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KJAJ – Community radio gone bad

Act 2 - Things get weird

KJAJ – Community radio gone bad
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As I mentioned earlier it is my opinion board members Scott Cooper
and Travis Hayer ultimately destroyed the organization, but I should first
acknowledge that during the crunch time it was Scott who got permission for us to
erect the tower.  Then Travis took the
reins and worked with the volunteers to erect the tower, connect all the
equipment and get the station on the air. He didn’t exactly keep to his
original budget, such as it was, but we prevailed.

Instead of rejoicing, however, Travis decided to revisit and
question every decision made up to this point and suddenly decided that I was
the enemy of the station rather than a fellow board member and benefactor. I
will elaborate on Travis’ relentless harassment later on but should mention here
that Scott hired Travis to work for AYA prior to the station going live.

Let’s begin with Scott and why I believe he triggered the
downfall of KJAJ. Anyone who has met Scott knows he presents as very amiable, helpful,
enthusiastic and very self-assured. Scott joined the KJAJ board in 2017 and as
I mentioned, had indicated that he would write grants to support our proposed youth-oriented
work.

By the time Scott joined the board we had been paying
utilities for the station for almost two years, maintained our annual state and
federal reporting and fees to keep the organization current, paid insurance and
mailbox fees and had purchased and installed all the equipment and the costs of
erecting the tower. We had exhausted all the grant funds plus spent an
additional $5,000. The extra funds came from Pattie and me.

To be clear, what follows is in no way meant to be a
criticism of AYA. To the best of my knowledge the organization fulfills its
mission for the students it serves. It is with certain individuals within the
organization that I have taken issue.

Almost immediately Scott and I found cause to disagree. As I
have previously mentioned our understanding with AYA was the use of a house on
the AYA property which included a kitchen, bathroom, living room and two of the
three bedrooms in exchange for working with and developing programs with AYA
students. Pattie and I were of the understanding that a lease had been executed
so when Scott decided to reverse the arrangement and limit KJAJ to only one
room and therefore our opportunity to expand I asked to see the lease to which
he replied there was no lease. He explained that he had delivered the lease, but
no one signed it. Curious, but easily solved by getting all parties to sign. When
I pressed him as to who hadn’t signed, AYA or KJAJ, he deflected saying that
AYA had been on the verge of bankruptcy when it offered KJAJ the space, (news
to us), but now it wasn’t. Make of that what you will be it was clear if KJAJ
was to expand into a viable community resource we would have to look for a new
location.

The next item of contention came when I learned after
complaining that the electrical bills had doubled that Scott had setup an
aquaculture program in a garage which ran large pumps off of our meter. Why he
didn’t bother to ask or advise the KJAJ board of this I don’t know but since I
was paying these bills out of my own pocket, I was obviously annoyed.

 Throughout the course
of KJAJ’s existence Pattie and I pressured the board to assist with fundraising
and I personally sent multiple emails to the board suggesting fundraising plans.

At one of the first board meetings Scott attended as a board
member I began my typical entreaty that we needed money. Scott felt that we
first needed to establish how the previous money had been spent. While I don’t
see why one should preclude the other, I agreed to complete my reconstruction
of the three plus years finances prior to my taking over the treasurer duties.
Scott meanwhile agreed to cover the station’s expenses during the interim. We
estimated $300 per month to which Scott said, “no problem.”

Despite the fact that the organization had changed bank accounts three times during its existence I was able to provide the breakdown seen, (available on Act 1), by the next meeting. Despite his promise Scott did not help pay the bills nor did he write any grants and Travis was still sending me text images of shut off notices for our water and electric bills expecting me to pay them.

To put it mildly, Scott turned out to be all hat and no
cattle…

Now to Travis. Travis and I got along fine in the beginning,
but I detected a marked change in his demeanor after he began working with
Scott at AYA. One day at a board meeting Travis was particularly cold and instead
of pulling me aside and saying he had some concerns he decided to ambush me. He
announced to the board that I had made capital purchases he did not approve of
and that I shouldn’t be treasurer. He was accusing me of malfeasance.
Curiously, the only person who came to my defense was Geno Landrum, but it
should also be noted that I was not the treasurer when these items were
acquired but they were purchased with board approval. Rather than bore everyone
with the details suffice it to say that Travis offered up no apology and I
still retain the audio of his persistent bullying harassment and accusations at
every board meeting.

Even though I had provided the board with copies of the
expenses paid and capital purchases were all in the studio or on the roof,
Travis was convinced I had misappropriated funds. Anyone capable of simple math
calculations could see this is impossible but he was relentless. His behavior
was so awful that he triggered my PTSD. Even though intellectually I know that
bullies like Travis don’t have the guts to take action, I was so disturbed that
I invested in security cameras around my home, just in case.

Even worse than Travis’ treatment of me was how he blocked the station from progressing. At some point, I don’t know when this happened, he was appointed or self-appointed station manager and refused to let anyone help him or to automate the station so we could improve our programming.

So why would the board allow one person to so control or
limit the station? The answer to that lies with Scott Cooper and his maneuvering
to load the board with AYA staff and board members who apparently trust Travis’
judgment and goals of mediocrity. Over my strong objections and in my opinion
in violation of our conflict of interest policy Scott pushed to add Darlene
Elliott, AYA secretary and Octavia Shafer, AYA board member “because we need
money”. In so doing and including both Scott and Travis 66% of the board would
be associated with the landlord, AYA and two of them direct employees of Scott.
Scott claimed that the adoption of the conflict of interest policy had not been
documented in the previous minutes and therefore didn’t apply.

Adding these individuals to the board did not provide any funding
save for the small $25 annual fee that Travis refused to pay. Again, Scott
talks a good game but doesn’t deliver.

Coming up in Act 3 – Scott reveals his true character and the plan to install Travis as president.

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About magix

Avatar When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.

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