MAC Board Meeting, Something Rotten In Mendo?

05/11/2016 4:30 PM

Derek Hoyle

MAC_LogoMy afternoon started with a phone call from Terry at Mendocino TV, he was to shoot the Mendocino Art Center (MAC) Board meeting, but had a conflict, and asked me to cover it (Channel D Productions). I agreed, figuring it would be another rather mundane board meeting, but I was very mistaken, it turned into much more than that.

As I was setting up my video gear, various Board members were commenting amongst themselves about “TV” being in the room, and vis-a-vis that stilted banter, it appeared to me that a couple of them were uncomfortable with that, so I introduced myself as Derek from Channel D NEWS, an independent producer, and that the video would be available on the Mendocino TV website.

Some Board members were not prompt, and the meeting started late, at 4:41 PM, with two Board members absent. That late member arrived shortly after the meeting was started, I hesitate to say, “called to order”, as nothing like that occurred, it was all very casual, which set the tone for the rest of the meeting.

I’ll let the unedited video speak for itself, but I do want to point out some things to look for while you’re viewing it.

The members of the public consisted of several members of the Blacksmithing/open forge group, a reporter from the AVA, a concerned citizen, and myself, Channel D NEWS.

Watch the Board not approve the previous minutes or treasurer’s report, without explanation, therefore denying MAC members and the public, timely access to vital information.

Observe how during the public comment time, Board President, John Cornacchia interrupts speakers during their allotted three minutes, and challenges them, in what appeared to me, as crude attempts at intimidation against speaking out with their issues.

Also notice how Board Vice President, Patrick “Rick” Keller starts in with his own clear attempts at intimidation, couched under the seemingly innocent “Are you a MAC member?” question, and then he continued with a canard about how “we need more members… etc. “. I saw that as totally inappropriate behavior for a Board member during public comments.

These two Board members managed to alienate every member of the public in the room by the time they were finished with us, and then Board President, John Cornacchia abruptly adjourned the meeting because, I believe, Scott Peterson was asking the Board some relevant and quite serious questions about MAC financial records.

Directly after the meeting ended, I objected that the Board didn’t take all Public Comments, so I spoke my piece, while objecting to the meeting being shut down in such a rude manner.

After the meeting ended,  the Chair started accusing the members of the blacksmithing group of conspiring against the Board by bringing in a reporter and TV NEWS, and then I added that he was getting close to slander with those accusations.

Seconds later, while I was in a corner packing up my video gear, I couldn’t help but overhear the MAC Director, a Board member and another woman, sniping at the public in the audience, repeatedly saying we were psychotic and not in control of our facilities.

Needless to say I was disappointed that a Director and Board member of a nationally known organization would participate in such mean spirited and unprofessional commentary in full view of the public.

As the callow sniping was occurring, Board member Janis Porter approached me to ask about my comments, and how they could find information to be able to fix the problems that were brought up during public comments.

While we were talking, one of the newer Board members Donna Worster approached, also asking me for clarification of my comments, and expressed sincere interest in making things right in the spirit of legality.

I was quite impressed that they both willingly admitted ignorance in these matters, and wanted to rectify it, so I offered my suggestions as if I were dealing with fellow Board members potentially involved in criminal activity.

I stressed that they both may need to pay closer attention to the past dealings of the MAC Board, and to practice “due diligence”, otherwise they might become potentially liable for other Board members criminal malfeasance.

I stressed that I had no idea if criminal activity was occurring, but after seeing how the Board President, John Cornacchia, and Board Vice President, Patrick “Rick” Keller, acted so aggressively towards the public, that there may well be Board malfeasance occurring.

So perhaps they might act as if it may be, and to do their own research on Board matters, don’t blindly believe Board members who have been there for a long time, protect themselves by paying closer attention, and to seriously investigate any discrepancies they may uncover.

As I was speaking with these ladies, Board Vice President, Patrick “Rick” Keller, started interrupting from outside the conversation with rude comments directed at me, so I smiled and told him that I wasn’t talking to him, and that he was interrupting, but he continued, so I told him again that he was intruding, and he said he didn’t care what I thought.

Which I found rather strange, considering he went out of his way to come over to my general area and interrupt my conversation with the two Board members who seemed genuinely concerned about the information I brought fourth after the meeting had been arbitrarily and capriciously ended.

It was almost like he didn’t want me advising the two Board members to practice “due diligence”, and not to blindly trust long term Board members,  to do their own research, so they don’t find themselves in a legally comprising situation due to potential corruption of other Board members.

Board Vice President, Patrick “Rick” Keller continued interrupting with snarky provocations and insults until I waved him off again and he finally walked away with a final gratuitous insult.

