Fish Rots From the Head

Pacifica Falls Into Corporate Hands

Acosta, Ford, and Palmer are the titular heads of an inner circle that tends to agree on every vote. The block includes longtime board members Frank Millspaugh and Andrea Cisco of New York, and Robert Farrell of L.A. Then there are newcomers Karolyn van Putten and Valerie Chambers, who were recruited by friends on the board. Two surprise names were added last February: Murdock and Bertram Lee, a D.C. minority entrepreneur (and business partner of the late Ron Brown) who was instrumental in buyouts of a CBS-TV affiliate in Boston, the Denver Nuggets, and WKYS in D.C.

The national board also includes the so-called dissidents: Leslie Cagan, Beth Lyons, Pete Bramson, and Tomas Moran. The dissidents who sued, Rob Robinson and Rabbi Aaron Kriegel, have been asked to leave and were recently excluded from conference calls. In September, Murdock proposed two more board members. One is Francesco Rocciolo, a Citibank vice president who advises rich Italians on their investments; the other is Luis Wilmot, a telecom lobbyist in Texas. Professionals? Yes. But Mumia supporters? Not likely.

No doubt still more strangers will crash the party when the board meets in Houston at the beginning of March. But Robinson warns that if Murdock and company continue their efforts "to throw the dissidents off the board and destabilize station operations, we'll use every resource we have to stop them."

Murdock, Ford, and a publicist for the Pacifica Foundation did not respond to calls for comment on Friday.


ccotts@villagevoice.com

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