Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Impersonating The Corporate Counsel

Berkeley-Pacifica's payroll adminstrator 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 Be...rnard 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. http://www.mediafire.com/download/97kc66njo1muabg/Injunction_Request.pdfThe complete text of the legal complaint can be found here. http://www.mediafire.com/download/8u7340q7vy4uq77/Case_HG14720131.pdf

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. http://2014.supportkpfa.org/?p=91

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.

A video interview with Reese shot on March 31, 2014 at the Pacifica headquarters can be seen here.  http://2014.supportkpfa.org/?p=429 Reese was also interviewed on WBAI's Off The Hook on April 2nd. https://soundcloud.com/tracy-rosenberg/interview-with-summer-reese-of

A copy of a complaint filed with the CA Attorney General by 8 former members of the national board can be found here.http://www.mediafire.com/download/dph6u4ov1woed9x/Attorney_General_Complaint_Non-Confidential.pdf

KPFK staffers have requested the opportunity to vote on whether to recall their staff representative on the national board, Rodrigo Argueta. Their petition alleging "hasty and reckless actions taken with no consultation with those he claims to represent" can be found here. http://www.mediafire.com/download/52g63jf3vwoz2xd/Argueta_Recall.pdf

Disputed chair Margy Wilkinson is reported to have said with regard to Reese's attempted firing; "it isn't illegal until someone says it is".

Reese has continued to report to work at the national headquarters since March 17th.


Started in 1946 by conscientious objector Lew Hill, Pacifica's storied history includes impounded program tapes for a 1954 on-air discussion of marijuana, broadcasting the Seymour Hersh revelations of the My Lai massacre, bombings by the Ku Klux Klan, going to jail rather than turning over the Patty Hearst tapes to the FBI, and Supreme Court cases including the 1984 decision that noncommercial broadcasters have the constitutional right to editorialize, and the Seven Dirty Words ruling following George Carlin's incendiary performances on WBAI. Pacifica Foundation Radio operates noncommercial radio stations in New York, Washington, Houston, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, and syndicates content to over 180 affiliates. It invented listener-supported radio.

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