Saturday, July 22, 2006
WAIF v. City of Cincinnati
WAIF was at Court this week. Anyone know what happened?

Court record.

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posted by Reform WAIF @ 6:03 PM   5 comments
A Roadmap of Ideas to Improve WAIF
During the 2005 Annual Membership meeting, I ran for the Board of trustees on a platform of change and with ways and ideas of improving the station I have grown to love, respect, and appreciate. Several members on the Board was threatened not only by my level of confidence in changing and improving the station, but the broad support I developed as a result of being opened minded. Listed below are some of the most vital areas WAIF must work on to improve itself. I offer these ideas once again as a way to improve the station and to continue open conversation about reforming WAIF.

"We Can & Must Do Better!"

Improve our member/station communications. Involving more members in Board and committee meetings, fundraisers and special events. Utilizing the online forums to keep our members informed!

  • Upgrade studio equipment and technology from analog interface to an all-digital interface.

  • Form a business committee for the purposes of overseeing underwriting, fundraising, special events, public relations.

  • Technology Campaign Fundraiser: To improve the amount of computerized and technically advanced equipment that will improve the quality of programs.

  • Gain back the respect and force we once held in the community as the leading independent media organization with a focus in serving our audience instead of personal interest!


  • Why WAIF MUST Do Better?
  • Current national legislation (U.S. Senate Bills 1349 and House Bill 1549) threatens public access centers around the nation, including public television. This is a threat to all forms of independent media organizations.

  • WAIF is one of very few community operated radio stations in the country.

  • WVXU was recently purchased by WGUC and local independent programs are no longer part of the station. This is a threat to independent media organizations!

  • Independent Media is slowing but surely fading away. (Source: Alliance for Community Media).

  • Listeners and members alike, depend on our station to bring them information not reported by corporate media. We need and must be a leader in this area.

  • 21st Century Technology is inevitable! With the FCC recently ruling that the telecommunications industry, including television makers, etc., must move into an ALL digital broadcast format, WAIF must be prepared for these changes.

  • Make our website an information navigator where programmers, members, and listeners may have access to station news and important information.

  • Nothing is impossible here at WAIF! We have been through many things. Have seen many people come and go, but we still stand!

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    posted by Derrick D. Blassingame @ 4:15 PM   0 comments
    Look Who's Controlling WAIF: Donald Shabazz's History File
    Who should be running a community radio station, a disbarred attorney, or someone who has a clean background and history? Well unfortunately, the history files of several WAIF board members brings into question several speculative thoughts. Is Donald Shabazz running WAIF the way in which he ran his law practice, the way he treated his clients or lets just assume a combination of the two.

    For your own good, I would encourage you to read this entire entry and learn of WAIF's current chairman of the Board. Dispicable!


    SUPREME COURT OF OHIO, JANUARY TERM, 1995 [74 Ohio St.3d 24]

    CINCINNATI BAR ASSOCIATION v. SHABAZZ.

    (Case No. 94-2668--Submitted September 12, 1995--Decided November 8, 1995.)

    HEADNOTES: Attorneys at law--Misconduct--Permanent disbarment--Conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or misrepresentation--Conduct adversely reflecting on fitness to practice law--Practicing without license--Disobedience of order of suspension--Significant history of professional misconduct.

    PRIOR HISTORY: ON CERTIFIED REPORT by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court, No. 94-55.

