FROM: ACTOR MEMBERS OF SAG-AFTRA
FROM: ACTOR NON MEMBERS OF SAG-AFTRA
August 19, 2012
KEN HOWARD, CO-PRESIDENT
PATRICIA REARDON, CO-PRESIDENT
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE SCREEN ACTORS GUILD (BELOW)
RE: ACTOR’S REQUEST FOR DOCUMENTS AND PROPERTY; NOTICE OF DECLARATION OF GRIEVANCE
RE: ATTORNEY’S HEARING FOR ADDITIONAL FEES LA SUPERIOR COURT ROOM 311 AUG 22 AT 9AM
Dear Co-Presidents and SAG-AFTRA Board Members:
We the undersigned are among the tens of thousands of American actors whose foreign royalties have been taken unlawfully by the Screen Actor's Guild and divided with the major studios for ten years or more.
Contracts and court documents from three related class action lawsuits reveal that millions –actually, billions --of dollars originally sent to U.S. artists from overseas have been divided since 2002 by SAG (now SAG-AFTRA) with major studios and diverted to unknown bank accounts in violation of the law.
A statement from the Director’s Guild Chief Financial Officer shows for the first time that some of this money has been accounted for in a “Tri-Guild” audit by the PKF accounting firm, which has provided accountings of the money SAG divided with the studios as far back as 2007.
The lawyers in the SAG settlement concealed these accountings, and continue to stonewall in court, exposing the Executive Director and the Board of Directors to charges of fraud against the members, since they are responsible for corporate fiscal actions and audits under the office of the President.
We ask that you cease and desist all further violations of our civil and artistic rights and courtroom delay tactics.
We are unwilling to succumb to an atmosphere of SAG recrimination against its critics. We despise those few self-serving officials who ignore grievances from members; non-actor officials who keep actors from exposing wrongdoing and illegal studio agreements. Your joining the AFL-CIO will not provide the umbrella for the coming hailstorm of facts and revelations.
We demand that you cease and desist using our own money to prevent our justice in court.
We are aware that for each and all of these years since 2002 the Screen Actors Guild used an agreement signed by Robert Pisano with 11 studios outside collective bargaining.
We are aware that contract has expired, and that you have been collecting money and dividing it 50/50 with MPAA studios for 8 months without legal authority, outside collective bargaining agreements.
Actors would never work eight months without a contract. It is your duty to tell all of us, at once, why there is no new contract – and who authorized the first one.
It is an outrage that the "Rule One" union has been taking money from actors who belonged to no union, and who had worked for no studio.
Taking non-union workers money without acknowledgment, at a time when it costs $3000 to purchase SAG-AFTRA membership, could mean that SAG-AFTRA has already taken the money an actor might need to join the union – thus preventing any distribution of royalties – while depriving the actor of his/her own money.
Shame on you -- allowing such wrongdoing to continue under your stewardship of actor's incomes and royalties.
Shameful of you for paying lawyers to violate the rights of members using the memberships own money.
Shame on you, using non-union actors (and dancers and porn stars) money while promoting SAG jurisdictional grabs against them.
You must cease paying for your lawyer Dan Schecter's blustering disingenuous cover up in the courtroom of Judge Wiley Jr., along with your payments to the Plaintiff’s lawyer Neville Johnson, whose settlements have benefited his law firm and the unions and studios more than the actors, writers and directors he represents.
There are strict federal rules of law governing use of union funds, use of interest on such funds or the investment of interest; the cycling of funds from bank to bank, the providing of documents to the Franchise TaX Board of the State of California and other states – for this is an interstate, international operation of more than 10 years– and there is a moral and ethical obligation of a fiduciary corporation to act in the best interest of its corporate beneficiaries; the actors and broadcasters and performers represented by SAG-AFTRA.
Honesty is the first of the responsibilities of the Presidents and Board of Directors of a Corporation.
On May 16 2012, in the courtroom of Judge Wiley Jr., after waiting several years for an accounting for the class, Neville Johnson, attorney for Ken Osmond, hinted that he was ready to announce that SAG had been colleting for non-member actors.
Mr. Johnson says he’s preparing new lawsuits against the DGA and SAG to include residuals as well as foreign levies.
