Dan Siegel for Mayor? No

In 2014 Dan Siegel ran for Mayor. He had done a lot of good work in Oakland. However, he had also done bad work, years of it at KPFA/Pacifica. This radio network is today on the edge of extinction, and no single person has contributed more towards its demise than Siegel, who held several important positions at KPFA/Pacifica. He was a poor steward of the network's financial and human resources. So, I did not think he would make a good mayor for Oakland.

Daniel Borgström
November 2014

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Here are a few examples of Dan Siegel's mismanagement of KPFA/Pacifica


Siegel's attempt to stop the examination of WBAI's books by Carolyn Birden and Eve Moser.

This happened February 14 of 2008. Carolyn sent a notice the week before to WBAI's General Manager and Business Manager that they were planning to inspect the financial records. While they were doing this Nia Bediako of the JUC called Dan Siegel, then the interim Executive Director and Corporate Counsel and he told Carolyn to cease the inspection, return all the copies she'd made, and that she was banned from the station.

article by Carolyn Birden, with transcript of Siegel dialogue

Siegel later commented that he did this because it just didn't seem right!

In fact, 2 1/2 years before that, in early 2005, PNB directors Patty Heffley and LaVarn Williams tried to inspect WBAI's financial records, and were obstructed by the then Pacifica National Board and National Office. They enlisted the legal help of Richard Phelps to assert that the Pacifica bylaws and California Corporation law for non-profits gave board directors the absolute right to inspect the books. See
Analysis of Directors' Inspection Rights

It took at least some weeks of obstructionism for them to be able to do this. When they did it, they discovered $65,000 worth of equipment had been given away to the WBAI General Manager's father.

This established the already mandated right of directors to inspect, yet two and a half years later, on February 14 of 2008, Dan Siegel again tried to prevent it.
-- Mara Rivera

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During the LSB of October 16, 2010 Shahram Aghamir moved to amend the intro language for the Budget Resolution to include that it would be implemented according to the union contract. This would mean that layoffs would be done by seniority. However, every SaveKPFA person in attendance including Dan Siegel voted that amendment down. Why would SaveKPFA be against that "pro union" sentiment being added to the budget resolution that included the need for some staff reductions? They were trying to protect the jobs of some of their "insider" group. Some would lose their jobs if seniority were followed.


Minutes of
LSB of October 16, 2010

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In 2008 the KPFA LSB found an ideal candidate for GM, who was supported so overwhelmingly by the LSB. The candidate was Michel Shehadeh, a Palestinian-American businessman, human and civil rights activist, former research associate at San Francisco State University

Siegel prevented Michel Shehadeh from being hired by demanding a pool of candidates, thus dragging out the process till Shehadeh eventually took a job somewhere else.

An article in the SF Bay View by Fadi Saba (Feb 6, 2008) gives details:

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Dan Siegel, Conn Hallinan, Margy Wilkinson and Mal Burnstein, elected members of Pacifica governance, all organized and supported a fund drive competing with KPFA's Winter 2010/2011 fund drive.

Siegel & the other three breached a fiduciary duty of undivided loyalty owed to both KPFA and its owner, the Pacifica Foundation. On August 29, 2012 an Appellate Justice asked SaveKPFA's attorney Alan Yee: "Shouldn't your clients have resigned if they wanted to compete?"

The judge said to Attorney Yee, "[When your clients] take action that adversely affects what the board is trying to do; they should get off the board."

article by Richard Phelps

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Dan Siegel challenges Richard Phelps to fistfight at KPFA's Local Station Board (LAB) meeting of March 7, 2010

"You're suing me!"

YouTube VIDEO of
March 7, 2010 drama

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Siegel quoted by SF Chronicle (9/2/2008)

Dan Siegel, an attorney for Pacifica Radio, said management felt afraid when Foster refused to leave. "Everyone is appalled at what occurred, but I'm not sure I would blame the person who called the police," he said. "Our staff people have the right to work in a safe environment."

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Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 16:50:35 -0500 [11/26/2012 03:50PM CST]
From: PhelpsMediation (at) aol.com

The conflict in the Paige v Georgia and Pacifica case was that Siegel was Foundation counsel and was defending Georgia and Pacifica in a case where as Foundation counsel he should have only been defending Pacifica. Without going into the pages of legal issues it is improper to represent both the company and the management employee in a case involving intentional torts such as sexual harassment and retaliation since there are clear areas of potential conflict if not actual conflict.