    In February 1993, respondent, Donald A. Shabazz, last known address in Cincinnati, Ohio, Attorney Registration No. 0024227, was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio for two years, the second year of which was suspended in favor of a monitored probation period, after he was found in violation of DR 6-101(A)(3) (neglect of a legal matter), 9-102(A) (commingling funds), 9-102(B)(3) (failure to promptly account for client's funds), and Gov.Bar R. VI (failure to register as an attorney). See Cincinnati Bar Assn. v. Shabazz (1993), 66 Ohio St. 3d 4, 607 N.E.2d 438. On May 4, 1994, the stay of the second year of respondent's suspension period was revoked due to the certification of further findings of misconduct and recommendations of suspension against him, and due to his failure to pay sanctions issued for noncompliance with Continuing Legal Education requirements. See Cincinnati Bar Assn. v. Shabazz (1994), 69 Ohio St. 3d 1431, 631 N.E.2d 641. On July 13, 1994, respondent was suspended from the practice of law for an additional six months for further violations of DR 6-101(A)(3) and 9-102(B)(3). Respondent was ordered to serve the six-month suspension after he served the suspension issued in 1993, and he was required to subsequently submit to a one-year monitored probation period. Cincinnati Bar Assn. v. Shabazz (1994), 69 Ohio St. 3d 535, 634 N.E.2d 994.

    On August 15, 1994, relator, Cincinnati Bar Association, charged respondent with further professional misconduct, this time involving violations of, inter alia, DR 1-102(A)(4) (conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or misrepresentation), 1-102(A)(6) (conduct adversely reflecting on fitness to practice law), and 3-101(B) (practicing without license in violation of professional regulations), and Gov.Bar R. V(6)(A)(1) (disobedience of order of suspension). Respondent was served notice of the complaint, but did not answer. A panel of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court ("board") considered the matter on relator's motion for default, filed pursuant to Gov.Bar R. V(6)(F).

    Respondent [Donald Shabazz] acknowledged in writing during relator's investigation that (1) he had prepared a letter for certain clients in a contract dispute in November 1993, while his license was under suspension; (2) he had signed the letter using the name of another attorney without that attorney's authority; (3) he had received $ 150 in payment from the clients for whom he prepared the letter; and (4) he had subsequently prepared a complaint for filing in common pleas court on their behalf. The panel considered respondent's acknowledgment prima-facie evidence of misconduct and concluded that relator had otherwise complied with Gov.Bar V(6)(F).

    Accordingly, the panel granted the motion for default and found respondent in violation of the Disciplinary Rules cited in the complaint. It rejected the sanction suggested by relator--permanent disbarment--and recommended that respondent receive an indefinite suspension from the practice of law. The board adopted the panel's report, including its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation.

    OPINIONBY: Per Curiam.

    OPINION: Upon review of the record, we concur in the board's findings that respondent violated DR 1-102(A)(4), 1-102(A)(6), and 3-101(B), as well as Gov.Bar V(6)(A)(1). However, we cannot concur in the recommendation to impose an indefinite suspension. In Disciplinary Counsel v. McDonald (1995), 71 Ohio St. 3d 628, 629, 646 N.E.2d 819, 820, we disbarred an attorney on motion for default, despite the board's recommendation to indefinitely suspend, because he had a significant history of professional misconduct and had ignored our previous order of suspension. McDonald requires the same sanction here. THEREFORE, WE ORDER THAT RESPONDENT [DONALD SHABAZZ] BE PERMANENTLY DISBARRED FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW IN OHIO. Costs taxed to respondent.

    DISPOSITION: Judgment accordingly.

    JUDGES: MOYER, C.J., DOUGLAS, WRIGHT, RESNICK, F.E. SWEENEY, PFEIFER and COOK, JJ., concur.

    COUNSEL: Klaine, Wiley, Hoffman & Muerer and Franklin A. Klaine, Jr.; Lindhorst & Dreidame Co., L.P.A., and James L. O'Connell, for relator.

    ------------

    SUPREME COURT OF OHIO, JANUARY TERM, 1994 [69 Ohio St.3d 535]

    CINCINNATI BAR ASSOCIATION v. SHABAZZ.

    (Case No. 94-553--Submitted May 10, 1994--Decided July 13, 1994.)

    HEADNOTES: Attorneys at law -- Misconduct -- Six-month suspension to be served consecutively to prior suspension with one year of monitored probation to follow -- Failure to pay client's subrogated medical bills after retaining an amount from settlement to pay them.

