William Richert V Writers GUILD of America West, Inc et al"
February 8 at 9:58pm ·
"ACTORS GROUP REPRESENTATIVE ASSOCIATION"
YOU MAY ADD your name to this letter to Ken Howard if you have grievances against SAG pension and welfare, or have ever acted in -- or written or directed -- a film that sold abroad, since you are bound by "class action" settlements that may or may not protect you or the money owed to you, and as debt holders of the SAG Corporation, you should know ways to protect your rights, and the SAG President has authority to do that.
This letter is a first draft, awaiting signatures, to be sent by email and post. Any additional suggestions or facts you may have will be examined for inclusion into the SECOND DRAFT REVISION.
Mr. Ken Howard
575 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, California
Dear Mr. Howard,
This letter is from actors who've had enough of your self-service presidency, and contains a demand that you do your job or quit; you were elected under questionable circumstances anyhow.
As the non-paid president of a tax-exempt corporation acting in the public interest, and the interest of tens of thousands of artists, you are responsible for transparency in union financial dealings involving actors' royalties and residuals, including thousands of actors SAG takes money from who are not members.
Even more critical, you are responsible for the application of the laws involving pension and welfare for thousands of retirees and especially those disabled in the course of doing their jobs.
In your office on Wilshire Boulevard, you surely hear the drumbeat of media reports announcing increasing numbers of lawsuits and settlements and court hearings about charges of embezzlement and misconduct at SAG-AFTRA pension trustees, whose conduct must be trusted by retirees totally dependent for survival on SAG benefits -- and how blind can you be to SAG's lawyers collusion with the class action lawyers to bury the rights of actors to have their records opened at the courtroom in the courtroom-declared fraud in SAG's secret theft of foreign royalties.
Judges have been told in open court that there are millions or billions of foreign royalties unaccounted for, but your lawyers have sealed actors' records dating backwards from 2010, years when DVDs were best sellers abroad, and American films had high grosses. Where's the money, Mr. Howard?.
As the legal boss of the operations at SAG, INC. -- as the officer in charge on behalf of the actor-shareholders in the SAG corporation, you cannot fail to know the contagion of corruption at SAG, while at the same time, ethically and morally, you fail in every sense to uphold the rights of actors.
In the event that you need documented and verified and press reminders of what concealments and blockages to transparency your office has put forward in the LA courtrooms, we will supply links to actual documents and payouts to lawyers on both sides with the money belonging to members.
We know that you went to appeals court for reimbursement of the money you paid to the class action lawyers in the foreign royalty case, but were denied because the court of appeals decided that SAG was indeed guilty of diverting money it should have given the members.
Incredibly greedy of SAG to petition busy judges to get this pittance back, inasmuch as the 350K paid to Mr. Johnson was lunch money with his "class action" lawsuit being (so far) successful in hiding an untold amount of millions taken from actors in a split with the major studios signed by Bob Pisano, the man who gave Duncan Crabtree-Ireland his foothold in the union.
Now the Chief Executive Officer of the SAG Inc. tribe of actors, Mr. Crabtree Ireland is not acting for actors but is a lawyer appearing in courtrooms on behalf of other lawyers paid for by actors' dues and residuals.
SAG itself wrote the Osmond foreign royalty settlement, binding tens of thousands of actors; it's a flimsy agreement, which has absolutely no power of enforcement as written, and was intended that way. The lawyers got hundreds of thousands for the SAG and millions in the WGA and DGA related settlements, while the members lost all their future rights to collect.
Or so it would appear. There is legal recourse, spurred by the fact that SAG actors' class action lawyer Neville Johnson told Judge Wiley in court that SAG INC. was guilty of fraud -- and then withdrew from the case -- he left the charge unanswered.
It is your job to answer to the membership any question of fraud upon the actors. That is your mandate, your assignment, your role as outlined by law.
It is not the role of the President of the Screen Actor's Guild to be publicly and constantly shamed and verbally attacked by angry union members, or to use millions in union funds to expensive outside law firms to defend his actions in the courtroom, against actors who cannot afford any kind of lawyer in a business constricted by union activities; it is not a fit role for a working leader to be aggrandized by but sidelined by the likes of attorneys David White and CEO Crabtree-Ireland and the other titular union "chiefs" in the sister guilds -- all of them lawyers, not actors -- all of them using the law and the monetary expense of the law against a widely dispersed group of independent artists mostly unable to defend themselves -- especially against what they cannot know; while the SAG lawyers and SAG law firms are giving themselves salary increases and organizing college kids; behaving like rams among the sheep, courting criminal charges.
