SAGA OF POST 1993 HAF GOING
Vera Perrott Vietor created HAF to serve the community in her will in 1972. It was run as per Vera's intentions through its first 18 years (to 1992) under its first Executive Director Ellen Dusick and became a force on the North Coast, a Santa Claus like `sacred cow'. Since 1993, under the Pennekamp watch, Vera's watchdogs allege HAF has turned into a `wolf in sheep's clothing', invading principal, destroying the public's Lynn Vietor Nature Preserve, and becoming a high overhead, high cost of giving, self serving empire building operation duping the North Coast public, especially donors. That is the thumbnail message of this memo. If you care about the local North Coast Community, nature, the rule of law, please read on.
A) EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
If you care about Humboldt County, please read on for the more mundane details and factual support for the Perrott watchdogs allegations above.
B) THUMBNAIL RECAP OF HAF HISTORY
1) 1972-1992. Third generation Humboldt pioneer family member Vera Perrott
Vietor created the Nature Reserve, San Francisco bank Principal Trust,
and HAF to benefit her beloved North Coast and its public in her 1972
will. Probate was completed and HAF came into being in 1974. The first
HAF Executive Director was Ellen Dusick, formerly secretary to Vera's
lawyer, Henderson, who had died by 1974 during Vera's will probate. Ellen
served as Executive Director of HAF for 18 years into 1992. She knew Vera,
her will, her clear nature loving intent, and Ms Dusick (and the then
HAF Board Of Governors) ran HAF as Vera had intended and mandated. Early
HAF (first 18 years) was a low overhead Foundation truly serving the North
Coast public, while meticulously respecting the public's Nature Preserve
and the `historic and architectural' importance of the Vietor residence,
designed in 1941 by Internationally famous Portland Oregon architect John
Yeon. The Vietor's residence was one of four of Yeon's works which were
exhibited photographically at the New York Museum of Modern Art in the
early 1940's alongside works of Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as being featured
in many popular `home & garden' magazines of the day. Through 1992,
HAF guarded the 14.3 acres and residence `native and unspoiled' as Vera
had clearly and unequivocally mandated. Read
2) 1993 to present-Conservative and `will-and-trust-document' respecting Ellen Dusick was replaced as HAF's Executive Director in 1993 by Peter Pennekamp, during whose current watch HAF has embarked on policies and activities the Perrotts allege completely disregard the `letter and spirit' (mandates) of Vera's will and its somber fiduciary responsibilities, in HAF's post 1993 announced `rethought mission' era to 'grow the foundation', (the Perrotts alleged to con donors) which equates to among other things a complete departure from Vera's intent, as the Perrotts allege:
C) TIMELINE OF POST 1993 HAF AND WFB CHICANERY
In its first 18 years, Ellen Dusick never approached the court to `clarify
or change' the Trust. Pennekamp and a new Board of Governors evolved 1993
2) Circa 1994 - Scrapped the seven member HAF Board of governors elected by independent institutions for HAF's in-house selected board of directors, a breach of Vera's will and trust without court or California Attorney General's knowledge or approval. The Perrotts allege this change lets HAF pack the board with those amenable to the high overhead and self serving post 1993 `rethought mission' version of HAF that makes a mockery of Vera's 1972 will in founding the public's Nature Preserve, SF Principal Trust, and HAF. See `Board of Governors-Appointment' from 1972 TRUST DECLARATION-HAF document.
3) 1995, without Court or California Attorney General's knowledge or approval (but what the Perrotts allege was a duplicitous 1994 building permit application), completely disregarding Vera's will to keep the public's Nature Preserve `native and unspoiled', HAF destroyed much of the John Yeon landscaping and public's Lynn Vietor Nature Preserve to the north of the Vietor residence in a `chain - sawing - and - paving - over' fiasco financed by invaded Trust principal. This to put in a parking lot and devastate the architecturally significant Vietor residence to accommodate what the Perrotts allege and knowledgeable observers see as an 'empire building' HAF's self-serving, ballooning staff living high off 'philanthropic' money. See Nature Preserve 1941 Vs Now.
4) 1996, with what the Perrotts allege as more spurious and duplicitous arguments violating Vera's will, HAF inveigled the Court to approve a `total return policy', an euphemism for bypassing or violating Vera's proscription on HAF from invading Vera's San Francisco Trust principal for day-to-day operations (they were to have access only to income). Was this more money for the North Coast public? No, more probably it was first and foremost to fund HAF's post 1993 ballooning empire building bureaucracy and overhead costs out of Vera's embargoed SF principal trust.
5) 1999 HAF petitioned the Court to build the 4000 square foot office expansion and 65 slot parking lot INSIDE the public's Lynn Vietor Nature Preserve. This the Perrotts allege is an egregious violation of Vera's will mandating that the 14.3 acre property be husbanded `native and unspoiled', that not even a `picnic table, barbecue pit' could be installed within the 14.3 acre property. The total $1.3 million new building cost was to be funded 100% out of Vera's invaded San Francisco trust principal plus engineering legal and other 'project' costs. This is what finally brought Vera's watchdog Perrotts out of their 27 year slumber, into their current last 21 months (as of March 2001) `snarling and barking' mode on Vera and the North Coast public's behalf.
