Monday, March 13, 2017

WPVM Hostile Takeover Evidence Page

First it is important to understand that small community radio stations are targets for takeover attempts. There are many stories of this. The most active lpfm radio  support and lobby group (Prometheus) warns of "hostile takeover" attempts in their guidelines of station governance. So WPVM is not unique in this by any means.

Now that the defamation lawsuit against former Director and Friends of WPVM member Jacquelyn Hammond has been successfully settled, it is time to reveal just a small sampling of evidence we had gathered in an effort to defend and protect the station from hostile takeover attempts by former trusted individuals initially involved when the process to obtain the FCC radio station license transfer began.

In August 2014 the Board of Mountain Area Information Network's Interim Director Dr. Mark West announced that 
the FCC license for WPVM would be returned and all equipment taken to a reseller in Charlotte to be sold if no one stepped forward. Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN) was  in arrears on liability and D & O insurance and was in eminent danger of the policy being canceled and MAIN simply did not have the ability to pay insurance or rent on the station at Vanderbilt apartments. Someone  with credentials, a good credit rating, ability to pay overhead for the station and ability to retain a local Attorney and an FCC attorney was needed.

The station was in a crisis situation and that is never a good thing. Upon hearing of the dire straits, Dr.Herbert Johnson and Davyne Dial stepped forward  and volunteered to do what was necessary to keep the station overhead paid; hire a legal team (local and FCC Specialists Attorney) to navigate the very difficult steps necessary for the FCC, and pay the overhead while steps were taken to transfer the FCC license to keep the station broadcasting.
It would have been ideal to have two or three years to develop our bylaws, and  a Board of committed and radio knowledgeable people but we simply did not have that luxury.  Drastic steps to rescue the station needed to be done.
 

The Board of MAIN voted to divest of the station to the new Friends of WPVM non profit corporatiod established by Dr. Johnson in October of 2014. A letter of intent  between Dr. Mark West, Dr. Patricia Furnish and Dr. Herbert Johnson was signed on Dec. 12, 2014. This included a guaranteed personal loan by Dr. Johnson to cover acquisition and equipment replacement costs. MAIN Vice President Patryk Battle was opposed to this decision to transfer the ownership of the license. He attempted to gain control by insisting to become a Director of the new non-profit, even though he remained the Vice P resident of MAIN, and was against the license transfer. When it was revealed by our Attorney and MAIN's Attorney that this was conflict of interest he began  covert manipulations to cause dissent and to sabotage the license transfer.

Below are examples that prove Friends of WPVM Director Jacquelyn Hammond was secretly conferring the Patryk Battle. There is also a paper trail of trusted volunteer Lucas Cipkowski and former President Justin Harrison, Chris Lawing and Jacquelyn Hammond conspiring to disable the station operating software, so as to render the station off the air. What is posted here is merely the tip of the iceberg of evidence of sabotage and the smear campaign spearheaded by Jacquie Hammond. 

Along with court ordered discovery of Jacquelyn Hammond, we had nearly a year  of emails between volunteers Lucas Cipkowski and then President Justin Harrison and Battle, Hammond, Lawing and Blackwell. Harrison and Cipkowski were  using the station computers to send and receive emails to Battle, Hammond, Lawing and Blackwell. Those emails gave a clear picture of hostile takeover attempts.
Battle with the assistance of Hammond spearheaded efforts to disrupt progress by the Friends of WPVM Board, including coming to the station on March 18, 2015  in an attempt to control decisions as to potential Directors.

Screenshots of Hammond's  contacts with hostile MAIN Director Pat Battle.
ON March 18, 2015 a regular scheduled Board meeting is only attended by two Directors.  VP Patryk Battle appears and  says he was at our scheduled meeting of March 18, 2015, to make sure we did not conduct  scheduled Board business, even though he had no legal right to do so. VP Patryk Battle's highly inappropriate effort to control the duly elected and properly confirmed new entity the majority of the MAIN Board chose to operate the station utterly failed. And got his minion Jacquelyn Hammond embroiled in a precedent setting lawsuit.

The two years Battle was President of the MAIN Board, it's rumored that no minutes or financial reports were kept. The audio  above is  you can hear where he said he was added back on the Friends of WPVM Board in December of 2014.  What happened was he demanded to be added and caught us off guard. Afterwords it was realized that our new bylaws required us to choose from the Members that were listed in our October 2104 Bylaws, and Battle was not a Member on that document. Also he was still the Vice President of the MAIN Board and against the transfer, which was a blatant conflict of interest for the station.


Email between Barry Summers (Ashevillefm) and Pat Battle, Hammond,  Justin Harrison, and Lawing over license  transfer approval at the FCC.



Screenshot below reveal dialogue here obtained from court ordered legal discovery  shows evidence that there was extensive dialogue between Jacquelyn Hammond, Chris Lawing and a volunteer Lucas Cipkowski. Lucas had hacked the operating software so the operating system  programming could not be updated. A task that needed to be be done on a weekly basis. This is the most vital software at the station and is what keeps the station on the air.  Davyne Dial had began contacting Cipkowski on Friday April 17th about needing the password.  He ignored requests as mentioned in this dialogue, and Hammond, a Friends of WPVM Director is encouraging him to keep the password from Ms. Dial. At the time MAIN was still the responsible party for the equipment. Mark West called Cipkowski and Harrison to demand they reveal the password or face criminal charges.
 

    Below is a private message between former President Justin Harrison and Lucas Cipkowski. Over       their being contacted by Dr. Mark West and Davyne Dial about the password hacking.



In conclusion, the station was near collapse due to neglect and  massive financial problems, which was enough in itself to deal with in order  for new owners to revive it from the ashes.  Add to that  a mean spirited and massive organized attack spearheaded by Battle & Hammond to sabotage, diminish or destroy the station (mutiny, hostile takeover attempts, libelous statements on social media, blogs and alternative media), someone instigating kicking the station out of it's location with only 30 days to move, and a hit piece in Mountain Xpress, we persevered. With the help of some good people the station has survived and is now on it's way to becoming the best station in Asheville.

Justin Harrison, Lucas Cipkowski, Chris Lawing, Jacquelyn Hammond, John Blackwell, Patryk Battle, Virginia Daffron, Mountain Xpress

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