    PRIOR HISTORY: On Certified Report by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court, No. 93-27.

    On February 24, 1993, this court suspended respondent, Donald A. Shabazz of Cincinnati, Ohio, Attorney Registration No. 0024227, for two years for multiple violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Cincinnati Bar Assn. v. Shabazz (1993), 66 Ohio St.3d 4, 607 N.E.2d 438. Following the first year of the suspension, the remainder of the suspension was to be stayed and respondent would be placed on monitored probation for the balance of the sanction.

    In a complaint filed June 21, 1993, relator, Cincinnati Bar Association, charged respondent with one count of misconduct, alleging that he had violated DR 1-102(A)(4) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation), 6-101(A)(3) (neglecting a legal matter entrusted to him), 7-101(A)(1) (failing to seek the lawful objectives of his client), 7-101(A)(2) (failing to carry out a contract of employment for professional services), 7-101(A)(3) (causing prejudice or damage to one's client during the course of the professional relationship), and 9-102(B)(3) (failing to maintain complete records of all funds of a client coming into possession of the lawyer and render appropriate accounts to his client regarding them).
    An evidentiary hearing on the matter was held before a panel of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court ("board") on February 11, 1994. The stipulations, testimony, and documentary evidence indicated that in 1989, Natalie Young retained respondent to represent her in an automobile accident case. As a result of the accident, Young incurred medical bills totalling $ 563.80. On July 23, 1991, through respondent's efforts, Young's personal injury claim was settled for $ 5,150. At the time of the foregoing settlement, respondent received his one-third contingency fee of $ 1,716 and retained an additional $ 563 to pay the subrogated medical bills, remitting the balance of the settlement to Young.

    When respondent failed to pay the medical bills, Health Care Recoveries, Inc. sent him a statement dated July 8, 1992 concerning the unpaid balance. Respondent could not recall receiving this statement. In January and February 1993, Young received collection letters concerning the unpaid medical bills. Young contacted respondent's office several times by telephone but respondent never returned her calls. Respondent claimed that he never received any messages from Young about the medical bills. Young filed a grievance with relator on March 10, 1993. On April 15, 1993, relator advised respondent that Young's complaint had been filed against him. On April 19, 1993, respondent sent a cashier's check in the amount of $ 563.80 to Health Care Recoveries, Inc.

    In mitigation, respondent [Donald Shabazz] claimed that during the time of the settlement, he was under a great deal of stress as a result of his prior disciplinary proceeding and difficulties with his former law partner. Respondent further testified that he had experienced a large turnover of secretarial staff and that he was unaware that Young's medical bills had not been paid until being contacted by relator in April 1993, at which time he promptly remitted the full amount. Relator recommended that respondent be indefinitely suspended, and respondent requested a public reprimand.

    The panel concluded that respondent had violated DR 6-101(A)(3) and 9-102(B)(3), and recommended the imposition of an additional six-month suspension to be served consecutively to respondent's prior sentence, with the existing one-year monitored probation to follow. The board adopted the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of the panel, and further recommended that costs be taxed to respondent.

    OPINIONBY: PER CURIAM.

    OPINION: We concur in the findings and recommendation of the board. Donald A. Shabazz is hereby suspended from the practice of law for an additional six months, to be served consecutively to his prior suspension, with the one year of monitored probation to follow. Costs taxed to respondent.

    DISPOSITION: Judgment accordingly.

    JUDGES: Moyer, C.J., A.W. Sweeney, Douglas, Wright, Resnick, F.E. Sweeney and Pfeifer, JJ., concur.

    COUNSEL: Klaine, Wiley, Hoffman & Meurer and Franklin A. Klaine, Jr.; Lindhorst & Driedame and James L. O'Connell, for relator.

    Donald A. Shabazz, pro se.

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    posted by Derrick D. Blassingame @ 3:55 PM   0 comments
    Joe Wessels: Lets Get Real!
    Joe Wessels recent e-mail to supporters of WAIF is to me nothing more than attempt to marshall himself onto the board as the organizations savior.

