Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Why is Robert Sammis Hiding?

Yet, another email to Santa Monica College's Vice-President of Planning and Development, Robert Sammis, regarding our long-standing requests for public records. I have not heard back from him and it appears that he is avoiding dealing with this issue as well as the removal of the wrongful hold placed on my SMC enrollment. Well, he can't hide forever.

-- Des Manttari,
Editor-in-Chief,
Phoenix Genesis

----------------YET ANOTHER EMAIL TO SAMMIS--------------

November 22, 2005

ATTENTION: ROBERT SAMMIS
VP, PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT, SANTA MONICA COLLEGE


VIA EMAIL


RE: PUBLIC RECORDS INSPECTION AND COPIES AND REMOVAL OF ENROLLMENT HOLD

Dear Mr. Sammis,

I have not heard back from you regarding my last email. In this email, I requested 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 utilized 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 advisor 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. By the way, the fact that Judith Penchansky served at one time in 1999 on the Academy's Administration and that a "disciplinary" hold has now been placed on my Santa Monica College current enrollment seems a bit suspicious to say the least. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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 Commission of the States (ECS) in Denver, Colorado?

9. 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 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.

10. My wrongful and retaliatory "disciplinary" hold has yet to be removed from my SMC enrollments for Winter and Spring Semesters 2006. I still contend that this hold is in violation of my constitutional rights under the California Public Records Act as well as my rights to free speech and free press. I should be able to inspect files of vital public interest at SMC, redress my grievances for an allegedly copyright infringement against me by and through the school, and write freely about my CPRA requests without fear of retaliation on the part of SMC's administration. My classes are filling up due to limited course offerings and semester after semester of course cancellations, so I request that this hold be removed immediately.

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.


Thank you for your prompt attention to the foregoing.

Very Truly Yours,
Des Manttari /s/


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