Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sammis Crawls Out of the Woodwork

Finally, after another email to Santa Monica College VP Robert Sammis today, he finally responds. Perhaps it helped that I copied that email to Defendants Julie Yarrish and Pat Green as well as Dean Katharine Muller and that I took the time to drop by at school. In any event, here's our recent correspondence regarding SMC's records under the California Public Records Act.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2005: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

---------------MY EMAIL TO ROBERT SAMMIS----------------

NOVEMBER 29, 2005

Dear Mr. Sammis,

This is a confirmation that this email does come from me, Des Manttari. I stopped by AET today to see if you were in and Andrea Hyman confirmed that you have been out all week. I wanted to make sure that my emails were in fact going to you as well. I hope you are recovering from your knee injury and that we can pick up where we left off once you return next week.

As to the spreadsheet, I have not sent one yet. Since there are 5 outstanding written requests for inspection and copies of records and many records which are long overdue, I do not want to overwhelm you at this point with a spreadsheet. Rather, let's start with the itemization as set forth in my last email, which I include here for your reference, and try to resolve these documents first and foremost. Once these matters are resolved, I can bring you up to speed with other outstanding requests. I have been very patient at this point and am doing my best to work with you. So, let's do what we can and work from there as a foundation for future cooperation. As to my enrollment hold, I have resolved this matter to my satisfaction, so you can disregard my previous emails regarding this issue.

Very Truly Yours,
Des Manttari /s/

From: "Robert S" sammis_robert@smc.edu
Reply-To: sammis_robert@smc.edu
Subject: Re: My Third Email Request re Public Records
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 22:04:05 +0000 GMT

Ms. Manttari:

I am assuming that this email is coming from you. I do not recognize the name on the email address. Please confirm that the attached message is from you.

I am still not back to work due to my knee injury and will not be returning until sometime next week. I do not recall seeing an email from you regarding the spread sheet you said you would compose listing those documents that you believe you have not received and/or still want to inspect. If you did send me such a document please send it to me again. I will attempt to adress your issues the best tbat I can while I am recovering.

Robert Sammis

>-----Original Message----->
From: "Phoenix Genesis"
Date: Tue, 29 Nov 2005 11:45:48
Subject: My Third Email Request re Public Records

November 29, 2005

Dear Mr. Sammis,

I have not heard back from you regarding my last two emails. It has been over a week and I haven't been able to begin inspection of files. In this email, I again request the following:

1. When we could meet to begin inspection of files under the CPRA. As you know, our original written request for inspection was on or about July 15, 2005. Despite repeated empty promises to avoid going to Court Ex Parte by you and your attorney, Joshua Morrison, we have not been given an opportunity for inspection of any files to date. The eCollege file that we allegedly inspected was not freely turned over to either me or my attorney, Christopher Field. Instead, we stood there while one of your SMC employees rifled through the file. Again, I ask you formally in writing, when we will be allowed inspection? As you are well aware, under the California Public Records Act (CPRA), access to the Santa Monica College's District files should have been immediate and during normal business hours. Somehow, no time sees to be convenient and we have suffered through endless dilatory tactics and excuse and excuse.

2. The Studio Animatics / Animatics contract from 2000 (as referenced in the SMC Board of Trustee minutes) and supporting documentation including bills and receipts is long outstanding. When do we expect to obtain this information? I find that it is a conflict of interest that Jim Keeshen, under the thin veil of a non-existent company (at least according to any searches performed in Norwalk for DBAs and under any Secretary of State's business portal for corporations and limited partnerships) was able to secure consultant contracts for Santa Monica College when he signed on those contracts that he was not a district employee when in fact he was a district employee and Chairman of AET. Isn't this an ethical conflict of interest? Is this a reason that this contract and the supporting document for alleged work rendered is not forthcoming? Was this work not completed in the same fashion that Professor Keeshen's mandatory sabbatical summary report was not filed?

3. Again, we requested the sabbatical application / proposal for Professor Jim Keeshen for the alleged sabbatical he undertook with Klasky/Csupo in Fall Semester 2003. As I previously indicated to you, other professors make their sabbatical applications and reports available online, so I contend that this document is not confidential and, in fact, its disclosure is vital to the public's right to know where our public funds are being spent and by whom. Is it that Jim Keeshen was not required to file a sabbatical application and rather than his sabbatical being something which was to allegedly benefit the school, it was little more than a paid semester-long vacation for him with a nice rise in salary increase? If this is the case, then I contend that this was a misuse of district funds and that any money paid for this sabbatical including salary, should be repaid to the district and used on something which will actually benefit the SMC community.