    Unfortunately those who received the e-mail were probably those Joe described during a meeting I attended in April; white, wealthly west siders! During an April meeting with some former and current WAIF programmers, Joe unraveled a plan to take over WAIF by encouraging Cincinnati's wealthiest or those close to money to rally behind him to take over the station. Joe said he would encourage these individuals to join him and get a program on the station as well as a seat on the board. Not soon after this proposal did the group make him their chairman. I have not been to any other meetings since.

    In order to move WAIF along it requires more than e-mails, unproductive meetings, and faulty attempts to have the station controlled by wealthy white people only. A more effective approach will be the removal of the following people.

    1. Donald Shabazz: current chair

    2. Howard Riley; current station manager.

    3. Olubanjo Adigun; board member

    4. Mark Elstun, board member

    5. Vinay Satyal

    I would also propose a special motion to remove Michael Wood, treasurer immediately for improperly handling WAIF funds, for purposely causing the station to lose money (grant) from the city, for failing to renew the stations historical name, "Stepchild Radio of Cincinnati, Inc," amongst other reasons. Another Board member I truly believe should be removed is John Newell, husband of Cincinnati Public Schools board member Florence Newell, for failing to act appropriately and fairly while handling documents. This guy has purposely denied board members, members, and the public access to WAIF's records.

    Even in voting these individuals off the board, I strongly believe that those who are replaced must also qualify to be on the board. At this time, many on the board are their to stroke their egos and oppress a small town station. Those on the board should be able to move the station along not only administratively, but financially. At this time, the stations sole income is that which comes from it's members. Other sources of income must be identified in order for the station to survive. During the next few weeks, I will share some ideas of how to effectively improve WAIF, or at least start the ball rolling.

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    posted by Derrick D. Blassingame @ 3:28 PM   0 comments
    Monday, July 10, 2006
    Joe Wessels on the Move
    The CityBeat blog has just posted "Controlling WAIF," which highlights Joe Wessels latest email campaign to attract more members before the cutoff for this year's membership meeting -- where new board members will be elected. Here is the full text of Wessel's email, which was quoted at CityBeat...

    In Cincinnati we are very lucky. Many of those reasons are obvious. Fountain Square. The River. The Reds, The Bengals. Also, our many visual and performing arts organizations, our wonderful people and our tasty chili, among so much else.

    Other lucky reasons aren’t quite so obvious, and they arguably better tell the story of our region. One of those, I think, is WAIF-FM (88.3). And it is in trouble.

    You may have seen the May CityBeat article that outlined, in a more or less technical way, some of the issues at the station. Where there is a problem I see a splendid opportunity. I hope you will join me.

    WAIF is a membership organization, counting on new memberships to drive its annual budget. With every $15 membership, each person gets a vote at the station’s annual meeting. That vote allows members to elect new board members and begin the process of moving the station in a new direction.

    A good faith effort was put forth to talk with the organization’s leadership in the hopes that collectively we could come up with a solution to the stations problems and begin to discuss an alternate future for WAIF. Unfortunately, these overtures fell on deaf ears and issues at the station continue to go unaddressed.

    Now, with just days until the August 1 membership deadline, I am writing to a few key people. My hope is you will join me – and help me – in the quest to get new members to join the station. Unfortunately, the Board of Directors, aware that a membership drive might be launched, apparently moved the deadline ahead nearly a month. I am sorry for the short notice.

    Joining is important, but more than joining, we need new members to vote at the upcoming September 17, 2006 annual meeting. That way, five new board members can be voted onto the board and begin the work needed to take WAIF to a better place.

    Here are some of the reasons I think you might be interested in helping WAIF.

    Once a member joins the station, they have a say in one of the country’s last community radio stations. WAIF – owned completely by its members – has been on the air in Cincinnati for more than 30 years.

    WAIF embodies a way for your group or organization to become the voice of the station – whether that is on the air, being on the Board of Directors or a member.

