Berkeley-A lawsuit will be filed in Alameda County today by Pacifica Directors for Good Governance against the 12 Pacifica Foundation board members who have engaged in a series of illegitimate actions to destabilize the 65-year-old public radio network. The lead plaintiff is current board member Heather Gray, who is one of two representatives for ...Pacifica's 180 program affiliate stations and is associated with WRFG (Radio Free Georgia). The 16+ page brief requests injunctive relief to protect Pacifica from adverse impacts resulting from the board majority's illegal actions.
Pacifica Foundation Radio is currently without legal representation following the resignation of corporate counsel Terry Gross. To date, the board of directors has not authorized any legal action on behalf of the foundation, nor allocated the use of any network funds. Disputed board chair Margy Wilkinson claims to have unilaterally engaged the services of Hunter Pyle, an associate at Siegel and Yee from 1997-2003, but Pyle is unable to represent the foundation without a board vote. Wilkinson did not report to the board exactly who engaged Pyle nor how his fees were being paid.
The next meeting of the Board of Directors is on April 3rd.
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/
The legendary Roy of Hollywood joined programmer Eben Rey and Executive Director Summer Reese on KPFK's air where they talked at length about the current turmoil. http://2014.supportkpfa.org/
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/
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.
Richard Uzzell, a national board member from KPFT-FM in Houston offered the following motion to end the standoff between the Board and the Executive Director: The motion was ruled to be out of order at the March 27th board meeting.
Whereas, Pacifica has been thrown into chaos by the actions of the board; and we are facing a complaint with the attorney general, possible multiple lawsuits and are perceived to be self-destructing in public, and;
Whereas, this will not help our upcoming fund drives.
Whereas, the board needs to put the organization above our factional fights, as just about everyone has told us, and make it clear that we will proceed in the future deliberately and with caution, following sound personnel procedures and with sufficient independent legal guidance.
Therefore be it Resolved, that in the interests of the welfare of Pacifica and our five stations,180 programming affiliates and our archival collections, the Pacifica National Board declares that the motion to fire Summer Reese as executive director is declared null and void; due to the lack of notice, lack of legal and HR consultation, no provision for continuing operations, increased financial risk to the network and confusion for network staff and volunteers.
And be it further Resolved, that the Pacifica National Board agrees to proceed with a system-wide performance evaluation for the executive director per the contract terms and agrees that duly-retained corporate counsel and independent human resources professionals shall be present for all executive personnel discussions going forward.
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.