Lawyers for both sides make millions during these lawsuits, all paid for by the actors, union and non union.
Attorneys for both the Plaintiff and Defendants say they represent the interests of the actors. Apparently They both occupy the same space, in defiance of the laws of physics.
It is time the actors’ represent themselves, whether belonging to a union or not. No union actor we know would willingly take royalties belonging to a non union actor.
Only the artists lose out during these lengthy litigations, with settlements that wind up being demands for a simple transparent accounting – one that could be given to us all in an instant by SAG’s own accountants.
Thousands of actors owed money for ten years or more need it now. We don’t want to wait another five or seven years or more to get an imitation of justice under Neville Johnson/Paul Kiesel class actions.
According to your wesite, SAG has collected $20, 700, 586 dollars since its inception
We insist that you, Ken Howard and you, Patricia Reardon, along with the named individuals on the Boards of Directors of SAG-AFTRA coast to coast, provide a directive to our accountants and auditors to turn over all relevant documents immediately to your attorneys to be given to the court and to the settlement class, whereupon Mr. Schecter’s law firm’s millions in fees will be reduced, and future payments of actor’s millions to Johnson/Kiesel won’t be required.
Also we insist that the transparent accounting be placed on the SAG-AFTRA website, along with the “Tri Guild” accounting SAG provided to PKF, so that the 170,000 American actors you represent – and the much larger number you don’t represent – can follow and direct the pathway of their royalties, this time to the correct bank accounts, so we can once again trust our union, and the pursuit of justice in the US of A.
The present accounting says SAG collected $20,700,584 in foreign royalties since “inception,” and sent out $9,847,041 to members, charging ‘administrative fees” of $2,021,200 and that SAG’s earned $1,322,812 – but not paid any of it to members, and there is of course no mention of non-members or what money went to them.
There is no mention of the date of this “inception” either.
WGA now says it paid out $200,000,000 in its “foreign levy program”, the DGA says $42,000,000 – but the largest union, with the actors being the highest paid on almost every set -- only sends out $9m? Charges 2m to administer? Since “inception.” – No mention of when that is.
You see? -- Something is radically amiss, not on the side of the actors.
The attached contract shows that the guild started collecting in 2002 and it names the splitters, and they have been accounting for the money, and we need to see the “Tri Guild” audit and we need a transparent accounting from the home of SAG-AFTRA.
It is never good to take other peoples’ money, and it is never the wrong time to do the right thing.
As ever with sweet justice, to paraphrase Yeats about love, “one cannot begin it too soon.”
Louis Reeko Meserole
SAG-AFTRA represents more than 165,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA members are the faces and voices that are lied to on a daily basses and stolen from and abused by upper Management as CEO of our own likeness and Share Holders in or own Union, I say we stand up for our rights and Demand Accountability. 7 years 3 Unions, SAG WGA DGA, in major Lawsuits and all they ask for was an accounting, and all they got was one page sheet on the WGA website with some bullshit numbers and a disclaimer down at the bottom saying this is bullshit and can’t be used. When your Union or Corp. spends Millions every year to greedy Lawyers defending the right to hide everything, you have ask why, well the next time you get one of their pissy ass pink foreign royalty checks for penny’s, you can be assured upper Management is living large and Hiding all they can. As you can see now with the merger they own the News, so if there is any real news it;s got to be http//:Unitedscreenactorscommittee.net
Rock ON Dennis
Subject: Re: SAG-AFTRA Election Campaign Literature
The one year that I didn’t have enough new earnings under SAG Contracts, even before the Merger, most of my earnings were under AFTRA Contract; and even as a Retired person, collecting a SAG Pension, far superior to that of an AFTRA Pension; I still have to have something like $12K in new earnings to qualify for SAG Major Medical, or PLAN 1, or Plan A; whatever it’s called; but, the good thing for me and for Ursula, is that because of age, if we fail to qualify for Major Medical, for lack of new earnings, we simply fall over to Part B of Social Security; which is not bad, and doesn’t cost too much. It’s still nowhere as good as SAG Medical, but far better than AFTRA; which does indeed; “suck”. Then, on any given year that we do have sufficient new earnings, we shift back to SAG Coverage, where we’ve been, yet again, for the last several years.
