Siegel: "You're suing me!"
YouTube video of March 7 drama
another incident at KPFA's Local Station Board meeting of March 7, 2010
by Daniel Borgström
Conn Hallinan's outburst at the March 7th board meeting was not the only unscheduled dramatic event of the day. Later, during the same meeting, Dan Siegel invited Richard Phelps to step outside for a fist fight. This related to a lawsuit, in which several of us, listener-members of Pacifica, were suing Dan Siegel for fraud. Richard Phelps was our attorney.
The incident took place during the break. People had gotten up, were walking around, leaving and returning to the room. Jim Curtis remained at his camera, however, so we have a video recording of Dan Siegel in action, cheered on by Sherry Gendelman and backed by the Hallinan brothers.
The scene begins as the camera pans to the right of the Chair, where the CL'ers ("Concerned Listeners") sit. Dan Siegel is speaking to Conn and Matt Hallinan. All three are on their feet, Conn reading what appears to be the legal papers of the lawsuit. We can't hear what they're saying, but Dan points at someone. At whom? Actually, that's about where I'm sitting. He's apparently pointing at me.
Siegel leaves his group, the camera following his movements, briefly losing him and showing a wall and window he's just passed. A moment later he reappears in front of me, where I'm sitting writing in my notebook, still unaware of the unfolding drama in which I'm about to be given a minor role.
"Daniel! You're suing me!"
Hearing that, I look up and there's Dan Siegel in front of me.
"Yes I am," I reply.
"Can I ask you something?" Siegel says.
"No," I tell him. "You can speak with my attorney."
"I'm going to speak to you anyway," Siegel says, and tells me that if I don't want to listen to him, I can leave. He then says that if I lose the suit I'll be liable for attorney and court costs, $60,000. I don't respond. I just sit there, recording his words in my notebook while he goes on talking at me. A moment later I see my attorney Richard Phelps standing beside me, and I say to Siegel, "Here he is. Speak to him."
He does, just as Sherry Gendelman passes by and stops to listen in. "If we weren't members of a nonviolent organization," Dan Siegel says to Richard Phelps, "I'd slap your face."
Sherry stands there laughing. Conn and Matt Hallinan move up behind Dan Siegel, who challenges Richard to step outside for a fist fight. Richard walks away, but Dan Siegel and his entourage follow. Siegel is talking almost nonstop and gesturing with his arms and hands, repeatedly challenging Richard to settle things like a man. Sherry seems to be enjoying this immensely. She joins in, at times speaking, at times laughing, and then breaks into a bit of song and dance.
"Richard's a coward!" she singsongs, swinging her hips back and forth. "Richard's a coward!"
Impressive talent. Sherry does play a great supporting actress role; maybe she could be the next Shirley Temple. But Richard is not impressed. He gives her a scornful look and reminds her of the reprimand she received from the California State Bar for malpractice, for lying to a client. "Sherry," he says, "You have no credibility."
Sherry falls silent, her smile gone. Looking stung, she makes her exit.
As the curtain falls, Dan Siegel is making a last attempt at goading Richard into a fight, but, without Sherry to put life into the script, the scene is over.
FEATURING (in order of appearance):
Sherry Gendelman (nominated for best supporting actress)
By Jim Curtis
By the actors themselves
YouTube video of March 7 drama
UPDATE August 2010
The "Concerned Listeners" slate (Siegel, Gendelman, Matt & Conn Hallinan & others) have changed their name to "Save KPFA." But that name belongs to an earlier group. Folks of the original "Save KPFA" fought the good fight for listener democracy for many years in the 1990's, starting in 1993. "Save KPFA" is their name; they earned it, and they have asked the CL'ers to immediately stop using it. But the CL'ers have still been calling themselves "Save KPFA."