Press Release on the LA Court Action:
For Immediate Release: December 10, 2020
America’s Oldest Public Radio Network Directors Sued for Malfeasance and Mismanagement
(San Francisco, CA) Legal action to stop the destruction of the Pacifica Radio Foundation was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The complaint accuses members of Pacifica’s board of directors with misfeasance and malfeasance, negligence in their management of Pacifica, unlawful conduct and gross dereliction of their fiduciary duties and responsibilities, causing Pacifica the severe loss of multiple sources of income, the imminent loss of its assets and putting Pacifica in imminent danger of insolvency and complete collapse.
The alleged malfeasance and negligence of the defendant directors has placed the assets of Pacifica, with an estimated present value of $130,000,000, at an immediate risk of loss to foreclosure by one or more creditors. Pacifica assets at risk include all buildings, studios, and broadcast frequencies.
”The plaintiffs are seeking to save an iconic and venerable California institution from imminent destruction caused by longtime mismanagement and conduct by a faction within its board of directors and others affiliated with it” said Stephen Jaffe of The Jaffe Law Firm, the litigation’s lead attorney.
The complaint includes allegations of financial mismanagement, taking out millions of dollars of loans without repayment plans, thereby leaving Pacifica’s assets subject to foreclosure or seizure by the lender. The complaint also alleges that management has caused: the alienation of support from listeners and donors because of airing bizarre, radical, and highly offensive programming including: Holocaust denials; virulent anti-Semitic rhetoric; conspiracy theories; and other hate speech, and further, Pacifica’s commercial promotion of fringe types of remedies and dietary supplements.
The complaint was filed by longtime Pacifica donors, a member of its national board directors and volunteers concerned about the precarious financial and legal state of the Pacifica Radio Foundation.
”Pacifica Radio has been one of the only commercial free venues for news, analysis, culture and community,” said Christina Huggins, litigant and KPFA Local Station Board Chair. ”Pacifica is an essential resource for our survival as a democracy. If enough people stand with us, it will endure.”
The Pacifica Foundation, the first listener supported broadcast station in the United States, pioneered the concept of member support that has become the cornerstone of public broadcasting in the U.S. Pacifica owns and manages five non-commercial FM radio stations in 5 of the top 10 radio markets, reaching over 60 million potential listeners: KPFA in the SF Bay area (founded in 1949); KPFK in Los Angeles (1959); WBAI in New York City (1960); KPFT in Houston (1970); and WPFW in Washington, D.C. (1977) and an affiliate distribution network of 200+ radio stations. Pacifica is currently supported by over 40,000 donors, over 65% of them California residents.