Membership First; is dedicated to preserve the Strength and Quality of our Health Plan; and though they lack a governing Majority; they would if they could; float a referendum asking the membership of Actors only, to vote on their choice of which contract they want to work under, and what Collective Bargaining unit they want to represent them as a Union; and of, course, if such a referendum was allowed and taken to a vote, by this time, after the Merger; we’re confident that Actors would choose the SAG Contract terms and conditions, and of course; the SAG Health Plan.
It’s a political ploy that should have been done, and could have been done, long before this last Merger movement began in earnest. We could have pulled it off then. Scott Wilson and I, tried to make that happen. No one had the foresight to see that through. Everybody was being pressured by the poaching of SAG Contracts, by AFTRA; which was manipulated to force a Merger to stop the bleeding of contracts being stolen by AFTRA; and they thought a Merger would solve the problem
16 Mergers from the time of Walter Pidgeon; back in the 40’s; had been attempted and failed, because; the Pension and Health Plans could never be merged, and they still can’t. The entire formula of the two are so contrary and disparate; that there is no way to legally merge the plans. So, what do they do?
They now try to create a new SAG, AFTRA ONE UNION Contract; creating the need for a new SAG, AFTRA, ONE UNION Pension and Health Plan; which is even worse than the inferior AFTRA plan that we have now, because:
It is nascent, new, infantile, lacking monetary maturation. Lacking reserve and monetary capital upon which investment and interest can compound. There’s nothing to grow on or with, and the AFTRA plan has less reserve and capital to compound, as it is.
The only thing for certain, is that our reserves for health and retirement; are being compromised and threatened by the revenue we use to get from our contracts that is no longer there; and that is why 16 previous Merger attempts; 4 in my time, were defeated for good cause. People who understood that simple logic and dilemma, voted it down. We got hoodwinked and AFTRA which is controlled in Convention by the power of the Broadcasters who are there to act in the interest of the Corporations that rule over us, will continue to diminish who we are.
In the first place; a union like AGMA; the American Guild of Musical Artist’s; would never allow, and therefore, defeated many attempts of Merger; takeover is really what it is; because; as Concert Musicians, Conductors, Opera Singers, Philharmonic Artists; no one does what they do. They retain their speciality in Art that no one else does. We as Actors, and we never should have taken on Background performers, because that’s reductive to who we are; but real working Actors are very special. No one else does what we do. Broadcasters, Disc Jockeys, Weatherman, Critics, all those many categories that made up AFTRA; have different needs and different issues from Actors; and to relinquish all power and control to an inferior class of performers, is masochistic; and that’s what we’ve done.
So, the only possible resolution would be to disenfranchise, which SAG once did, back in the 40’s; but, to disenfranchise, and form a new union for Actors only.
It would be very difficult, but there are legal channels for doing it, and if Membership First, ever found themselves in the majority again, they would at least attempt it.
If we continue to go as we’re going, we can only decline, and that’s not only sad but life threatening to the Health and Welfare of members with a family and career to an actor who can no longer make a living on what will become the inferior SAG, AFTRA, One Union Contract. The Residuals have been compromised by anything approaching AFTRA terms and conditions; and with Residuals representing 50% percent of our earnings as an average, taking in good years and bad years, most of us depend on Residuals, which have been reduced since the Merger, and will continue to go downhill with what is called “Move Over” of Broadcast to Streaming. The intention of Management, is to eliminate Residuals through Technology. You can still Google Peter Chernin’s declarations when he was head of 20thCentury Fox; and we were negotiating our contract about 5 or 6 years ago. Chernin flat out said, the day was designed when Residuals would be extinct.
Membership First, for all their inadequacies, are in favor of what I’m in favor of, and against everything I’m not in favor of. They need more strength, more power, better leaders, but they’ve held true to the original purposes of the union, and their opposition, Unite For Strength; represent everything intended to destroy the principals of SAG, and create some kind of a mutant hybrid. They are, we are, a microcosm of our Federal Government. We’re in constant gridlock over rampant partisanship, runaway egoism, irrational exuberance which is probably the best quality we have in our leadership, and that’s a quality that destroys. It’s all bad. We need a revolution, just as the country does, and might get someday if we continue to deprive people of their basic needs.
