Regarding negotiations with so-called
Pacifica national board
and lawsuits 7-10-01
From: Carol Spooner
Date: Tue Jul 10, 2001 12:32 pm
Subject: Re: [NewPacifica] LAB Elections -- KPFA and WBAI
I want to make absolutely clear ... There will be no settlement of the lawsuits with Pacifica that does not include 2 things: (1) immediate transfer of power from the current board majority to an "interim board" (for a term of no longer than one year) that is LEGALLY REQUIRED under the terms of any settlement to (2) amend the Pacifica bylaws to provide listeners with legally enforceable voting rights and for elected LABs.
The lawsuits cannot be settled without my signature. Those are my conditions. Period, end of story.
The interim board would also be required to replace the executive director (Bessie Wash) and Utrice Leid immediately, so that the horrifying abuse of Pacifica airwaves comes to the end and the fired and banned can be immediately restored to the air. After that, the long hard process of undoing the damage of the past 10 years throughout the network will begin, and will have its foundation in accountability to the listeners and staff that built this network and its five stations.
Date: Mon Jul 9, 2001 1:00 pm
Dear All --
Those who attack the LAB suit or the directors' suit are doing the "listeners' suit" no favors, and vice versa as to anyone attacking the "listeners' suit". This is all very counter-productive. It's doing the Pacifica Board majority's work for them ... Their lawyer from Epstein Becker & Green (Daly Temchine) is always trying to drive wedges between the suits in an effort to divide and conquer us. We and our lawyers have worked very hard to stay in good communication to counter-act that kind of tactic. And I don't like to see it on the lists -- from ANY faction, including those purporting to support the "listeners' suit." Undermining any of the suits undermines all.
That said, I will summarize what each of the suits asks the court to do, in order of filing of the lawsuits:
1) The "LAB suit" (initiated by 21 LAB members from 4 of the 5 Pacifica stations --all but Houston) asks the court to void the 1997 & 1999 illegal bylaws changes that made the PNB self-selecting, and restore to the LABs their right to elect (and remove) directors to the PNB. The LAB suit also has a claim for "unfair business practices" and asks for recovery of monies misspent on activities not authorized under the Pacifica Articles of Incorporation, and for removal of the directors found responsible.
2) The "listeners suit" (initiated by the California Attorney General, who granted 12 listeners from all 5 Pacifica stations permission to sue in the name of the State of California -- Pacifica is incorporated in California and its laws govern) asks the court to void the 1997 & 1999 illegal bylaws changes that made the PNB self-selecting & restore the LABs their right to elect (and remove) directors to the PNB. The listeners' suit also seeks removal of all directors except the 5 "dissidents" for breach of charitable trust and gross abuse of authority or fraud or dishonest acts, including diverting Pacifica from its purposes, gross mismanagement and unauthorized spending and taking a position hostile to its listener-sponsors, as well as removal of all illegally seated "at large" directors seated since the bylaws changes, and bylaws revisions specifying how the LABs are to be chosen and granting listener-sponsors voting rights and legal "membership" status in Pacifica. We are seeking personal liability from all directors except the 5 dissidents (including some who have resigned) for misspent money as well as for their attorneys' fees that Pacifica is illegally paying for them -- and "exemplary damages" against Mary Frances Berry and John Murdock for illegally approving the payment of Epstein Becker & Green by Pacifica.
3) The "Directors' suit" (Robinson & Kriegel) asks the court to void the 1997 & 1999 illegal bylaws changes that made the PNB self-selecting & restore the LABs their right to elect (and remove) directors to the PNB. This suit also seeks removal of the PNB "Executive Committee" for gross abuse of authority for numerous violations of the Pacifica Bylaws and democratic procedures.
4) Cross-Complaint of Moran, Cagan & Bramson asks the court to void the 1997 & 1999 illegal bylaws changes that made the PNB self-selecting and restore the LABs right to elect (and remove) directors to the PNB. This suit also seeks removal of the board majority for gross abuse of authority.
Each of these suits comes from a legitimate point of view that is well-grounded, and taken together the suits present to the court a comprehensive multi-dimensional picture of what is wrong at Pacifica.
While we do hope to be able to settle the lawsuits before trial, we understand that the most favorable settlement can ONLY be reached if we aggressively prosecute our cases and prepare for trial. The Pacifica board majority must understand that we will go to trial to remove them if they do not make major concessions ...
I'm sure I don't have to tell you that what has happened since December at WBAI is not an isolated event, but only the most recent in a series of depredations against the integrity, independence and mission of Pacifica at all 5 stations beginning in the early 1990s. To understand how & why this happened I recommend some reading time in the Free Pacifica Archives at http://www.radio4all.org/freepacifica/index.html There is no solution to the WBAI crisis that does not resolve the entire Pacifica crisis ... any local "solution" is only a temporary one, as we found out at KPFA when the station reopened and the staff went back to work after the lockout of July 1999.
Finally, I want to thank Jonothan Logan who has done a heroic job of gathering over 1500 "Declarations" in support of the "listeners" suit from WBAI listeners over the past 6 months. These declarations will be presented to the court along with declarations from KPFA, KPFK, KPFT & WPFW listeners. We have over 6,000 declarations now. I'd like to get 10,000. You can print the Declaration forms from our web page (address below), copy them and circulate them at meetings & rallies.
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