East Bay
East Bay
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Wed Dec 14 2022
Fired Pacifica Director's Lawsuit Leaves KPFA in Dire Straights
KPFA Facing Layoffs, Massive Budget Shortfall After US Marshals Seize $305,000 of Reserves
Even though KPFA was not a party in the matter, US Marshals seized $305,000 of KPFA’s cash reserves to pay for a monetary judgment against the Pacifica Foundation, its parent organization. The asset seizure resulted from a defamation lawsuit filed by Pacifica former interim executive director John Vernile in 2019 against programmers of WBAI in New York. Pacifica lawyers filed an appeal on December 8 to block the judgment, and said they will sell foundation assets to recoup KPFA's loss, but KPFA is now facing layoffs and a massive budget shortfall.

According to court filings, the defamation claim arose from Vernile’s decision to lock out WBAI staff and replace locally produced programming in October 2019, three months into his term as interim executive director. WBAI successfully sued to block the move. The Pacifica National Board sided with the station and fired Vernile, saying he acted improperly without the Board’s authorization. He then filed an arbitration demand for wrongful termination. WBAI programmers discussed his actions on air, claiming Vernile had been hired to sell WBAI and was part of a group staging a coup. Other programmers called him a "rat" and a "crook." The arbiter ruled Vernile had exceeded his authority and was not wrongfully terminated, but agreed there was no evidence he was hired to take down WBAI and that he was defamed.

Pacifica's appeal of the judgment asserts that a defamation case has no place in a wrongful termination arbitration process. In the court filing, Pacifica says the WBAI employees made comments on air six weeks after Vernile’s firing, and they should be covered by the First Amendment.

article Federal Marshals Seize KPFA Assets to Pay Defamation Judgment Against New York Sister Station | article Pacifica Foundation can’t dodge $300,000 defamation award for fired executive
2023-01-21 Annual SF Counter-Protest of Anti-Abortion March Comes Amid New Post-Roe Reality Front Page | Health, Housing & Public Services | Womyn | San Francisco | South Bay | East Bay | North Bay / Marin | U.S. | Government & Elections2022-12-22 Bountiful Mink "Liberation Season" Hits Ohio and Michigan, Leading to Closure of Massive Farm Front Page | U.S. | Animal Liberation2022-12-14 KPFA Facing Layoffs, Massive Budget Shortfall After US Marshals Seize $305,000 of Reserves Front Page | Police State & Prisons | Media Activism & Independent Media | East Bay | U.S.2022-11-24 Largest Walkout in the History of US Higher Education Demands Fair Contract Front Page | Labor & Workers | Education & Student Activism | Central Valley | East Bay | California2022-11-13 Elected Leaders and Weapons Makers Urged to Deescalate Risk of Apocalypse Front Page | Anti-War | Central Valley | San Francisco | East Bay | Peninsula2022-11-06 UN Condemns US Economic Embargo on Cuba, Ongoing Since 1959 Front Page | Anti-War | San Francisco | International | Americas2022-10-10 Beloved Community Activist Tony Coleman Passes Away Front Page | Police State & Prisons | Racial Justice | Health, Housing & Public Services | Education & Student Activism | San Francisco | East Bay2022-09-28 As Extreme Climate Events Increase, Demand for Change Intensifies Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | San Francisco | East Bay | U.S.2022-09-24 Hundreds Rally for Protection of Sacred Tribal Land from Mining Project Front Page | Environment & Forest Defense | Racial Justice | South Bay | Government & Elections | Santa Cruz Indymedia2022-09-04 Alt-Right Far Outnumbered by Counter-Protesters at Central Valley Anti-Gay Demo Front Page | Police State & Prisons | Global Justice & Anti-Capitalism | LGBTI / Queer | Womyn | Central Valley2022-08-17 Security Guards Sent by OUSD to End Occupation Assault Community Members Front Page | Police State & Prisons | Racial Justice | Education & Student Activism | East Bay
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!


$ 20.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.


Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network