Thursday, June 12, 2008

The WCAL Outrage
At Least One Judge Won't Stand For It

Congratulations to Michael McNabb.

He is one of those people for whom I have the utmost respect because he quietly goes about his work of pointing out aberrant behavior of powerful people, such as educational administrators and politicians.

Who knows whether they act from stupidity, malice, or hubris. One such situation is the despicable way that administrators at St. Olaf treated loyal listeners and supporters of WCAL, a classical music station with a soul, at least prior to the sale of the station to the Klingon Empire.

City Pages notes Mr. McNabb's recent victory:

Judge in WCAL case to AG's office: Shame on you!

After many months of fact-finding, Rice County Judge Gerald Wolf issued an order on Tuesday lambasting the sale of WCAL in the harshest of terms. After implicitly calling the sale illegal, Judge Wolf unleashed his fury on the Attorney General's office, which is bound by law as the watchdog for all charitable trusts in the state.

Finding in unambiguous terms that WCAL was indeed a charitable trust, Judge Wolf declared himself "mystified" as to why the AG's office didn't intervene in the sale when it was legally required to do so. While Wolf pointed out that the shameful inaction occurred on the watch of then-AG Mike Hatch, he insisted that the beleaguered Lori Swanson's office nonetheless "is tainted with this lapse of duty."

The ruling was sweet vindication for Michael McNabb, the understated but unrelenting Burnsville attorney who has poured in hundreds of donated hours over nearly four years to singlehandedly fight the sale in court. Until now, it was easy to think McNabb, for all the logic on his side--how could the 80-year-old station not, by any rational standard, be a charitable trust?--was howling at the moon. But in a ruling peppered with genuine anger, Judge Wolf praised McNabb's efforts. SaveWCAL, the judge wrote, has been "the only watchdog looking out for the interests of the trust."

We know what you're wondering: Will the school have to cough up $10 million to seed a new radio station? We'll give the last word to the judge: "Now, the Court is faced with a plethora of issues to unravel in the aftermath of St. Olaf's unapproved sale of WCAL and the Minnesota Attorney General's Office's breach of its duties in this case."

In other words, don't touch that dial.

Congratulations, Mr. McNabb, you should be very, very proud.


Anonymous said...

Hooray for WCAL. Fingers crossed that they and Mr. McNabb can afford to take MPR to court to recover donors' stolen property.

Anonymous said...

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