Richard Phelps

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SIEGEL AT WBAI -- prior to 2009, (when Siegel and his faction ruled Pacifica)

Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2012
From: Mitchel Cohen


It was Dan Siegel and his faction that imposed on WBAI the renewal of its onerous lease that he now blames on us! (Studio rent is $400,000 per year; antenna rent is $500,000 per year.)


Hundreds of WBAI listener-members and a few staff did not receive ballots in the 2007 election, when Dan Siegel was Chief Counsel for Pacifica. We brought this repeatedly to the attention of Siegel et al. Instead of simply ordering that we be sent ballots, Siegel and the Board he controlled at the time refused to send them. (Many of us were opponents of Siegel and his faction, and we believe that that played into his decisions.) We had to go to Court, and won a Temporary Restraining Order that, among other things, directed Pacifica to send us ballots.

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Responding to Dan Siegel's intervention in the LSB election
October 26, 2007

Dan Siegel, who was Pacifica's Interim Executive Director, intervened in the Local Station Board election with a letter attacking candidates of the People's Radio slate for their collective statement which they published in the KPFA voter pamphlet.

Responses from
two KPFA listener-voters, Virginia Browning and Steve Gilmartin

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Open Letter from the Committee on Fair Elections
Bylaws & Rules Violated in KPFA Board Election of 2007

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excerpts from Casey Peters' report
Siegel also entered Peters' home illegally according to Peters

Dan Siegel, former Foundation Counsel and interim Executive Director of Pacifica Radio network, placed statements on the Pacifica and KPFA websites attacking candidates whom he opposed politically. This is a violation of attorney ethics and the bylaws of Pacifica. He also fired National Election Supervisor Casey Peters who tried to keep the election honest.

The following are excerpts from a report by the National Election Supervisor Casey Peters on the Pacifica 2007 Elections:

"Nicole Sawaya had resigned -- at least temporarily -- and Dan Siegel was put back into place as interim ED [Executive Director]. At that point, the power really seemed to go to Siegel's head and he started ordering me about in how to fulfill my duties. He applied intimidation regarding the still-pending certification of KPFA results, telling me that I would be fired if I did not do so promptly. The problem was that criteria for certification had not been met due to irregularities in the campaign, as will be explained later in this report.

"Regardless of my desire to maintain absolute integrity in each of the local elections throughout the cycle, I was forced to capitulate in order to continue my work in administering the elections at the remaining radio stations. I realize now that this was an unforgivable error on my part and that I should have publicized the fact that the Interim Executive Director [Siegel] was using extortion to intimidate the National Elections Supervisor and wrongly influence the outcome of the elections to the detriment of members of the Pacifica Foundation.

"Essentially, Dan Siegel in his dual roles as corporate counsel and Interim Executive Director engaged in threats and manipulation to unlawfully control the outcome of Pacifica elections. This constitutes the highjacking of the vote count. On the evening of March 13, 2008, I was about to leave for Los Angeles International Airport to fly to New York for the WBAI vote count when I received a message from Pacifica Chief Financial Officer Lonnie Hicks. Earlier in the day, he had confirmed that my accommodations in New York City were reserved. The new message said that Interim ED Dan Siegel did not want me conducting the vote count at WBAI and was firing me as National Elections Supervisor. Further information about the WBAI count follows later in this report.

"A few days later, Dan Siegel entered my home illegally without any prior notice, and without ringing the bell, knocking on the door or announcing himself. Siegel startled my wife Marilyn, who was home alone, in our living room and she yelled at him to get out. His intent was to confiscate election equipment and materials without compensating me for work completed. Siegel had apparently been drinking, and sat in a rented SUV flashing his headlights into our bedroom. Marilyn called the police to stop the harassment. We seriously considered pressing trespass and assault charges, but felt any publicity about the incident would not look good for the Pacifica Foundation."

The full report on the Pacifica 2007 Elections by Casey Peters, National Elections Supervisor (NES)

Excerpts from
Casey Peters' report

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