As I was walking out of the building, my arms full of gear, and a group of three were talking, they were nearly blocking the way out, and I was walking around them when Mr. Cornacchia started in on me with more snarky comments.

The most provocative one I recall the most, was he asked me who I “was with”, and I replied I was Channel D NEWS, an independent producer, and before I could continue, saying, “and this will be up on Mendocino TV”, he raised his voice and yelled over me to say, “SO! You misrepresented yourself! You’re NOT from MCTV!”.

I believe before he could continue, his cognitive function caught up with his provocative fervor and he stopped that line of attack, having realized he’d made a faulty assumption, considering MCTV was dissolved by the Court some years ago, but make no mistake, it was clearly a rather aggressive verbal attack.

As I was walking away he told me to “Bring it on, bring it on, and then I can sue you”, and I admit I did turn to cheerfully respond that I was judgment proof, as a woman came running out of the former textile arts building, and firmly told me to leave the property.

My take on this meeting is that two or more Board members may have something to hide, I have no idea what it may be, but the casual way the meeting was conducted, coupled with the way members of the public and AVA reporter Malcolm Macdonald who were asking tough questions were treated, I’d wouldn’t be surprised if fraud of some sort, may have, or is, occurring at the MAC.

If I was a member of the MAC, I’d be paying close attention to the goings on at the MAC, going to the meetings, asking to see past Board meeting minutes and financial documents, scrutinizing them closely.

If they’re honest, it will help their image considerably, if they aren’t, well, then they need to be exposed and removed from the Board.

The next MAC Board meeting will be May 25 at 4:30, which is their regular time and date to meet.  As the President indicated in the video, they are pleased to have the public attend their meetings!

Edited by DH on May 13, 2016.

Editors Notes,
Mendocino TV has been reporting on various community entities for 4 years and has been exposed to a variety of reactions from the agencies being recorded. These reactions cover the gamut from being received as rock stars when we cover Timberwolves Football out of town to suspicion when we record KZYX Board of Directors meetings. The Mendocino Art Center has added a new chapter to this story when an independent Journalist representing Mendocino TV was asked to leave the property while reporting the news.
We hope that before their next meeting there will be print copies, available for the attendees, of these documents;

  • Agenda (hopefully posted at least 48 hrs before the meeting)
  • Minutes from the last meeting and the one previous, which hasn’t been approved yet
  • Financial/Treasurers report
  • Annual Budget
  • Supporting information regarding items on the agenda, hand-outs, flyers, etc.
  • Information on how to access and view public documents, 990s and supporting documents
  • total number of members
  • By Laws or Articles of  Incorporation

We believe transparency and dialog are crucial to good management of our community resources and affecting what change you can. Mendocino TV is planning on attending the next MAC Board meeting on May 25th at 4:30pm. We hope to stream it live!
May 14th 2016
Terrence Vaughn
Mendocino TV


  1. I watched the whole video, arggggg! I have to say, something shady is going on! I have taken classes and have been a member of the art center years ago. I don’t think I would consider being one again if that’s who’s on the board! I would love to see a ton of caring people( happy to be one ) show up and back up these few brave people that are calling the out!!! ( if they post when the next meeting will be!

    1. Most nonprofits this size post bios of management on their website. MAC only has head shots. But nothing for the new Administrative Director, Ms. Celia Shelden:

      Mr. Cornacchia gave her quite the buildup recently. For “years of managing corporate projects”. But didn’t say where. Or what kind of projects.

      So I looked at Linkedin. And got bupkis. Then onto ‘S’ at the Mendocino County Superior Court Case Index:

      An individual by the name of Celia Anne Shelden got popped for something in 2014. But that doesn’t mean it’s the same person. So I looked that name up at MobileMugs:

      Damn. Somebody with Ms. Shelden’s name and appearance got arrested on charges of felony marijuana cultivation and felony marijuana possession in June of 2013.

      I’m sure there’s a good explanation for this. But it’d be easily cleared up by posting her complete bio on the MAC website.

    2. Nothing shady is going on at the Art Center. That is strictly conjecture on your part and the part of Mr. Hoyle. Mr. Cornacchia (President of the Board) and Mr. Keller (V.P. of the Board) are volunteers who donated both time and money to the Art Center.

  2. The next meeting is on May 25 at 4:30. It says at the bottom of the article.

  3. On the video at 1:15, John Cornacchia accused me of threatening the Art Center. Which is untrue, and I denied it. Then Mr. Cornacchia essentially called me a liar. And I blew up, flipped him off and said “F*** you.” I apologize for that.

    These are the Art Center meeting minutes that were taken down years ago:

    Look at page two under “Bylaws Review”.

    “As legal advisor, David Alden stated because recent changes to MAC Bylaws were not made with the consent of its members we may have some difficulties if previous actions were challenged, however the Board’s judiciary responsibility is to act in the best interest of the organization regardless.”