    With an FCC educational broadcasting license, WAIF delivers truly original programming, commercial free – and the opportunity to create new programs – to an audience throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.

    The potential for the station is limitless. Remote broadcasts, new programs, the chance to increase WAIF’s programming hours, better management, better programs, better audience development and better fundraising.

    Cincinnati has dwindling radio diversity. WAIF represents a chance to improve diversity and have less-heard and unheard voices on radio in Cincinnati. WAIF truly is “what radio is meant to be.”

    Things have not always been so bad at WAIF. As this CityBeat story and others show, the station has realized much of its potential in the past. But now it is at a crossroads. I fell in love with WAIF and the concept of diverse, community radio last summer and fall when I hosted both award-winning shows, the Brian & Joe Radio Show and Cincinnati Advance Radio. It was a wonderful opportunity to take an hour each week and do what I want to further Cincinnati. It was a fantastic medium to do that and it saddens me to think it might not continue.

    Here’s what you can do. First, members need to join the station – and we need a lot. Second, and arguably most important, we need members who can be at the WAIF annual meeting Sept. 17 to help get enough votes for qualified people to join the Board of Directors.

    If you are interested in being part of this plan – and we only have about three weeks – please reply to this e-mail. I will send you further instructions on how to help get new members.

    I am very excited about the prospect this membership drives holds for the future of community radio in Cincinnati and the ability for groups that care about this city to get their message out. If you have any questions please feel to reply to this e-mail or call me at (513) 315-9979.

    Thank you, Jason, for sticking through this e-mail. I look forward to the great changes ahead for WAIF and your involvement in it.

    Best,

    Joe Wessels

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    posted by Reform WAIF @ 1:07 PM   0 comments
    Thursday, June 29, 2006
    WAIF Alert: June 2006
    Today, in the mail, I received the WAIF Alert June 2006 newsletter.

    The front page included the minutes from the membership meeting in September, 2005.

    On page two, there is an announcement by John Newell that seems promising (and it relates to one of the very first posts -- and subsequent comments -- left here at ReformWAIF.com).

    ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT ALERT
    To protect the integrity of the WAIF members' votes, the WAIF procedure for electing individuals to the BOARD OF TRUSTEES will be:

    At the door the Secretary of WAIF and volunteer's will have the Official Book with all member names listed. When members arrive at the meeting, they should show a LEGAL Pictured Identification, Membership card AND sign next to their name, and receive one ballot. This would allow a higher level of accountability surrounding the elections to The Board, and it would make sure non-members did not vot, and that members did not vote more than once.

    John Newell, B.O.T. Member & Secretary


    Actually, I had first raised this question in a February open letter to members of the WAIF board.

    I am happy to see that one suggestion from Reform WAIF has been adopted.

    But there is more to do. Donald Shabazz still needs to be removed from the BOT, and structures should be put in place so that the new BOT does not engage in the same type of retributive behavior that has characterized the current Board.

    The WAIF newsletter ends with a crazy letter from Donald. He is still fixated on how his spy cameras are a good idea.

    And he also wants everyone to know that he can be reached via email at donaldshabazz@aol.com with any questions or comments.

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    posted by Someone @ 5:43 PM   0 comments
    Tuesday, June 13, 2006
    Open Letter to Michael Wood
    Dear Mr. Wood:

    You have been working along side Donald Shabazz for some time now. Did you know that, according to Donald's religion (I understand Shabazz follows The Nation of Islam), you are part pig? That's right, it is my understanding that The Nation of Islam believes white people were genetically engineered from pigs by a mad scientist named Mr. Yakub.

    To be fair, in recent times, some have taken the story of this ancient mad scientist as allegory. Why not ask Shabazz about Mr. Yakub. See what he says?

    And do you know about the Motherwheel? If Shabazz is in line with The Nation, then he believes Elijah Muhammed is flying around Earth in a giant UFO with three big bombs on it. These bombs will one day kill all the white folks, then the UFO will take black people back to the moon.