Behind the SAG-veiled tangle of legal tentacles and misdirecting paper flags strung by the lawyers paid by the SAG Corporation you lead stands the plainly written SAG constitution and a list of duties you ignore.
You must cease million dollar payouts to lawyers acting against the rights to transparent accountings owed all of SAG members. You must unseal the SAG records. You must defend Leslie Hoffman's right to her welfare and pension and get her monthly checks returned without delay.
SAG leaves no room for actors to get other choices for representation if they want to work, and deducts significant amounts for pension and welfare both from the actor and the studio.
SAG's overwhelming monopoly on performers comes with strict guarantees and provisions to protect and enforce the rights of all those who sign with SAG.
We don't need to enumerate your responsibility to investigate the background of David White, and how he got to be re-hired by SAG after his partner Marc Drier went to jail; nor do we need to repeat Duncan Crabtree's obfuscation in the courtroom of Judge Real so that the Judge has been delayed for years in the investigation of missing foreign levies.
WGAw's outside/inside lawyer Tony Segall told Judge Wiley that the union collects for 105,000 movies -- that means a lot of actors owed money .
Money has a number, and the numbers are in SAG computers, which ought not be blocked by lawyers who report to you according to the constitution.
SAG under your Presidency is performing the exact opposite of its constitutional duties for fair and transparent representation and verifiable accounting of members and non members money -- including the porn stars who've had SAG collect for them without paying for years.
The blatancy of the mountain of documents showing the recalcitrance of SAG to come clean with its members, showing payoffs to in-house lawyers, outhouse lawyers, and class action lawyers like Neville Johnson and Paul Kiesel, who together accepted SAG's lawyers proposals outright, for cash.
You must undo the Osmond-SAG class action settlement which was a payoff by SAG Executives to outside litigants representing only themselves. In the long history of bad settlements, this stands out like the inverse magna carta.
We know that the body of law protecting you thus far, and affirmed by the circle of lawyers scarfing millions in fees from the membership to protect you and them; that is, the body protecting you now may lay like a corpse upon your chest when the full membership gets full view of the perfidy you're perpetuated, in the parlance of the persecuted-no-more.
1.) Restore at once all the rights and privileges promised to stunt woman Leslie Hoffman, whose case represents the cases of thousands.
2.) Unseal the court records held in OSMOND VS SAG as promised to Judge West in the court hearing of January 10, 2010.
3.) Demand a refunded from Neville Johnson and associates for all money taken in the Osmond case, which was an exchange of money for protection in a legally binding settlement that is rotten on the face of it for those included in the thousands of "class members" who are union members defrauded, as Neville Johnson told the court himself repeatedly.
You shouldn't pay off lawyers hiding fraud, you shouldn't steal from members who get hurt on the set or older actors counting on pensions, and you shouldn't condone the takeover of the Screen Actors Guild by a dark-sided choir of lawyers.
Union accountings do not create long-term physical damages like those resulting from lead in drinking water, although the Flint analogy works well in the SAG/WGA/DGA daily union treatment of the transparency of accountings to actors, or self-employed writers or directors, where every little bit can mean a lot.
Fortunately, SAG-AFTRA Union accountings are all ensconced in various computer systems, and can be accessed at will. If blocked by David White, you and the Board of Directors might want to hire your own SAG "hacker" to access SAG computers so that you cannot be put off by non-elected SAG lawyer legal shenanigans.
It is the will of the membership that all SAG foreign royalty collections/disbursments and related residual accounts be opened at once to scrutiny by the actors who are owed the money; you are the man to do that.
You may imagine how your predecessor Ronald Regan would have dealt with the obstructive high-handed David White, who has usurped your role in too many ways.
It is time for you rewrite your dialogue and stop acting for the Pisano-Studio complex and start acting on behalf of the actors you represent.
We are aware that you don't respond to letters like this, so we won't wait very long to empower the membership with our demand that you perform your duties as a volunteer-fiduciary who may be personally liable, along with the Board of Directors, for the financial losses suffered by actors from your inaction.
As actors, who depend on the honesty of the people who collect our money, and provide for our welfare, we retain the same ethical standards as our ancestors.
We also retain all our common law rights.
Signers to Be added
2You and Paula Jo Short Russell
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