Pacifica Radio National Headquarters Open After Board Coup: Executive Director Cites Financial Irregularities and Rumors Fly About A Secret Deal
At the national headquarters of Pacifica Radio, the nation's oldest listener-sponsored radio network and the owner of 5 radio licenses, KPFK in Los Angeles, KPFA in Berkeley, WPFW in Washington DC, KPFT in Houston and WBAI in New York, a late-night board coup to remove the CEO seems to have backfired.
The small office was entered this morning by 4 national employees and the executive director, who removed a padlock installed the previous day, and informed staffers that business would continue as usual. The executive director cited possession of a duly-executed contract and referred to the late-night secretive board action as being illegitimate. The contract signed by board secretary Richard Uzzell required a work performance evaluation and cited what cause for termination would be. According to 10 current members of the board of directors, no work performance evaluation had been performed and no reason was provided for the attempted firing or has been to date.
Meanwhile rumors have been flying around the country that a small segment of the board has been in negotiations with an entity associated with Comcast news channel MS-NBC to take over WBAI's license, an ironic state of affairs for a network that has long accused the corporate media of “banging the drums for war”. At the moment, it is impossible to verify one way or the other.
On the morning of the attempted firing, it is reported that Berkeley station KPFA next door had refused to turn over its financial records for an annual audit and the books had not been reconciled for up to a year. The 2013 board treasurer had identified $70,000 to $80,000 in missing event income as early as August of 2013, but was unable to receive a clear answer as to the problem, which was dismissed by KPFA staff and the KPFA local station board as a “data entry backlog”.
At the moment, there appear to be about a dozen listeners observing the situation at the office and the disputed board chair who had declared herself the interim executive director Thursday night is sitting on the first floor with her husband as the national employees proceed with their jobs.