    Seriously. Check into it. Let me know what you find out!

    The Dean

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    posted by Someone @ 1:29 PM   0 comments
    Two Simple Questions...
    How does the structure of WAIF compare to other community radio stations? What about other community media, like Media Bridges?

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    posted by Someone @ 1:28 PM   0 comments
    Friday, June 09, 2006
    Donald Shabazz: Losing Control?
    Once again, Donald Shabazz got on WAIF radio this evening in what seems to be another bout of losing control. Should the chairman of the WAIF board be someone who so easily loses his cool?

    Here's the long and short of it: Donald takes some credible concerns, and mixes them totally up in his own fantasies. What results are nearly incomprehensible rants. For example, when he goes on about a right-winged racist with a Master's Degree, a kid who barely finished high school, and a little man who keeps trying to make something of himself -- is he talking about The Dean, Derrick Blassingame, and Nate Livingston?

    Do the three of us collectively REALLY seem like part of a right winged racist conspiracy? The notion does not even make sense!

    Are there white folks on the WAIF inside who want to run out the black control of the board?

    I think so. And that troubles me. Corrupt white folks snaking their way into the place will not be any better than Shabazz and Co.

    I think the whole station needs to get beamed up!

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    posted by Someone @ 6:40 PM   7 comments
    Wednesday, June 07, 2006
    WAIF Board Persecutions Continues
    The WAIF Board of Trustees continues to persecute its members. This time involves two former WAIF programmers, volunteers, and long time supporters Lynne "The Happy Hemptress" Wilson, and Bill Polak.

    The details of their administrative hearing are unknown at this time, but I find this so interesting especially considering the growing dissent amongst WAIF programmers and members regarding the mismanagement and corruption of the Board of Trustees. The fact the Board continues to hang themselves by throwing people out the station, revoking their memberships, and cancelling programs only serves to stroke their egos and not serve the interest of the general public. More to come.

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    posted by Derrick D. Blassingame @ 7:51 AM   1 comments
    Wednesday, May 31, 2006
    Right Winged Racists
    The CityBeat blog picked up on Donald Shabazz's recent round of damage control -- which sounds nothing more like paranoid rants.

    Check out "A Wicked Scheme Exposed."

    Apparently, Shabazz's letter includes rhetoric like this:

    "And what possible or legitimate interest could Ms. Pierce or CityBeat have in WAIF's records and files, except that they are part of the wicked scheme being hatched by a certain group of racist, right-wing political operatives who are trying to hijack our station and destroy WAIF as we know it?"


    We will update if the whole letter becomes available.

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    posted by Reform WAIF @ 4:03 AM   0 comments

    WAIF in CityBeat
    "Watching at WAIF," 2/22/06

    "Letters," 3/01/06

    "Naughty Stepchild," 5/03/06

    "Letters," 5/10/06

    "Letters," 5/19/06

    WAIF at The Beacon
    "Media Wars! WAIF v. CityBeat" 2/26/06

    "Is Donald Shabazz Putting WAIF in Danger?" 2/28/06

    "Complaints Filed With FCC," 4/01/06

    Action Plan


    *Technology & Digital Improvement

    *Committee of Business

    *On Organization and The WAIF Website

    Updates in the fight to reform WAIF, a community radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio at 88.3FM.
    About The Writers

    Derrick Blassingame and The Dean of Cincinnati are former WAIF hosts. They know first-hand some problems inside the organization. Both decided to contribute to this site, in an attempt to save Cincinnati's community radio station!

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    WAIF Board
    Donald Shabazz, BOT Chairman
    Howard Riley, Station Manager
    Colleen Sims, Chief Operator
    Ken Naegele, Remote Coordinator
    Mark Elstun, Board member
    Michael Wood, Treasurer
    George Whitton, Premium & Membership
    Vinay Satyal, Assistant Treasurer
    John Newell, Secretary
    Olubanjo Adigun
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