Pacifica Whistleblower Charges Ruling Board Withheld Gary Null’s Offer of Settlement Terms
Lawsuit To Be Turned Over To Feds
by Ed Murray
The clock has been ticking on the Pacifica Foundation legal front, but for them there are clocks ticking in every room of the building. First, there are matters under investigation by the State of California, Attorney General, including the fraud charges filed by Pacifica Board member and whistleblower Steve Brown. Then there is allegedly an investigation of Pacifica’s long-time attorney Dan Siegel that is at the California Bar Association, although a quick check on their website does not reveal any pending case. Thirdly is a lawsuit filed by Gary Null, charging fraud, and violations of the F.T.C. Mail Order Rule, Intellectual Property Theft, Trademark Infringement, Trademark Counterfeiting, Copyright Infringement, and False Advertising.
The serious charges do not end there. Pacifica in Exile reported recently that the new Chief Financial Officer had discovered the possibility of internal fraud. Here’s the text: Berkeley-While Pacifica waits and waits and waits for an audit of the 2014 fiscal year, which ended 17 months ago, new CFO Sam Agarwal informed the national finance committee that “fraud was a major concern of the auditor”, which is currently Armanino LLP. In fact, he said it twice in a minute and a half. Agarwal added that “we don’t know if all the donations have been accounted for” and that “it would be very easy for anyone to open up a bank account and deposit the donations and that would not be recorded in the Pacifica books”.
As whistleblower Steve Brown points out in his recent document sent to Pacifica Board members and the entire Pacifica community, Gary Null’s offer has been withheld from the greater board by the ruling clique, so it will be turned over to the FTC and possibly the FBI. The Pacifica Board has not even bothered to launch an internal investigation, or offer an apology to Null, or even to acknowledge the lawsuit. This could mean serious consequences for members of the Board.
Here’s the document sent by whistleblower Steve Brown:
Attached is a letter that was sent by Gary Null’s attorney to Dan Siegel (Pacifica’s attorney) on March 2. It concerns Gary Null’s lawsuit against Pacifica management (civil action no: 1:16-cv-241, united states district court, eastern district of new york).
The letter offered a settlement that might help Pacifica’s officers, station management, and national board members avoid facing federal prosecution, paying thousands of dollars in fines, and serving prison sentences of up to 5 years.
Because the letter affects not only the welfare of Pacifica (which could face multi-million-dollar fines), but also the welfare of at least 12 members of the Pacifica National Board (who could be fined personally for refusing to stop criminal activities of which it had been made aware), every board member has a legal right to read this letter – and, as Pacifica’s ultimate governing body, a legal duty to decide how to respond to it.
But you were not allowed to exercise that right. That is because Gary Null’s letter (along with other important information about the risk to Pacifica and its board members) was not shared with you as board members. Ooops, sorry. That is too mild a description. What I meant to say is that this information was deliberatelywithheld from you as board members. This means that decisions that only the board is legally empowered to make, in the open, are being made, in secret, by Dan Siegel, Lydia Brazon, and their tiny “inner circle,” who have been making fools out of you for the past three years. And may soon make you defendants in a federal prosecution as well.
In addition, Dan Siegel, the foundation’s attorney, has issued (either knowingly or stupidly) dangerously incorrect and misleading information about the federal statutes that Pacifica has violated. He says that those statutes do not apply to Pacifica. As an attorney, he ought to know better, and I suspect that he does. Nevertheless, he is telling Pacifica staff members to go right on committing more of the same illegal actions.
Because Gary Null has received no response to this or prior letters, let alone assurances that Pacifica management will agree to stop the commission of criminal acts and fire those responsible (regardless of whose friends they are or whose factions they belong to), this matter will be turned over to the federal government for prosecution.
When that happens, none of the members of this board will be shielded from personal liability, since you were all put on notice, multiple times, about the nature and scope of the criminal activities at Pacifica, and urged to stop them – which you would not do. Moreover, a majority of this board, whose names are on record, also deliberately voted to defeat a board motion that would have compelled an investigation into these criminal activities.
Why is Gary Null suing Pacifica and its management?
Although Gary Null has suffered financial and related damages as a result of the illegal activities that were condoned and apparently deliberately committed by members of management, he is not seeking monetary gain from this lawsuit (even though his statutory reimbursement for compensatory and punitive damages could be at least $600,000 and possibly as much as $3 million). Instead, as he has told me (and as his letter clearly states in Item 9), his only purpose is to bring about a cessation of illegal activities at Pacifica and the dismissal of those responsible — who have by their actions shamed and dishonored the foundation to which he has devoted more than 40 years of his life.
However, because the settlement offer in his letter has not been accepted (that is, because Pacifica management refused to stop the illegal activities or dismiss those responsible), this matter will be turned over to the federal authorities. At that point, Gary Null will no longer have control over the prosecution or the penalties, which will be in government hands. Federal statutes dictate fines of up to $16,000 per violation by the FTC, and since there are at least 5,000 violations already in evidence — and perhaps 25,000 more that could be added in discovery – well, do the math; your calculator probably can’t even count that high. There are also fines of up to $250,000 per violation for the criminal intellectual property thefts committed by management, which carry prison terms of 5 years (even for first offenders).
But I guess none of you board members give a damn. Or maybe you feel bullet proof. In any case, it looks like you will continue to twiddle your thumbs, evade your responsibility to guide the foundation, and let Siegel, Brazon, Wilkinson & Co. drag you and the Pacifica down with them.
That is why I am distributing this message along with Gary Null’s letter to the entire Pacifica community, so that they will know whom to blame for whatever fines are levied on Pacifica – and whom to sue, in a shareholder’s derivative suit, in order to recover those fines for Pacifica, out of your pockets and those of management. Which is likely, because a quick search on Google reveals that, in such lawsuits, the courts are being increasingly attentive to the claims of shareholders seeking reimbursement from negligent and/or lawbreaking management and boards of directors. Especially in non-profit corporations.
In fact, the wheels are already turning. For the past 11 months or more, Dan Siegel has been under investigation by the California Bar Association for professional misconduct in this and other matters (Case No. 15-0-15488); and Pacifica management is also under investigation, for this and other matters, by the Office of the Attorney General of California (Case Filename: Pacifica Foundation Radio CT011303). Soon, it appears, the federal government may join them.
So sleep soundly, Dan Siegel, Lydia Brazon, Margy Wilkinson, and the majority board members who voted down the motion to investigate the criminal behavior in Pacifica. You may soon be trying to cover your faces with a hat as you are “perp-walked” out of Pacifica headquarters in handcuffs by an FBI SWAT team.
Stephen M Brown
Director, Pacifica National Board