After the WBAI Local Station Board (LSB) meeting on October 9, 2019, I went to WBAI with some other Staff people to see first hand what had been done to the place by a group composed of Pacifica interim Executive Director (iED) John Vernile, Pacifica National Board Directors Bill Crosier (KPFT) and Adrienne LaViolette (KPFT) and Moe Thomas, Chief Engineer of WPFW.
When we got up to the third floor we found that a notice that the iED had caused to be taped to the door, over the WBAI logo, was still there. It says,
Due to exigent, financial circumstances, the WBAI-FM workstation is closed effective 8:30 a.m., Monday, 10/7/2019. Hand written on the notice is,
Highly fictional, pretextual. Well, that's a way of putting it.
I will not mention anything more about the door as it might give the coupsters information they could use to break in and hurt people.
This is a photograph of WBAI's master Control studio that we've been using for the past 4½ years after the iED's wrecking crew was done with it. The microphones had all been removed.
Not pictured is the vacant space where the Emergency Alert System (EAS) module had been. It is illegal for WBAI, or any radio or TV station in the United States of America, to operate without a functional EAS capability. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires that all stations must install and maintain FCC-certified EAS decoders and encoders at their control points, and that,
WBAI has been working on putting together a new Master Control Studio for more than a year now. The effort has cost the station something in the area of around $60,000 in cash payments, mostly for equipment, and the amount of donated, professional labor invested in building the new studio could probably be valued at a much higher figure than that.
Here we can see that all of the microphones and microphone filters have been removed from the studio by the iED's wrecking crew.
This studio had already been tested by putting it on the air a number of times before the raid happened. The work remaining to be done on the studio mostly involved putting in glass partitions that will separate the studio into two parts. That work may have been finished by the middle of October had this interference with WBAI's ability to broadcast not happened.
The piratical nature of the iED's raid on WBAI is shown by the large number of heavy duty boxes that the wrecking crew brought with them. These boxes, there were at least 50 of them, were brought to WBAI with the intention of loading a lot of WBAI's equipment and physical property into those boxes and shipping them to — where? There's no Pacifica national Office anymore. Was everything destined to be shipped off to Berkeley, California, so the conspirators at KPFA could enjoy some actual plunder from this operation?
We know that all data was removed from WBAI's servers and computers. This included all lists of members, all subscribers to the BAI Buddy project of sustaining memberships, and the WBAI broadcast archives. There may also have been a computer that was absconded with. We found that a number of these heavy duty boxes were missing. We assume that those boxes had been assembled and something put in them and taken off WBAI's premises. Part of the goal of this raid was clearly to take things out of Brooklyn and deliver them to some other place. At this time we do not have any indication of the ultimate destination the iED and rogue PNB Directors had in mind for all of this plunder.
One thing is certain, part of the goal of this raid was to make it impossible for WBAI to function as a radio station again. Luckily, the Temporary Restraining Order and subsequent reoccupation of the third floor at 388 Atlantic Ave. by WBAI Staff got the iED and his co-conspirators out of the premises and prevented their further dismantling of WBAI. These boxes, and the fact that there are so many of them, are proof that the iED and the rogue PNB Directors were operating in a predatory manner with the goal of erasing WBAI from the New York airwaves.
When the iED and his wrecking crew arrived at WBAI early in the morning of October 7, 2019, they brought with them boxes of locks with which to replace the locks already in place around WBAI. We found the locks, cylinders and debris from their assault on the station scattered all over the place.
The iED and the rogue PNB Directors clearly intended to make the eviction of WBAI from its broadcasting location permanent. I have heard that at one point they even broke into the room of a tenant on the third floor of 388 Atlantic Ave. who had nothing to do with WBAI. So we can certainly add breaking and entering to the list of possible crimes committed by Mr. Vernile, Mr. Crosier and Ms. LaViolette.
At the date of the posting of this Web page, October 19, 2019, WBAI is still occupied by WBAI Staff. The WBAI LSB's local finance Committee has even had a regular meeting in the space on October 16th, but there is no broadcast activity from the station. It is possible that some physical items were taken from the station that are not known about yet. We do know that WBAI's ability to raise money has been shut down. Some listener sponsors are concerned about what the iED is going to do with their credit card and other personal information. What's certain is that a serious breach now exists between various parts of the Pacifica Foundation, and that trust in the current iED is non-existent in the WBAI listening area.
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