The dysfunctional and financially-conflicted Pacifica board (PNB) has publicly announced that it’s about to sell KPFT’s building. This is the building that has been the home for KPFT’s studios and offices for over 40 years.
Though the building is an old house, not appearing to be worth much itself, it’s a mile from downtown Houston in an area where developers are tearing down old houses and putting up condos and apartments like crazy. The land it’s on has greatly appreciated in value in the last decade. The KPFT property is probably worth around $2 million due to the rising real estate values in Houston, but Pacifica still owes $3.1 million on the big loan, and will need over $300K just for the current interest (and more if interest rates go up).
Not a problem, you might think – KPFT could just use the funds from the sale to pay for another home in a less expensive part of town. But there’s a problem – a HUGE problem. The $3.2 million loan that the PNB took out in 2018 that bailed out the perennially failing New York Pacifica station WBAI-FM REQUIRES that sales of any of Pacifica’s buildings be used solely for paying off the loan. But it’s clear KPFT is getting the rug yanked out from under it and will be homeless soon, as it won’t be getting the proceeds from selling its building for a new location.
That seems to be the hidden plan all along. From court records – an internal Pacifica email between PNB Director Eileen Rosen and PNB Chair Nancy Sorden written on March 14, 2018:
“Nancy and I have been reviewing the letter – one thing we want to obtain for the auditors is the plan for paying off debts using the loans and the sale of buildings.”
We have been informed that Pacifica plans to list the KPFT property at $1.2 million, which was what it was appraised for in 2017. So why would anyone list the KPFT property at way below what it’s currently worth? The fact that the PNB players driving these sales are multi-millionaire real estate investors should raise regulatory eyebrows.
Another recent example of this typically PNB bad behavior comes from what happened to the sale of another house in La Porte, a suburb of Houston, which was a bequest for the benefit of KPFT from a fan of one of their most popular shows. The PNB delayed for a year in even listing that house for sale, during which time KPFT had to pay property taxes on it. But when the house was finally sold this year, KPFT got NONE of the funds – not a penny, in spite of promises from Pacifica management to the contrary. You may remember that the PNB had already sold yet another KPFA local donor funded property in 2018 to pay for part of the loan and to fund the reserve account for the sub-prime $3.25-million-dollar loan for WBAI.
To make matters worse (for KPFA and KPFK), the funds from selling KPFT’s building won’t be nearly enough to pay off the loan. So which building will be sold next? The buildings of KPFT, KPFA and KPFK are all collateralized to the loan taken out to pay the WBAI lawsuit settlement. Meanwhile, nothing has been done to stop the multi-hundred thousand dollars per year of hemorrhaging at WBAI, while other stations are still expected to pick up the slack there. Pacifica still has no plan to pay even the interest on the big loan – much less the principal, which is now due next year.
What’s behind all the constant obfuscation and financial mismanagement? What appears to be driving all of these senseless decisions is Pacifica’s $130+ million in real estate and broadcast assets. They are being looted for personal financial gain or exploited for prohibited political activity, both of which are illegal to do at U.S. non-profits as well as non-commercial radio stations. It could cause Pacifica to lose its tax exemption and non-commercial station licenses. If you want more background on this, go to this key facts page on the PSN website.
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The Pacifica Safety Net Volunteers
PS: If you have not yet voted in the referendum, please vote for the New Day Pacifica Bylaws. If you did not get or can’t find your ballot, fill out the ballot request form TODAY. If you have any issues with that, please email email@example.com The deadline for voting is tomorrow, July 7, 9pm PT (unless it’s extended because of so many people not getting ballots).