6) Why didn't HAF move offsite to expand? HAF have satellite offices in Garberville and Crescent City. Try this on for size. When HAF took over as trustees of the land from WFB in 1994, HAF then conned WFB into giving HAF access to principal funding, argued: `HAF is now responsible for the land. The land is principle. HAF must have principal money to `maintain the property'. All this without court or California Attorney General's knowledge or approval (at the time) Maintain? Like the destruction done in 1995 and the `improvement' to the property announced in 1999 (i.e. the further destruction of the public's Nature Preserve). The Perrotts allege this was an egregious and duplicitous double thwarting of Vera's will;
7) Post 1993, HAF has built up a big overhead, has a resulting `high-cost-of-giving', while simultaneously duping the North Coast public donors, past donors and potential future donors with intentionally misleading references in their annual reports to a `less than 1% overhead' while HAF's annual IRS 990's clearly document that HAF's real `cost of giving' for the same year is some $0.71 to give away one dollar (link to 990's) vs. the less than a penny egregiously inferred. The Perrotts allege that HAF is currently `very agitated' with the `legal' delay in building the new building, as an impediment in the further increase in their staff, overhead, in HAF's ambitious empire building plans. Potential HAF donors might well take note, beware.
D) PERROTT WATCHDOG'S INTENT
What do Vera's Perrott Watchdogs really want? HAF encourage rumors that the `greedy and materialistic' five Perrott nieces and nephews just want to destroy HAF and leave town with all Vera's (approximately $8 million) trust money for a great loss to the North Coast community. This is like the pot calling the kettle black. But in Court pleading documents in Eureka and San Francisco Vera's watchdogs are very clear in their intent. They want to restore Vera's portion of HAF to what it was (through 1992-the Dusick era), what Vera intended it to be, and keep that `authentic' version of HAF going. They want to protect and conserve the public's Lynn Vietor Nature Preserve `native and unspoiled' as Vera clearly and unequivocally mandated. They want to restore the architecturally significant John Yeon designed residence, and apply for a National Registry Of Historic Places (or equal) listing for the public's 14.3 acre public's Lynn Vietor Nature Preserve and architecturally restored Vietor residence.
The Perrotts have meet with the University Of Oregon School Of Architecture (center of John Yeon's Internationally acclaimed architectural works) and Portland architect William Hawkins (a John Yeon protégé) to this end. The Perrotts want control (as an ongoing 501 c-3) of only Vera's some 20 % (in the $8 to $10 million range) of current HAF liquid assets plus the Vietor property. The post-1992 `rethought mission' version of HAF would be free to spin off and take a new 501-c-3 identity, for example the North Coast Foundation (NCF), with the bulk of the current HAF liquid assets, some 80% (or $40 million). NCF would have to move offsite and as far as the Perrotts are concerned (NCF;s now alerted `other-than-Vera' donors not withstanding), would be free to pursue their questionable activities outside Vera's mandates, but not with Vera's real property and money. This would give the North Coast a win-win, preservation of the historic Indianola site for the local public and humanity in general as Vera intended. It would give the North Coast the choice between a low overhead Foundation (Vera's resurrected pre-1993 version of HAF) vs. the new spun off `rethought mission' NCF competing for donors dollars and the opportunity to serve for the true benefit the North Coast area. The competition could only be healthy and beneficial to the North Coast community. The newly formed NCF might be less arrogant and condescending. Hopefully, they would employ honest and dedicated people who know what 'fiduciary responsibility' is.
E) APPEAL PROCESS
The Perrotts (on Vera's behalf) lost their San Francisco appeal (21 November 2000), on the same narrow issue of whether the Perrotts had `standing' or the right to question HAF in Court on Vera or her will's behalf, without any court scrutiny of HAF activities breaching Vera's will wherein she created the trust and HAF. Vera held trust bankers and lawyers in low esteem, with good reason it turns out. The specific breach of Vera's will, the invasion of principal, the destruction of the public's Lynn Vietor Nature Reserve and the architecturally significant Vietor (John Yeon) residence thus have never had their day in court. Now what the Perrotts and their attorneys allege is HAF chicanery risks never becoming known to the public permitting the post 1992 HAF subterfuge to continue and expand (until Vera's principal trust is wiped out). This as a result of HAF and WFB lawyers cowardly and mean spirited but successful efforts to gloss over their machinations in changing HAF into something the Perrotts allege is almost opposite of what Vera intended, by trying to reinvent Vera and her will in court to smokescreen their now exposed (alleged) post 1992 chicanery. Vera's idea was to benefit the North Coast community, not a duplicitous, spendthrift self serving impostor, duping Humboldt County's general public. Especially those of the public that have, or will in the future, make bequeaths and donations to HAF under HAF's current (post 1992) regime, HAF's `rethought mission'. The Perrotts filed a brief for California Supreme Court review on 2 January 2001. But the Court declined to review the case in mid February, 2001. The Perrotts will not abandon Vera and the community, they fight on. They do appreciate an 'enlightened' North Coast support to save the public's LYNN VIETOR NATURE PRESERVE.
This is ultimately a travesty not for the Perrotts, but for the North Coast. If the existing situation is as the Perrotts allege, and can not be righted in the courts, it must be addressed by a more informed and knowledgeable public, in the 'court' of North Coast public opinion. The Perrotts have spent 22 months (as of July 2001, HAF broke ground) and six figures in legal costs to expose the chicanery, and save the public's Lynn Vietor Nature Preserve from further destruction. They can only hope that their efforts in now going public leads to the truth of HAF's alleged betrayal of Vera's intent becoming public, so that the North Coast public can become aware of what is afoot, start asking questions, and have an opportunity to make their own informed judgments on HAF activities, even participate actively in saving their public's Lynn Vietor Nature Preserve. For starters, interested North Coasters should ask for the annual IRS 990's from HAF, and compare the 990's with what the Perrotts allege is smoke screening `for public consumption' annual HAF reports as to HAF's real `cost of giving' (empire building). Prospective donors, especially those that have named HAF in their will (under what the Perrotts now allege are false pretenses) might come to reconsider that decision.