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KPFA radio at risk due to $1.8 million judgment against Pacifica Foundation
by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Thursday Dec 28th, 2017 8:24 PM
On the 6:00PM KPFA evening news on December 28, 2017, it has been reported that the Pacifica Foundation board members were deadlocked on a vote this evening to go into foreclosure, or file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, due to over $2 million owed to ESRT because of the unpaid use of the antenna (unpaid tower rent) at the Empire State Building, in New York City!
KPFA radio at risk due to $1.8 million judgment against Pacifica Foundation

By Lynda Carson - December 28, 2017

Reportedly, legendary KPFA Radio - 94.1 FM, in Berkeley, has been placed at risk due to $1.8 million being awarded in a summary judgement to Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (ESRT). Additionally, attorney’s fees against the Pacifica Foundation and WBAI radio in New York, have been granted because of a feud over alleged unfair and unreasonable, and exorbitant annual increases use of the antenna (unpaid tower rent) at the Empire State Building, in New York City.

Pacifica Foundation, owns the broadcast licenses for KPFA in Berkeley, WBAI in New York, KPFK in Los Angeles, KPFT in Houston, and WPFW in Washington D.C.

On the 6:00PM KPFA evening news on December 28, 2017, it has been reported that the Pacifica Foundation board members were deadlocked on a vote this evening to go into foreclosure, or file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, due to over $2 million owed to ESRT because of the unpaid use of the antenna (unpaid tower rent) at the Empire State Building, in New York City.

During an interview on KPFA evening news with Pacifica's Interim Executive Director, Bill Crosier, he stated that the Pacifica Foundation is in peril with over 8 million in debt. Additionally, on January 8, 2018, KPFA may be shut down due to the lawsuit with ESRT if something is not resolved, according to Crosier. Crosier also stated that nothing has been paid to ESRT since last May. He also stated that if Pacifica files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, they can protect their assets, including KPFA radio. However, Pacifica is seeking a loan to pay off the law suit, or their debts. Presently, Pacifica board members are deadlocked on voting for foreclosure or filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.


December 27, email to KPFA staff from Quincy McCoy, General Manager of KPFA:


Subject: [KPFA Staff] The Imminent Threat: IMPORTANT

All,

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 neverbeen 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 12th.

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.

Much respect, Quincy McCoy

General Manager, "In times of crisis, *unity* is the only solution."


July 11, 2017 Press Release, Regarding The Lawsuit:


In a July 11, 2017 press release, Pacifica's Interim Executive Director, Bill Crosier, asserts that “The amount being charged is over four times the market rate in New York, and threatens the future of independent radio. Market rate for FM transmitter tower leases in NYC is now about $12,000 monthly. WBAI's bill for the month of May 2017, in contrast, came to over $53,000. We've been on the Empire State Building since 1965 and have always been willing to pay what's fair and reasonable, but these exorbitant annual increases are killing us. The ESRT must settle and release us from the rest of this onerous contract."

According to the July 11, press release, “ESRT is demanding over $2 million for unpaid tower lease costs, holding the network hostage in an annually escalating contract involving increases of about 9% per year. ESRT is a multinational corporation that held $554.4 million cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 2016, and owns billions of dollars of real estate.”

“After the destruction of the Twin Towers in 2001, broadcasting stations in the NYC area had few options for antenna space rental. ESRT took advantage of its position in the market. In 2005, their owners negotiated a highly questionable contract with Pacifica. ESRT has refused to release Pacifica from the contract, which is scheduled to continue until 2020.”

KPFA is the first listener sponsored radio station in the United States, and some of the legendary history of the radio station is known across the country, and the planet.

A community based listener supported radio station, KPFA has supported the local community for many years, and would be sorely missed if ESRT were to take over the station and Pacifica’s assets.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsle [at] yahoo.com

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§More Updates on what is happening at Pacifica/KPFA...
by Lynda Carson Friday Dec 29th, 2017 9:52 PM
More Updates on what is happening at Pacifica/KPFA...

(LC)

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What’s Up with Pacifica Radio? (Update 12/29/17)
WTF Pacifica?

Click below...

https://www.kfcf.org/whats-up-with-pacifica-radio/

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Real estate mogul Tony Malkin wants KPFA and Pacifica Foundation properties

By Lynda Carson -- Saturday Dec 30th, 2017

[[[Reportedly, Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., may take control of KPFA Radio - 94.1 FM, and the entities controlled by the Pacifica Foundation as soon as January 8, or January 12!]]]

Click below for full story…

https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/12/30/18805562.php

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Comments  (Hide Comments)

by David Roknich
Saturday Dec 30th, 2017 9:39 AM
picvhsyn_400x400.jpg
There's a technical solution that seems to be willfully ignored.

It's routine to stream or microwave a broadcast signal to a remote antenna.
This must be done, like say 5 years ago - thus saving US$40,000 each month
or US$500,000/yr Had this issue been addressed 5 years ago, Pacific would not be on the brink
of destruction.

Meanwhile, rescue the broadcast licenses by selling them off to a "white knight"
or they will be owned by multinational scumbags -
the precise political enemies that Pacifica must fight.

All will be lost if those broadcast licenses are lost, and forever.
If the board fails to act on this now, it becomes clear that
the long term sabotage that began with the drumroll into the Bush administration
will end with the demise of Pacifica.

