Case Broadens Against Pacifica Directors for Malfeasance, Unlawful Conduct

For Immediate Release: March 1st, 2021

The Case Broadens Against Pacifica Radio Network Directors for Malfeasance, Unlawful Conduct

(LA) An amended legal complaint was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court that adds additional factual accusations against two members of the Pacifica Radio Foundation Board of Directors for alleged misfeasance and malfeasance, gross negligence, unlawful conduct, and financial mismanagement. The complaint – filed by Pacifica supporters, listeners, and one of Pacifica’s Board Directors – includes damning records, internal communications, audio recordings, independent audits, and California Attorney General (CAG) warnings.

“We are seeking to save an iconic California institution from the longtime mismanagement and conduct by Board Directors which has led to the severe loss of the network’s income, the imminent danger of insolvency, and the impending sell-off of its assets,” said Stephen Jaffe of The Jaffe Law Firm, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney.

Among the most damning allegations against the defendants include:

  • Losing over $12 million in federal support over eight years due to their failure to comply with public broadcasting regulations.
  • Airing programming that violates Pacifica’s founding mission statement, including Holocaust denials, conspiracy shills,  “snake oil” salesmen promoting phony cures for cancer and AIDS.
  • Allowing the Network’s non-profit’s broadcast stations to be used for personal financial gain.
  • Using “dark money” 501(c)(4) entities controlled by multimillionaires to fund Board elections – ensuring their control of most of the Pacifica National Board.
  • Ignoring a chorus of warnings and advice from the CAG’s office and their own lawyers, auditors and Chief Financial Officer the Board chose to continue their legacy of misfeasance, malfeasance, and corruption – thereby endangering the Network’s tax-exempt status.
  • Violating federal law by failing to make pension payments for staff for over four years, triggering a current investigation by the Department of Labor.

“Pacifica has been hijacked by fringe political groups – including conspiracy theorists, Green Party disruptors, and the Workers World Party – that have compromised the network’s mission and squandered its integrity,” said Sherry Gendelman, President of the Pacifica Safety Net (PSN). “Pacifica has been at the forefront of progressive, public radio for over 70 years and is essential for the survival of our democracy. If we do not rescue it from the failed leadership of the current Board, it will end up in the hands of the extreme right or evangelical Christian radio.”

The complaint seeks to require the defendants to account for Pacifica’s financial transactions since 2009 and reimburse the Network for the loss of revenue due to their mismanagement and unlawful conduct.

The Pacifica Foundation launched the first listener supported broadcast station over 70 years ago. Pacifica owns non-commercial FM radio stations in five of the nation’s top 10 markets, including: KPFA in the SF Bay area (founded in 1949); KPFK in Los Angeles (1959); WBAI in New York City (1960); KPFT in Houston (1970); WPFW in Washington, D.C. (1977) and an affiliate distribution network of 200+ radio stations. Pacifica reaches over 60 million potential listeners and is valued at over $130 million dollars. Today, there are less than 40,000 members of the network, compared to over 120,000 prior to 2008.