KPFA’s general manager sent the email below to station staff on 12/27/17, and posted this notice on KPFA’s website on 1/2/18. Pacifica Evening News reporter Larry Buhl filed this report on the current situation on 1/2/18. For more background, listen to the Pacifica Evening News reports on 12/28/17 and 12/29/17.
The Pacifica National Board’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE IMMINENT THREAT
(An email from KPFA’s general manager Quincy McCoy on 12/27/17)
I’ve held off writing this depressing message as long as I could in an effort to gather as much information and analysis possible while working with current and former LSB members in trying to protect KPFA’s interests in this grim situation we find ourselves in.
Because of Pacifica’s critical financial condition and the PNB’s lack of strategic action or courage the prognosis for the network’s future is shadowy.
The Imminent Threat
Come January 12th KPFA’s money and property may be seized by the Empire State Realty Trust because of a 1.8 million dollar debt of our sister station WBAI.
If this happens we will cease broadcasting because we will be unable to operate the station. At that point, our building and our bank account will no longer be under our control. Needless to say, this is a terrible position to be in, especially for management when there is *still* no plan of action to articulate from the National leadership to the staff.
How Did This Happen?
· WBAI owes the Empire State Realty Trust 1.8 million dollars in delinquent transmitter rent. [Plus more delinquent rent since April, not covered in the suit.] ESRT filed in court against Pacifica on November 23rd, 2016. Their monthly rent is currently at $53K per month escalating each month.
· On October 4 a judge found in favor of ESRT making it possible for them to file in all states where Pacifica has properties, allowing them to seize money and property.
· The idea of a signal swap for WBAI was ignited and brokers were hired.
· The PNB voted to give IED the authority to begin preparation for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but he and many others on the PNB thought to sell properties (like our two adjacent buildings) and others could cover the debt. The other idea was a high-interest loan that so far has never been secured. All of these instead of the signal swap in New York.
· Then the PNB rescinded the bankruptcy resolution. Also, KPFA and KPFK signals were added for signal swaps.
· ESRT judgment filed in California on December 6th to seize property and money from KPFA and K. It is a 30-day waiting period that ends January 12h.
· Then the PNB voted to allow some prep for Bankruptcy.
· At PNB meeting 2 weeks ago California’s Deputy Attorney General, Julianne Mossier spoke at the meeting and made it clear that the board needed to vote to take action immediately and that anyone who obstructs for any personal reasons were liable for not carrying out their fiduciary duties.
· The board ignored her plea, but set up an emergency meeting about moving ahead with bankruptcy the following Monday but no action was taken.
· The clock is ticking…
What is Being Done?
I want to thank all the LSB members who have worked so diligently this year negotiating with the PNB in good faith to move the network in a positive direction while also protecting KPFA’s interests.
Because of the imminent threat of a lien on KPFA’s bank account, we have disbursed in advance (what is legally allowed) our payroll account to Dec 31st., medical benefits till February and all of our essential bills are paid. In the first week of January, we will process advance payroll for January and pay another month of medical. I’m sorry to say that is all management can do. There still is no playbook for a month or two months down the road.
What is the PNB doing? The governance structure of Pacifica, our historic culture of the usual political infighting, etc., has led to disagreement and paralysis. Unless action is taken pretty immediately we may cease to exist. You deserve to understand where things stand. I could wait no longer.
“In times of crisis, *unity* is the only solution.