Berkeley – Every January, according to Pacifica’s badly written bylaws, the Pacifica National Board resets itself. This leads to regular chaos and 2018 was no disappointment in that regard. So the business of financial recovery has gone on almost exclusively in closed sessions of the board. We will fill you in on all the craziness below, but in deference to the seriousness of the situation, we are going to cover a few things of more significance first.
Pacifica’s financial audits, the subject of so much suffering for so long, seemed to be within shooting distance of finally getting current in mid-2017, when the FY 2015 audit was completed in August in record time. But 7 months later, the FY 2016 audit, which needed to be done by June 2017 or as soon thereafter as possible, hasn’t gone anywhere. Pacifica in Exile readers will remember that an audit fundraiser was held in March of 2017 to raise funds to pay for the two back audits with great success. Pacifica remains under some pressure to get the FY 2016 audit done with an original deadline from the CA Attorney General of mid-February 2018. Pacifica’s first attempt to get an extension was rejected, and a second attempt is underway. The ability of all the stations to accept charitable donations would be at risk if Pacifica’s tax-exempt status were pulled, a possible consequence of failing to submit timely financial audits. Continue reading The Return of Self-Selected Boards or Control At Any Price
Berkeley-After a literal slew of “special meetings on finances”, the Pacifica National Board finally came to the conclusion they had to pay the fiscal year 2014 audit fee – 22 months after the end of that fiscal year. At a few minutes to midnight, in a bit of a hysterical rush, they agreed to snatch money from anywhere in the network they could find it, starting with a $50,000 bequest gift to KPFK that reportedly came in just a few days ago. The motion was amended repeatedly, most significantly to authorize another grab for a $38,000 payment to the contractor for the board elections. The total amount will range from $68,000 to $117,000, depending on what portion of the $67,000 remaining balance due on the audit fee will be enough to pry the audit from the unpaid audit firm. The motion may have been motivated by the looming August 11 deadline on the third extension of board liability insurance that protects the assets of board members from litigation directed at Pacifica.
The network’s financial crisis is summarized in this bullet point list prepared for the Pacfica National Board. Continue reading Better Pay The Audit
This is a highlights reel from the Pacifica national board meeting of 3/17. It’s a bit lengthy, but easier to absorb than the full 3 hour meeting.
It begins with the board mandating an “email election” to resolve the mess caused by the board’s determination to seat the last place finisher from an election 3 and a half years ago on WBAI’s local board. The board’s interference gives the Siegel/Brazon majority a 50% plurality by refusing the seat the independent candidate who won the seat in the 2015 election.
Independent rep Bill Crosier observes he was disconnected and kept off the call for a 14 minute interval despite calling in 4 times for reinstatement. Crosier finally emailed a public list-serv protesting he was being kept off the call to force his re-admission to the conference call.
The board passed the “WBAI email election” initiative.
Humorously, the board secretary then tried to announce the results of another “email election” done for a national committee and could only produce one winner for the two seats available (the one from the Siegel/Brazon faction). Not a good testimony to the efficacy of “email elections”.
Then the board turned to the financial crisis and the dissolution motions passed on Tuesday at the National finance committee. The meeting broke into dissension with Siegel/Brazonite Jose Luis Fuentes breaking with board treasurer Brian Edwards-Tiekert over Pacifica’s failures to complete audited financial statements and attempting to send the dissolution motions and all the draft budgets back to the finance committee. He almost succeeded, losing due to one vote changed at the last minute.
Fuentes and chair Tony Norman then got into a conflict over whether Pacifica’s management letters from their auditors are confidential or not. (They always have been considered so and since the board has now decided they are not, they may be publicly released in short order).
Finally the clip contains the votes to a) refer the dissolution motions and budgets back to committee (i.e. reject them), which was narrowly defeated and b) the motion to require a plan for the DC station including liquidation or sale, which passed narrowly on a 6-5 vote with multiple abstentions.
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-FM 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. Continue reading CFO Proposes Liquidating DC and NY In 60 Days
Former Siegel and Yee associate attorney Jose Luis Fuentes, who replaced his then-boss Dan Siegel on the Pacifica National Board in January of 2014, has the solution to Pacifica’s problems: jettison the executive director position and sell everything off.
Fuentes has been aggressively pursuing the Siegel/Brazon faction’s bankruptcy strategy, and spent all of Tuesday nights Pacifica governance committee meeting discussing bylaws amendments to dispense with a paid executive director permanently (the network has only had one for 7 of the last 21 months) and to enable the lame duck board to sell off assets without the permission of the network’s members and donors.
Fuentes’ boss of 12 years, Dan Siegel colluded with Margy Wilkinson when both were board members in 2013 to secretly set up a new foundation under their sole control to recover foundation assets should be they be sold off. Wilkinson then went on to orchestrate the firing of the networks ED, replace her with herself and hire Siegel as the corporate counsel.
Berkeley-The Pacifica National Board had an informal “strategic planning” meeting Thursday night. In the hour-long meeting, KPFA director Jose-Luis Fuentes pushes for the Pacifica Foundation to move into voluntary bankruptcy, which is described as “a beginning” by PNB director George Reiter. The board indicates they wish to consult with their FCC attorney John Crigler about filing for reorganization, although Crigler is an FCC and copyright attorney, not a bankruptcy attorney. Options on the table are described as a sale of Berkeley’s national office building or a lease, sale or swap of WBAI’s broadcasting license. PNB members Adriana Casenave and Tony Norman insist the board’s discussions about selling real estate, leases, swaps or sales of broadcasting licenses or “debt reorganization” be held in executive session where the network’s members cannot hear them, and discuss how these decisions are “political”. The full meeting audio is here, a seven minute clip is here. Continue reading Bankruptcy Is A Beginning
Berkeley– 22 months after scheming to depose her predecessor and replace her with herself and secretly setting up a nonprofit corporation to scoop up one or more Pacifica broadcasting licenses or other assets, Pacifica’s lame duck board of directors is facing the consequences and moving to mortgage real estate. In a startling national board meeting last night, reality overcame fraudulent financial statements trumpeting a “profit” for the year and chirpy election propaganda from Wilkinson’s faction sent out just a day prior. Continue reading Margy Wilkinson’s Pacifica Skids Off The Rails