he was “sorry for the ordeal she had undergone.” Nothing more. No promise of an investigation to verify (or not) her allegations. And no promise of new policies to protect Pacifica’s female personnel from sexual abuse in the future. 
Surely this was a pitiful response, in light of the long history of sexual abuse that has characterized Pacifica’s five stations for over a decade. But it was not an untypical response, since, to my knowledge, not a single sexual predator at Pacifica has ever been properly disciplined or fired. Even the ones who did leave the network, often did so on their own terms, with a golden parachute in the form of a large cash reward, and the expectation of a total cover-up. 
Small wonder, then, that the woman finally stopped hoping that Pacifica would live up to its principles. Instead, like so many other Pacifica women before her, she has retained legal counsel and is prepared to file a lawsuit – which, given Pacifica’s always precarious finances, could be the final nail in its coffin.  
You may, of course, be curious about one thing: 
Why is the woman no longer afraid of bringing a lawsuit – that is, of going public? Doesn’t she fear that her public (and sure-to-be-sensational) lawsuit will trigger her alleged abuser into murdering her and her children? The answer is no. She is no longer afraid (for reasons I am not permitted to reveal at this time). But that means it is now Pacifica’s turn to be afraid. Very afraid. 
After all, the law is very clear: When a claim of sexual harassment is made known to the management of any U.S. corporation, federal statutes require that an immediate investigation be conducted to discover whether the allegations have merit. If they do, then prompt and appropriate action must be taken by management to discipline and/or fire the predator and arrive at an appropriate resolution with the victim, whether by public apology or financial compensation, or both. Failure of management – which includes both executive management and the board of directors -- to follow the legally required procedures could make them liable to charges of gross negligence. This could subject them to enormous personalfines and penalties, which directors’ liability policies do not cover. (Not that Pacifica even has a directors’ liability policy any more, since it is my understanding that its liability insurance has either lapsed, for non-payment of premiums, or been rejected because of the foundation’s many sexual harassment lawsuits.)
Unhappily, Pacifica’s options are fast vanishing. Its chances of avoiding this multi-million dollar lawsuit, let alone of winning it, are close to zero. (I have been told about some of the plaintiff’s evidence, and it appears to be dispositive.) But even at this late date, there may be some hope for Pacifica, a slim possibility that – perhaps for the first time in its history – it might try defusing a potential crisis before it happens, instead of sticking its head in the sand until it explodes.  Which means:
  1. Calling an emergency session of the board to address the woman’s charges of sexual abuse (management has not even told the board that such charges have been made)
  2. Retaining counsel with experience in mediation and dispute resolution (since the plaintiff is not seeking revenge, but emotional closure)
  3. Presenting the alleged victim with a good faith proposal for psychological healing as well as a fair financial settlement (if counsel finds that appropriate)Setting up a ‘Sexual Abuse Committee’ of board members with a mission statement designed to prevent future incidents (and lawsuits)
  4. Initiating sexual awareness training at all levels within Pacifica

I will add this final thought: If Pacifica thinks its current financial situation is bad (it just lost a court judgment for $1.8 million, plus legal costs, and its donor base has fallen from 110,000 in 2012 to less than 56,000 in 2017), imagine how bad its finances will be after losing a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of 100 or more women who will testify that they were tortured and raped by a Pacifica staff member -- whose alleged behavior Pacifica management took no steps even to investigate, let alone to stop.
Pacifica radio is too valuable a resource to lose. It is the only remaining independent radio network in America, whose five FM stations, in the country’s leading media centers (WBAI in New York; WPFW in Washington, DC; KPFT in Houston; KPFK in Los Angeles; and KPFA in San Francisco/Berkeley) are capable of reaching more than half the population of the United States. But this lawsuit could bring down the whole network. That is why, after unsuccessfully exhausting every internal avenue of appeal to management, I find I have no other option but to bring this matter before the entire Pacifica community (from which it has so far been kept secret) and hope that their tens of thousands of outraged letters, emails and phone calls will convince an apparently suicidal management to step back from the edge of the precipice and begin to act responsibly.
Before sending out this story, I sent copy to Pacifica’s executive director. I said that I had received assurances from the woman and her lawyer that she would delay proceeding with her lawsuit (and I would not send out this story) if the executive director would contact her within 48 hours. However, no response was forthcoming from the executive director. That is why you are now reading this story, and why, sometime soon, this lawsuit will be filed, with (according to the lawyers involved, press conferences called in all five of Pacifica’s radio station cities: New York, Washington, DC, Houston, Los Angeles, and Berkeley/San Francisco).
If you wish to make your feelings known to Pacifica management, you can email Executive Director Bill Crosier at; Chief Financial Officer Sam Agarwal at; Corporate Counsel Ford Green at; and the Pacifica’s national board of directors at 
Stephen M Brown