    These are the bylaws that were taken down:

    Notice the clause for “Self Dealing Transactions” at Section 17. Also the comment on the cover page:

    “At 11/3/09, Minimum number of Board Members was reduced to 5.”

    Also notice the lack of any handwritten signature or notarization at the end.

    If such a reduction was made, it was supposed to be reported on the Form 990 for that year. Okay. Here’s the 2009 Form 990:

    Page 6, Item 4:

    “Did the organization make any changes to its organizational documents since the prior Form 990 was filed.”

    The answer was “Yes.” And detailed on Schedule O. Here it is:

    “Changed the organizational documents to require that two of the board members must be elected by the general membership.”

    i.e., Nothing about the — reduction — in board members.

    Also notice how cleverly this Form 990 was hidden from the Art Center’s board of directors in the fourth item down:

    “The 990 will be reviewed by the Finance Committee who will then provide a report to the board of directors.”

    So the board of directors could never see what was being hidden from them.

    And on page seven, see who the treasurer was? Patrick “Rick” Keller.

    The past thirteen years of MAC Form 990s can be found here:

    The next MAC Board Meeting is posted here:

    “The May board of directors meeting will be held as scheduled on Wednesday, May 25, at 4:30 pm.”

    If Mr. Cornacchia doesn’t like public outrage, then maybe he shouldn’t be doing this to a public charity.

    And if he considers information like this to be a threat, then maybe he shouldn’t be hiding it.

  4. It became apparent several years ago that the whole direction of the Mendocino Art Center had been completely removed from the hands of the community and placed into the control of self interested and elitist snobs.

    We stopped participating at that time.

    I see nothing has changed.

    1. It appears to me that the few people form the public who attended all are freeking nut cases! It is obvious that they all have some personal vendetta out against the Art Center. And the reporter seems like a serious dush bag. What a bunch of little entitled babies you all seem to be. Get a life!!

      1. It’s spelled ‘douchebag’ — not ‘dush bag’. And ‘George’ — not ‘Gorge’.

  5. I’m amazed but not surprised! It sounds like great material for a comedic murder mystery. Shoot me a line if you want to work on something like that.


    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Colorado Secretary of State, June 20, 1995
    Articles of Incorporation

    Denver Classical Guitar Society
    Patrick M. Keller, Registered Agent
    1601 Ivanhoe, Denver, CO 80220

    Members: Yes
    Provisions regarding the distribution of assets on dissolution are:
    The present director at the time of dissolution shall determine the distribution of assets.

    Signature of incorporator:
    Patrick M. Keller, President

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Colorado Secretary of State, August 7, 1997
    Restated Articles of Incorporation

    Denver Classical Guitar Society
    Patrick M. Keller, Registered Agent
    1601 Ivanhoe, Denver, CO 80220

    Members: No

    Patrick M. Keller, President

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Denver Post, February 9, 2000
    Newspaper Article

    Noted performers to tour state, thanks to Denver Guitar Society

    By Glenn Giffin, Denver Post Arts Critic

    The Denver Guitar Society boasts a membership of 160, which makes it a featherweight against the hundreds of Denver Art Museum members or subscribers of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
    But, as they say, it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog, and the society is fighting to make the guitar a living presence in Denver’s concert life. According to the group’s founder and president, Patrick M. Keller, this is accomplished on a shoestring, hope and prayer. The society’s major event this year will be a performance by the classical guitar duo of Julian Gray and Ronald Pearl, Saturday at Cameron Church.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Colorado Secretary of State, September 7, 2004

    Denver Classical Guitar Society
    Rochelle Ann Chartier, Registered Agent
    7881 Oak Street, Arvada, CO 80005

    Patrick M. Keller, President

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Mendocino Art Center Ballot, April 15, 2010:

Patrick has a BS in Fine Art from Illinois State University and a MA degree in U.S. History from the University of Chicago. He worked for 31 years as Petroleum Landman and Natural Gas Marketing Manager in Denver, Colorado. While in Denver he volunteered for 18 years at Samaritan House of Denver, a homeless shelter. He founded, and ran for ten years, the Denver Classical Guitar Society, a non-profit 501(c)(3). He wrote grants and brought young guitarists from all over the world to Denver in concert and has subsequently put together three such concerts in Mendocino. He left Denver in 2004 to live with his wife in Mendocino and write, paint and play music. As he is now mostly retired, he feels a need to put back into the Mendocino community, and believes the Mendocino Art Center to be a gem of great value deserving of effort and time.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Colorado Secretary of State, June 19, 2012
    Voluntary Dissolution

    Denver Classical Guitar Society
    Rochelle Ann Chartier, Registered Agent
    7881 Oak Street, Arvada, CO 80005