David Roknich
IndyRadio
by better alternative
Saturday Dec 30th, 2017 10:32 AM
more info and different perspective on bankruptcy

http://pacificainexile.org/archives/2518

by Tracy Rosenberg
Saturday Dec 30th, 2017 10:45 AM
There has been alternate tower site available in NYC since 2011 at 25% of the cost. WBAI could move at any time. The problem is that Tony Malkin and the Empire State Realty Trust have not been willing to release Pacifica from the extortionate 15 year lease signed in 2005 that doesn't end until 2020.
by Tracy Rosenberg
Saturday Dec 30th, 2017 10:47 AM
You want to remove the threat of collections activity as soon as possible by taking out a loan and paying off the summary judgment ASAP.

The actual collections activity that can go on is being overstated by KPFA management. There are only 2 things that can happen (outside of bankruptcy). Malkin and Empire State can put a lien on KPFA's building, but he can't take ownership of it or close it down. It just means he would have an interest in the proceeds if it were sold. KPFA's studio already has a lien on it for unpaid property taxes and has since 2014. Nobody even noticed until 2017.

Malkin also has no ability to impact the website or the broadcast license or the transmitter tower. What he can do, although not immediately, is attack KPFA's checking account and remove what cash is in it as a payment towards the debt. This would hurt KPFA financially and probably require an emergency fundraiser to replenish operating funds.

That's it.

Taking out a loan and paying them now removes that threat and gives you three years to address the long-term debts, with a signal swap, signal sale, or real estate sale (or whatever else you figure out).

Going into Chapter 11 bankruptcy empowers Malkin and ESRT to really get their hands on KPFA's and Pacifica's assets as he and his excellent lawyers will staff the creditors committee in bankruptcy and will be able to propose their own Pacifica reorganization plan to a federal judge who may well select the creditors plan. Won't be up to any of us.

So if you are concerned about Malkin taking over KPFA and Pacifica, bankruptcy is not your friend. Taking a loan to pay him off quickly is the best defense.
Update: January 1, 2018 - KPFA interview with Bill Crosier of Pacifica

A Rude Awakening - January 1, 2018

https://kpfa.org/player/?audio=275805

On Monday January 1, 2018, at 3:30PM, Sabrina Jacobs the host of the show "A Rude Awakening," had a half hour show with Bill Crosier the interim Director of the Pacifica Foundation for a discussion about the the pros and cons of getting a loan, or going into bankruptcy.

Bill Crosier stated that it would cost around $500 thousand to a million dollars if they go into bankruptcy, and mentioned some of the risks involved if they file for bankruptcy.

On the other hand, he also stated that if Pacifica gets a loan to pay off it’s debts, they would need to keep getting one loan after another to keep paying off the former loans, and that it would be a downward spiral from one loan to another. He mentioned that Pacifica is in debt around 8 million dollars in total, and in addition to what is owed to ESRT, Pacifica owes a lot of money for pensions, including a huge debt to Democracy Now.

During the show, Crosier stated that there is a lot of infighting going on with the board members at Pacifica. He did not name the board members that have been obstructionists. However, some people have repeatedly mentioned a certain board member (an attorney that ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Oakland) that is to blame for much of the obstruction, and infighting going on at Pacifica.

Crosier suggested that they needed to change the by laws of Pacifica so that they can change the board members easier, because of the obstructionists on the board.

He said that the board members spend too much time fighting with one another, when they should be trying to figure out how to get more listeners and members for KPFA, and the other radio stations in the Pacifica network.

In brief, Bill Crosier supports going into bankruptcy, but believes that he is being obstructed by other board members of the Pacifica National Board (PNB). He urged listeners to contact the PNB at pnb [at] pacifica.org to voice their concerns.

Lynda Carson

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by Lynda Carson
Wednesday Jan 3rd, 2018 7:26 PM
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Update: KPFA - https://kpfa.org/

On Wed. January 3, 2018, 6:00PM on the Pacifica Evening News, it was reported that late last night the Pacifica National Board (PNB) voted to approve 2 loans to help pay off what is owed to the Empire State Realty Trust (ESRT). However, it was reported that it was not clear if the 2 loans would be enough money to convince ESRT to not seize the assets of the Pacifica Foundation, including KPFA. The rest of what is owed to ESRT would be payed back at a later date, when more loans could be available, or approved by the PNB.

The loan news update appeared around 6:55PM in the Jan. 3, 2018 - KPFA / Pacifica Evening News report.

Additionally, tomorrow at 8:OOAM on KPFA Radio at 94.1 FM, there will be a discussion about the crisis, and it is expected that at around 8:30AM, that the phone lines will be open to hear from the public for a question and answer session.

KPFA - The Pacifica Evening News - January 3, 2018

https://kpfa.org/player/?audio=276462

(LC)

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by Lynda Carson
Wednesday Jan 3rd, 2018 9:37 PM
Re-posted by Lynda Carson:

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Update: January 2 update from KPFA website.

By Lynda Carson

Tuesday Jan 2nd, 2018 3:43 PM

The following was posted on the KPFA website today.

(LC)

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The Fate of KPFA - January 2, 2018 - The KPFA Management

https://kpfa.org/blog/the-fate-of-kpfa/

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