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KBOO Board President Wastes Donation Money on Legal Fees

Since folks are asking questions about how much money KBOO is spending on legal fees related to "union busting", it seems logical to question the several thousand dollars spent wastefully, recklessly, without authorization, and for no good reason by the KBOO Board President, SW Conser
I posted this at the bottom of another thread, but felt it would get buried, so I'm reposting here and adding some context.

In September 2012, KBOO Board President SW Conser, aka Conch, spent several thousand dollars of KBOO money on legal fees without authorization.

He did so claiming an immediate need to rectify a situation, that actually turned out to need no action.

I called the boards attention to the misuse of funds several months ago. The Board Governance committee planned to investigate.

It was evident at the April KBOO Board Meeting that the findings would be discussed in executive session and it was apparent that the KBOO Governance Committee found fault with Conch's story and explanation.

After the KBOO Board went into executive session, the Board emerged to have one director make a motion to remove Conch from the board. The motion did not receive a second. My experience with the board would indicate that folks realized the votes were not there to remove Conch from the board and felt no need to take a losing vote for the sake of it.

There was no motion to remove Conch from the presidency or to ask him to repay the several thousand dollars.

I plan to follow up at the next board meeting.

Let the outrage ensue.

Thank you , Mr Hoyne for this information 13.May.2013 23:50

Old Kboo Fan

This gives much needed perspective on mistakes in KBOO"s past. A fact based critique is a nice contrast to innuendo based "issues".

It seems very odd the board didn't feel motivated enough to second the motion to remove Conch. Did he say something in his defense? Or apologize for his fiscal recklessness?

Maybe KBOO needs to have a mechanism in place that forces repayment when funds haven't been authorized, separate from removal or censure.

Thank you for starting this conversation. I did comment in the other thread, but , as you have noted, further productive activity would have been lost in the noise.

what were they for? 14.May.2013 00:59

querent

If that was not the union-busting lawyers, what were these lawyers to advise on?

Checks and Balances? 14.May.2013 06:09

Another Querent

How did "Conch" even manage to get a check request pushed through to pay these legal fees or does the Board President also have check-signing privileges?

Apparently, these were fees that "Conch" claims he incurred on KBOO's behalf, while acting independently.

Doesn't KBOO have a mechanism in place when large sums of money are being requested for non-routine expenses to prevent this type of thing from happening (i.e., a Board President paying legal fees for legal expenses not approved by the Board and notifying the Board retroactively of the expense and asking for approval)?

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Perhaps, as blues suggests, we do need to hold an election to replace the entire Board.

Why thanks , "Another Querent" 14.May.2013 08:08

Old Kboo Fan

I said some of that already: "Maybe KBOO needs to have a mechanism in place that forces repayment when funds haven't been authorized, separate from removal or censure. " But maybe my comment wasn't published when you read this.

It is alarming though to see questions about fiscal mechanism being repackaged as a misguided push to replace the entire board. The President who was out of line, and as far as we know, only the president. Playing Devil's advocate, this situation could imply the rest of the board is too cowardly to hold the president accountable. But there could be other reasons which would make rash actions not just misguided, but ineffective.

Personally, I'm not impressed with CW Conser's philosophy re: KBOO and find end of his State of the Station speech concerning:

"The tea partiers are welcome to join us, but please: leave all your billionaires behind. And leave behind the politics of whisper campaigns, of manufactured crises, of factionalism and finger-pointing. The people who want to divide us can't do it without our help, but we certainly don't need to help them. So, get off the comment boards, step away from the flame wars, reach out to the person next to you. Remember, you don't have to be friends to be equals."

I have supported KBOO for years, but missed this shift to encouraging elements of the reactionary right. Many people assume KBOO is a resource of the progressive left community, and would be alarmed at the naivety of a president who was openly inviting reactionary right racists to participate in KBOO.

Usually this broader question may deserve a separate response from the fiscal issue. But this is not a random volunteer suggesting the Tea Party is welcome in KBOO... this is the President of the board. These two issues might be related. And might explain why Conser feels he can be caviler with KBOO's finds.

I'm not convinced to any degree the whole board should be removed, certainly not based on "blues" questionable reasons. But I could get behind removing the president of the board.

Bill the Stattion 14.May.2013 08:26

Ben Hoyne

Conch did not get a check request pushed through. He called the legal counsel on retainer and proceeded to have them do work that he directed. When they finished, they sent KBOO the bill.
KBOO could have not paid the bill, but then it likely would have been sent to a collection agency, not good for the station at all.
He racked up a bill on credit and then relied on the foundation to pay it off.

the vote to remove conch as president was seconded 14.May.2013 09:43

observer

The majority of the board including his girlfriend, did not vote in favor of it. KBOO also pays a facilitator to run board meetings since the board president also lacks those skills.

what vote? 14.May.2013 10:24

bh

There was no vote at the April meeting. If there was can you please describe it, who seconded it, who voted for it?
Also, it takes 2/3rd majority to remove a board member (with the member in question not voting), so over half could vote for it and it still wouldn't pass.
In any normal world a girlfriend of the person in question would recuse themselve from such a vote. We know KBOO is not a normal world.

