Rosenberg's DLC lawyer: conflict of interest?
Diversity bylaw committee documents
Jonathan Lubell is the lawyer brought in by Mimi Rosenberg to review the work of the diversity language committee. Asside from having a potential conflict of interest with regard to individuals that he represents, he has proceeded to ignore the DLC "majority" draft and to address the DLC "minority" draft which Rosenberg is promoting.
Lubell's statement is midway down on this page.
Dear iPNB Members:
It is the responsibility of the iPNB to ensure that legal advice to the Foundation is as impartial as possible. In the case of Mr. Jonathan Lubell, the Foundation is apparently paying a person for advice who is at the same time advising and/or assisting Pacifica employees in adversarial claims against the Foundation. Mr. Lubell has not recused himself in the face of this conflict of interest. We call on the iPNB to take the necessary steps to guarantee impartial advice. At the very least, this requires immediate removal of Mr. Lubell as legal advisor to the Foundation.
Andrew Norris, WBAI
(Station affiliations for identification only)
From: Ted Friedman
The undersigned LAB members have sent the following message to the iPNB.
to: interim Pacifica National Board re: Mr. Jonathan Lubell
This is to follow up on the email that several of us sent to the iPNB on May 30 regarding the conflict of interest of Mr. Jonathan Lubell. We all consider the work of Mr. Lubell clearly to be compromised. The iPNB is aware of this, and we are all concerned that it has not taken any action.
We again note that the responsibility for ensuring the Foundation receives impartial and unconflicted legal advice rests with the iPNB alone.
Response from Jonathan Lubell:
From: Mimi Rosenberg
From: Bob Lederer
In light of the serious and factually inaccurate statements made by Carol Spooner regarding an alleged conflict of interest, I concluded that it would be helpful to send this email to the members of the IPNB.
1. I am not representing anyone who is suing Pacifica. I am assisting two long-time, dedicated WBAI staff members who are seeking back pay for the period that they were locked out of their jobs at WBAI. They have not brought a lawsuit. Rather, they are attempting to resolve this back pay dispute by mediation in which the differing positions are presented to a mediator who will make a suggestion as to how the matter should be resolved. Pacifica and the two staff members participated in this process precisely in the hope that a lawsuit could be avoided. Everyone who participated recognized that there was a back pay obligation and that the amount previously paid to the two staff members was not meant to be the full amount to be paid.
2. Ms. Spooner's communication misidentifies the two staff members. They are Bernard White and Sharan Louise Harper. However, it is true that Dred Scott Keyes has also not received full payment of his back pay. The same is true of Robert Knight.
3. In my opinion it is not surprising that Ms. Spooner would attack my representation of Mr. White and Mr. Keyes (Ms. Harper). The issue for them is not the remaining back pay they have not received but a pattern in which apparently only the non-white staff members have not received full back pay. They are seeking equal, non-racist treatment. Based upon what they believe to be the pattern, Mr. White and Ms. Harper contend that Pacifica's request that their back pay be reduced by monies they earned during the one-year lockout period is discriminatory. In a letter to the Mediator after the hearing I wrote:
"We have been informed that only two other employees of Pacifica/WBAI - Robert Knight and Dred Scott Keyes - have been subject to this formula, which reduces the amount of back pay. All four of the individuals are African American. In disturbing contrast, others, all white, have received from Pacifica their full back pay without reduction. We have been informed that this includes Amy Goodman and Chris Abrams. It is reprehensible that Pacifica or WBAI should find itself in a situation where it has treated groups of people differently and the only distinction between the groups is their race/ethnicity."
4. Ms. Spooner infers that civil rights law is not my "specialty," whatever that means. In any event, I have been involved in civil rights law and cases since my days at Harvard Law School where, I participated in preparing the amicus brief of the School's National Lawyers Guild chapter in Brown v. Board of Education. Years later, in the late 1960s, I was the lead attorney in Norwalk CORE v. Norwalk Redevelopment Agency involving constitutional and statutory civil rights violations under an urban renewal plan and which first established the right of relocation of families displaced by the Plan. Over the years I have represented prisoners, including political prisoners, in seeking to obtain their civil rights while incarcerated. In the late 1970s I was attorney for non-white, Hispanic and Asian employees at the New York Times in their Title 7 anti-discrimination case against the Times. I represented the Latino neighborhood organization in 1980 in its civil rights challenge to racial quotas and discriminatory marketing of subsidized housing in Williamsburg.
5. In reference to Pacifica, I have extensively given my efforts, knowledge and experience to resolving the diversity by-laws issue and had committed myself to many hours to help work out that issue. The fact that I may be a friend of Mimi Rosenberg is irrelevant. I worked with Mimi and many others to end the lockout at WBAI. I recollect that Ms. Spooner was on the same "partisan" side. It should be clear that I am indeed a partisan in favor of affirmative action but I also have undertaken to be a legal advisor to Pacifica on the issue at hand and in that role I have no bias or pre-judgment.
6. If the National Board believes it would be inappropriate for me to advise Pacifica on certain affirmative action issues, I will withdraw from all work for Pacifica. I do not want to have my participation interfere with the ability of Pacifica and its stations to realize the principles upon which it was founded and which today make it a rare jewel in the media industry.
7. One final thought - I recognize the concern of people that what has been described as delay in the by-laws process will jeopardize the Foundation. However, I believe that a more profound threat to Pacifica would be the discarding of its principles. Sincerely, Jonathan W. Lubell
From: Carolyn Birden [WBAI area]
Let's cut the crap here, Leslie, and stop dragging red herrings around.
I look at this from the simple point of view of the person affected: if I were in mediation (as White and Harper are) or in arbitration or in a legal proceeding, and the lawyer representing, or advising, me was taking money or favors or advice from my opponent, or representing him/her in another context, I would not only fire that lawyer, I would demand that s/he recuse him/herself for conflicet of interest, report him/her to the appropriate bar associations, and sue for damages. What's so hard to understand about conflict of interest?
Michael Powell has accepted junkets from, I heard reported, 35 media groups looking to get his approval for deregulation: if I were a citizen in a functioning democracy, I would protest this and ask him to recuse himself because of a conflict of interest.
But this is not a functioning democracy, and Powell and Lubell are evidently not bound by the same sense of ethics as those of us with common sense and access to a legal definition of conflict of interest.
Of course if we had opinions from Shaw and Guinier we would not have to depend on someone with a conflict of interest. btw has Lubell yet submitted a signed memorandum to the Board on the subject? What would his expenses be for?
Rather than attacking Carol and Mark and Steve and Paul, why won't you address these questions?
top of page | bylaws revisions process info page | governance proposals | bylaws etc | home