4. The Master Services and License Agreement with eCollege is also outstanding. Despite my following through and providing you with this information, I still have not obtained this public record. Does SMC have such an inadequate filing system to account for its public expenditures or are we again merely being delayed for no good reason other than your refusal to comply with the law under the CPRA?

5. As to the documents allegedly produced by you and which were submitted to the attention of Dean Katharine Muller pertaining to the Academy of Entertainment and Technology (AET), it was a sad case of allegedly complying with the CPRA. I have yet to receive any documentation regarding the Mary Pickford scholarship endowment to and for the benefits of the Academy students. I have not been given any contact information for the companies which allegedly hired and ultiized AET students as interns.

6. I have received NO documentation pertaining to invoices and bills concerning expenditures at the Academy since its inception in 1997 and to the present. As you are well aware, Professor Jim Keeshen as the original chairman of the Academy, was to have "advise[d] on hardware/software purchases" for AET. Perhaps you can utilize him to locate these documents or at least give you an itemization as to what hardware and software was purchased under his chairmanship. Additionally, I am informed and believe and thereon allege that Joan Abrahamson, as advisory to the Academy, was also in charge of securing the computer purchases by and through Dell Computers. Perhaps you can contact her and see where these invoices were retained. At it stands, we have received no documentation at all.

7. I have not received any documentation regarding the $1.25 million provided from then Governor Pete Wilson as an infusion of limited state funds to the Academy to help launch its success. I am a bit mystified where this large amount of money vaporized to and why there is no accountability to the public. Perhaps again you can ask either Katharine Muller, Jim Keeshen, or Joan Abrahamson, all in their respective positions of guardians of our AET educational center, where this money went and where the documentation is held along with the crucial itemization of expenditures and the bills and receipts to justify the money spent. In 1999, Marilyn Simons is listed as an Administrative Assistant for AET. Perhaps you could ask her. Even Judith Penchansky is listed as one of the "Stewart Street" Administration during this same period. Perhaps you could ask her where some of AET's money went. As you are well aware, she is also a named defendant under our CPRA lawsuit for failure to turn over documents belonging to Jim Keeshen for his work done as a consultant.

8. Curiously enough, Brooks/Flemming Associates Limited Liability Corporation (BFA/LLC) served on the Academy's Advisory Board (as per your SMC website on or about June 19, 1997 and listed again erroneously under Brooks/Fleming Associates on your SMC website on or about January 16, 1999) while also receiving a consultant contract with SMC on or about January 8, 2001 under the guise of providing "intensive multimedia training to staff." We have sought this contract for many months yet have not received any documentation including the supporting bills and receipts.

9. We have received the wrong year for the Middle School Grant for AET which we received. I am also a bit curious, to say the least, why Piedad Robertson authorized this grant for 2005 in March 2005 when she had already resigned in January 2005 and was safely tucked away as head of the Education Commissions (ECS) for the States in Denver, Colorado?

10. As to the Academy employee information, the small printouts we received for AET staff members such as Gloria Mottler, Tim Ryan, Stu Seldon, and Brant Looney are insufficient. When will be receive more substantial documentation? You contend that Brant Looney was an employee for SMC and not a consultant, and due to that reason, you have no consultant contracts to provide us. Yet, Brant Looney did in fact receive district funds as a consultant in July 6, 1998 and again in January 11, 1999 pursuant to documentation from the Board of Trustees. Please indicate when we shall receive these consulting contracts.

11. I have not received sufficient documentation by and between the California Postsecondary Education Commission and SMC, specifically the proposal submitted to the CPEC by SMC regarding its status as an educational institution. I know both Piedad Robertson and Rocky Young were involved in submitting this proposal, so perhaps you can contact them regarding where these files are housed.

12. We have yet to receive the enrollment figures for both full and part time students, broken down per semester, for the Academy of Entertainment & Technology. Again, these are long overdue and I would like to know when we can expect this public information.

13. I have not heard back from you regarding the two outstanding requests, one to Julie Yarrish and one to Pat Green, both dated October 24, 2005. When should I inspect inspection and copies of these files?

To repeat myself, this is not an exhaustive list of public records outstanding to us, yet an overview of highlighted documents which are outstanding. I reserve the right to amend this request in the future with other documents that we still have not yet obtained. Should I not hear back from you, I am to assume that you do not attend to comply, despite many broken promises of compliance and that my attorneys should move Ex Parte in this matter at their earliest convenience.

Thank you for your prompt attention to the foregoing.

Very Truly Yours,
Des Manttari /s/

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