That’s just a Primer course on why I think Membership First deserves your vote.
William Richert and SAG TRUTHS telling the Truth.
The SAG Staff and the SAG Health Staff and the SAG Trustees need to all be replaced
Thursday 8:27pm Sept 2015
What do you know about this? 2002 AFTRA Pension and Welfare had to pay out $8.5 million in a lawsuit which claimed that AFTRA Trustees were not acting in the interests of the membership.
Who were the attorneys? Who brought the lawsuit?
Don't know who the attorneys were, but the settlement anyhow is a blockage however contrived, and the lawyers all got paid out of some fund no doubt. I had tons of research for some letters I wrote in 2002 but it's been buried under tons more from the years of litigation about the foreign levies. But the criminals are all connected, and they are criminals, in various guises in different offices of different unions, but the "sisters" are connected via law firms under their skins, a way to spread money around gotten from millions pilfered from actors writers and directors, but you know all this. Sorry I don't know the lawyers, I'm preparing a new advance on my "own" class action RICHERT VS WGAw and also with Dennis Hayden getting ready to demand the SAG board act on its duty to unseal the SAG foreign levy records dating prior to 2011 -- when the thousands of SAG members might actually have earned royalties from their work. Do have much more to post on all this but after 10 years in the courtroom I'm also trying to finish some book deadlines -- anyhow it would be good to know what was in that settlement, but the real venues lie in the administrations of David White and Duncan Crabtree-Ireland and how they got into office and what they do and how much they have paid Bob Bush's law firm, for what coverups in the court of Judge West. The records have got to be unsealed. Thanks for the question.
I was on the SAG Board in the 80s and have first hand knowledge how Member's money was spent to give perks especially to the Executive Board Members and poor record keeping that gave leaving Staff more money than they deserved. Also money was given to individual "famous" actors to fight legal battles that only applied to themselves or pension and health plans given to actors who did not qualify
11 hours ago
WGA, SAG and DGA, all non-profits with unpaid board members, cloak themselves in the same mantle corporations do, saying it's all within the needs of running their show. And it is their show, theirs alone, none of their acts, or almost none since these "Guilds" were formed, benefit the "Members," who are really signed-up chattel to whatever the "Administration" wants to do. When the SAG lawyers attempted to take our indie film THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK -- as they have taken hundreds of others on bogus claims, stealing true artists work and the negatives of movies financed with no help from SAG -- where did those hundreds-plus millions SAG is "holding" come from? From indie movie makers, put out of business, prevented from future films that might hire actors and give them opportunities -- all quashed by SAG. David White and Duncan Crabtree Ireland were put into place by Bop Pisano and check all their ties to Universal and other studios -- White was a "consultant" to the majors when we were in court protesting the payback to studios from the WGA DGA and SAG of up to 92% of the actors money -- and while we were in court White was partner with Marc Dreir, sent to jail for almost as long as Madoff, but David White, installed as Executive Director back at SAG when Drier went to prison, remains a ringer for the studios, and SAG still has refused to take the seal off the records of money owed to actors, stolen from them for decades, along with money for writers and directors -- oh, did I say that David got his job from Bob Bush in an afternoon when the board was absent, except for a few invitees from Bush and White -- so there was never any kind of "Democracy" and the Board of Trustees at the Pension and Welfare billion-dollar operation are still controlled by White and Bush and Crabtree-Ireland. What has any of this to do with the art of acting? Where every single actor is as much an "entrepreneur" as David White ever was. We should brand and copyright and trademark each and every actor -- maybe -- to show that we are completely different and unique, and cannot be robbed forever, or put out of work forever, or have our shows knocked out -- like they did with the poor folks who wrote the soaps for all those decades -- these "Executive Directors" are out for themselves alone and are anathema to art and artists of all and any kind. Handcuff them, jail them, they are thieves, period, like: isn't it obvious and blatant? As for that man who made deal with health care providers for members in the millions, and his "poor record keeping" -- yeah, right -- couldn't get away with that too many other places -- OF COURSE, you dear person, Mr. Dow was acting in conflict of interest making pension-welfare deals with a company he was sleeping with. "Sue me" is what David White and Duncan say, basically -- and then the lawyers all get paid off, and for the press, mostly scared of union members themselves, It's all union pillow talk, but the characters in the bedroom are tyrannical sisters sleeping with their brothers at the studios, and fuck them all, I say, in the vernacular, early on Sunday, when I should be at the pool at the Bev Hils hotel, maybe…but that ain't like it was, either.