It should go without saying... 14.May.2013 10:41

OKF

That if the partner/spouse of a president is on a board voting to remove said president, that individual should ABSTAIN from the vote because of their obvious conflict of interest.

We appear to have is a president who is fiscally irresponsible, politically naive and unskilled at "presiding"...

On top of that KBOO seems to lost an internal culture of responsibility. When did this happen?

"He racked up a bill on credit and then relied on the foundation to pay it off. "

Most organizations have clear policies about this kind of thing. Not only was it irresponsible on Conch's part, but it's possibly legally actionable.

It would help to know exactly what the powers and responsibilities of the president and board members are.

Please take note of who isn't commenting. 14.May.2013 20:17

Faith.

Look at the one person not commenting on the unauthorized expense of several thousand dollars of KBOO money by the board President (as opposed to $2000 for legal advice by the authorized Station Manager) since he is the one placed on the board with the full support, and mutual back-scratching, of our very vocal TM...
See how it's not an issue when her allies do something? See how we don't raise issue when it might be bad for your case?
Question all motives on this news board because some are driven by an agenda, not by the truth.

@Faith 15.May.2013 00:19

Noted

The omission is obvious. It's also obvious TM and co traverlers have an agenda, though it's confusing what it is. They seem to want to get rid of Fitch and at the same time the entire board, which would include the president?

Unless they're hoping to get rid of the whole board, then replace it with the SAME president and board members, less those who won't "play ball". And then act like it's a "radical change" membership demanded, and "proof" democracy works. And then there's the question of WHY they're putting so much energy into this...

Meanwhile TM's back flogging her hysteria here. Won't bother to link it. Not hard to miss.

Anyone else notice her savekboo website keeps changing? What she doesn't know is some people have archived screencaptures.....

KBOO facebook page 15.May.2013 10:01

observant

 https://www.facebook.com/kbooradio

Under "Recommendations" we have this crap:

Jxxxx Kxxxxx
KBOO has lost my support, both in terms of listening and donating. I will not be making a donation this week, or for quite some, if ever again. I don't support organizations that fail to respect their workers. Now KBOO is on that long list. Way to sell out. Community my ass.  http://portlandsocialists.org/?p=855
about a week ago

Mxxxx Fxxxx
Is it true that the station manager and the board are union busting?
Like about 2 weeks ago


Refuting the "union busting" story might need a Facebook presence.

theresa mitchell continues to not think this is important 22.May.2013 19:08

bob

after all it's her buddy the prez. one has to prioritize. not all financial/labor concerns are created equal.

Press Release 24.Jun.2013 01:35

Hadrian Micciche

A press release about the meeting to remove the Board President.
-------------------------------

After KBOO's last Board election last September, KBOO's Board President had some serious concerns and, without the required authorization from the Board, contacted Sussman Shanks to request he be faxed confidential and privileged information which he had no right to ask for, or to have. I have 3rd party information (and am waiting on written confirmation) that a lawyer at the firm stated that the Board President has violated attorney/client privilege by acting without the Board's authorization.

The Board President made no effort to ask for Board authorization. If he had, he would have learned that the Executive Director had already discussed this matter with a lawyer at the firm and that she had been advised to do nothing. Instead, the Board President, acting on his own, obtained confidential, privileged information, without authorization, and presented it to the Board. The Board, wisely, took no action on the Board President's concerns.

Acting on the concerns of almost half of the Board about the actions of the Board President, the Board's Governance Committee looked into this matter and found that as well as acting without authorization, the Board President mis-used KBOO Foundation funds by spending them unnecessarily. A report to this effect was presented to the board in closed session at a prior meeting, to allow the Board to fully discuss the circumstances behind the Board President improperly obtaining privileged and confidential information. However, this is an official report to the Board from a Board committee, discussed in open sessions of the Committee and part of the public record of those Committee meetings. It contains no confidential information. It will be presented at an open session of the Board and made a part of the legal record of the corporation, as required by state law. *The Board President has directed Board members to not release this already public report to anyone. I've informed him that there will be no cover-up of his mis-use of KBOO funds. The report is attached.*

The Board President has repeatedly said in his defense that KBOO has money in the budget for legal fees. That is true. However, these funds are not his to spend without Board authorization. Also, the budget has no money allocated for wasteful spending.

There is a motion on the agenda of the KBOO Board meeting on Monday to require the Board President to repay the amount he caused KBOO to be billed without authorization and unnecessarily. I now have 3rd party information (and am waiting on written confirmation) that as a result, the Board President once again contacted Sussman Shanks and requested they fax him a copy of what KBOO was billed for his use of the firm's time. The lawyer at the firm is reported to have been puzzled by this request, as KBOO has already been billed and the information can be had by asking the Executive Director, Lynn Fitch. Ms. Fitch has stated the amount billed to KBOO due to the Board President's unauthorized actions totaled $1500.

Had the firm had responded to the Board President's request for a copy of this bill, KBOO would incurred additional charges -- another wasteful and unauthorized expenditure. *For these reasons, I will move that the Board President be removed from the Board for his repeated violations of Board policy and his mis-use of KBOO funds.*

The KBOO Board meeting is at 6pm on Monday June 24th. Normally held at KBOO, the meeting will be held this month at the Jupiter Hotel at 800 E. Burnside, in the Dream Box room.