    Rochelle Ann Chartier, President

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    City of Denver, June 28, 2012
    Denver Property Taxation and Assessment System

    Property Search: 1601 Ivanhoe Street
    Seller(s): Patrick M. Keller, Kelly L. & Jason G. Snider
    Buyer(s): Kelly L. & Jason G. Snider
    Sale Price: $10

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –, May 19, 2016

    RESIDENT HISTORY for 1601 Ivanhoe St, Denver CO

    Patrick M Keller, ~67
    (303) 321-5690
    Status: Owner
    Occupation: Handlers, Equipment Cleaners, Helpers, and Laborers Occupations
    Education: High school graduate
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    National Center for Charitable Statistics, May 19, 2016

    Entity Search: Denver Classical Guitar Society, Denver Guitar Society
    Status: Active or Inactive
    Classification: 501(c)(3)
    Results: No Records Found

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Internal Revenue Service, May 19, 2016

    Entity Search: Denver Classical Guitar Society, Denver Guitar Society
    Status: Active or Inactive
    Classification: 501(c)(3)
    Results: No Records Found

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    1. Mr. Peterson, I think Mr. Carson probably knows how his own name is spelled.

    2. Mr. Peterson, what is your point? Mr. Keller started a classical guitar society in Denver, Colorado. He resigned as president in 2004 and moved to Mendocino.

  7. My point is that somebody provided false information on Mr. Keller’s ballot. He never founded a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. That was significant enough to look further. So I called the University of Chicago to verify the graduate degree claimed there. They directed me to To conduct a search. Which I did. I also searched for the degree claimed at Illinois State University. And just for confirmation, I searched the degree for Joe Deakins, an individual Mr. Keller ran against.

    What I found was very disappointing. Zero degrees for Mr. Keller. And one degree for Mr. Deakins. I don’t know where this false information came from. But it’s in a ballot with the Mendocino Art Center’s logo on it.

  8. Dear Ms. Cunha,

    I just found this on the MAC website:

    “Old Business: Rick Keller

    “• Rick Keller stated that the party slandering him via MCTV’s website does not deserve or warrant his response saying it was akin to the likes of Donald Trump demanding a birth certificate from the President of the United States, however, Mr. Keller went on saying that there is no one on the board now that was there when he was vetted and for the benefit of current board Rick provided physical proof of his education & personal achievements, including:

    “• BA from Illinois State University

    “• MA from the University of Colorado

    “• Contracts of employment from several oil & gas companies dating to early ‘80s.

    “• Award for creation and ten years of service with the Denver Classical Guitar

    “• Mr. Keller ended by saying that although they did not assail his brilliant military
    record he would also display Department of Defense forms showing unblemished service to include a Combat Infantry Badge and Bronze Star for meritorious achievement in the face of an armed and hostile force.”

    Since this is a statement from MAC board meeting minutes, it reflects on MAC. Especially since these minutes were approved by the entire board of directors. And as such, it deserves a fact check.

    First of all, Patrick M. (Rick) Keller ran against Joseph Deakins for a position on the board in 2010. You can see the ballot here:

    Mr. Deakins said he had a BA from the Rochester Institute of Technology. I confirmed that degree with here:

    Mr. Keller said he had a BA from Illinois State University and a MA from University of Chicago. I couldn’t confirm either degree. You can see that here:

    It’s worth noting how Mr. Keller changed the story about his Masters Degree. In 2010, it was from the University of Chicago. Six years later, it was from the University of Colorado. UoC has four different campuses. You can see that here:

    Normally, college graduates identify themselves by individual campus. Like UC Santa Barbara. Mr. Keller didn’t. Nor did he give any explanation about why he’d claimed to have gotten his Masters Degree from the University of Chicago on his ballot.

    College diplomas are available on eBay. You can buy a Bachelors of Science diploma from ISU for $6. You can see that here:

    So with a little PhotoShop work, anyone can look like they’ve got a college degree. When they don’t. For $199, you can get a Masters Degree diploma from any University in the country. Complete with transcripts. You can see that here:

    But that doesn’t mean you’ve got a Masters Degree. It just looks like you’ve got one.

    Then Mr. Keller doubled down on claims about his military service. Including being the recipient of a Bronze Star. This is especially troubling. Because you can see the list of Bronze Star recipients here:,+Thomas+D.

    As you can see, there’s no listing between Donald R. Keith and Paul X. Kelley. And anyone can buy a Bronze Star medal on eBay for $12.99. You can see that here:

    So all the things that Mr. Keller provided to the MAC board as ‘physical proof’ of his claims are both widely available and very cheap. As is verifying anyone’s college degree here:

    Before MAC’s board of directors conducts any further business with Mr. Keller, it should definitely look into this.


    Scott M. Peterson

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