10 hours ago
You have said it all...
DECLARATION OF DENNIS HAYDEN in support of William Richert's motion to dismiss Neville Johnson as class attorney, to replace Neville Johnson with a new attorney, and to apply the rights of plaintiffs in the WILLIAM RICHERT VS WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA WEST, INC. to the class action plaintiffs in the OSMOND VS SAG settlement, using common protections under labor’s Federal Section 301, since the lawyers are the same, the money flows from the same foreign collecting societies, the "audit" makes no sense because it is missing most of the years (decades) before 2010 when actors were earning high foreign royalties.
We ask for return of the SAG actors' money used to pay both Neville Johnson and Paul Kiesel which was not spent to get a true accounting for the class and they did not remove the seal from the SAG records as they were paid to do, which was required by Judge West.
DEPOSITONS TAKEN IN SAG CASE. 0.
DEPOSITONS TAKEN IN DGA CASE 0.
DEPOSITIONS TAKEN IN WGA CASE 3.
TRANSPARENT BENEFITS TO 250,000 CLIENTS: 0
AMOUNT PAID LAWYERS BY CLASS: SAG, $315,000 DGA $399.000, WGA $1,600,000
Worse than an insult, it is the SAG-AFTRA actors' own money that currently is being spent to pay off lawyers at Federal Court, hired by SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard and Executive Director David White under the counsel of Robert Hadl; our own royalties that were sent from Europe and Mexico and other places intended for U.S. actors – it is a societal outrage that artists money is being used pay giant fees to lawyers and their huge law firms for concealing foreign levy records and money due to actors.
The attorneys for the SAG-AFTRA under the direction of Robert Hadl and Bob Bush have interfered with and blocked our attempts to get a real audit. The lawyers declaration that Judge Wiley Jr. signed off on the settlements misled federal Judge Emanuel Real by stating that the SAG-AFTRA had completely complied with the complex court-supervised settlement. With SAG complicit in a cover-up, true facts were concealed from Judge Wiley Jr. in 2 hearings; it was clear from Judge West in his bench request in 2012 that accounting records belonging to the class needed to be released from court seal by a lawyer's motion. Judge West told Neville Johnson "carry the burden" on behalf of his clients to remove from court seal the records relating directly to the SAG foreign levy monies.
Before disappearing from the class action of which I am a member, Neville Johnson told the court there was "fraud" within SAG relating to the foreign royalties. It appears to me that he collaborated with the wishes of the defendant when he allowed the settlement to continue concealing his knowledge of fraud, exposing hundreds of thousands of actors to ongoing fraud.
FROM THE ‘ED ASNER’ COMPLAINT TO U.S. FEDERAL JUDGE FILED BY 16 CREDITED ACTORS : “Neville Johnson and his partners, both lawyers for the plaintiff and lawyers for the defense, appear to have collaborated on a Class Action Settlement and Judgment designed so that SAG-AFTRA could tell the FEDERAL Court exactly what it is saying now, namely that because of a settlement negotiated by Neville Johnson in the LA Superior Court -- but which was still being examined by Judge West in continuation when transferred to the court of Judge Wiley Jr. -- all of my rights to sue my Union for a full accounting and restitution of my own money withheld, have been lost.”
As per Class Action code as a layman would understand it, no class action should leave the clients worse off or more broke afterward than he/she was before. I have known and worked with William Richert over 30 years in film and politics.
I ask the court to allow the SAG settlement the same rights as in the WGA settlement.
BACKGROUND AS CLASS MEMBER:
.1.) I have been a working actor since 1982 and co-starred in THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK; TV series include Who’s The Boss, Falcon Crest, Sisters, The Marshal, Team Knight Rider; the popular Die Hard films, Another 48 Hours as well as Action Jackson, One Man Army (Kick and Fury), Race to Witch Mountain, Sniper 2, Wild Bill, and almost 60 other credits.