1. I arrived at around 4:15, only to be confronted by MAC director Debra Lennox. Telling me that I wouldn’t be welcome at the public meeting. Which is odd, since it was advertised as a public meeting:

    Okay. The meeting hadn’t started yet, so I walked inside to check it out. Terry and Skip were there. Being told by Ms. Lennox that they were welcome to attend the meeting, but that Mendocino TV wasn’t. Since a camera wouldn’t be running, I decided not to stick around any longer. Which was too bad for the Art Center. Because I’d brought a donation for them. Along with prepared public comment. Here it is:

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    My name is Scott M. Peterson. I’m a native of Mendocino. And an artist.

    I’d like to start out with a donation. Of something the Art Center needs. Documents. Governing documents. Including Articles of Incorporation. Amendments. Bylaws. Minutes. State filings. And Federal filings. Going back fifteen years. And longer. Here they are. (presenting) Hundreds of pages. They should be on the Art Center website. All of them. And here’s why.

    This is what was on the Art Center website. Two years ago. (presenting) And this is what’s on that website today. (presenting) Six pages.

    There’s a ballot that should be on the Art Center website too. For three board member candidates. Including Mr. Keller. In 2010. Promoting him as the founder of a 501(c)(3). The Denver Classical Guitar Society.

    There’s a database of 501(c)(3)s. 1.5 million of them. At the National Center for Charitable Statistics. Listing 26 classical guitar societies. None of them in Denver. The Internal Revenue Service has the same database. That 501(c)(3) doesn’t exist. And it never did.

    There’s a failed nonprofit by that name. At 1601 Ivanhoe Street. In Denver. Mr. Keller’s former home. The property history is at Along with Census data. About Mr. Keller’s education. And where he worked.

    According to that — Mr. Keller is a high school graduate. An equipment cleaner. And a laborer According to the 2010 ballot — he holds a Masters Degree. From the University of Chicago. And a Bachelors Degree. From Illinois State University. A retired petroleum landman. And a natural gas marketing manager. Rehold said nothing about that. Or the Denver Classical Guitar Society. Which makes sense. Because according to its Amended Articles of Incorporation. There were no voting members. That was in 1997.

    There were supposed to be voting members. On the original Articles of Incorporation. Filed with the State of Colorado. In 1995. But two years later. The voting members disappeared.

    Those members conveniently reappeared. Three years later. In 2000. During an interview with the Denver Post. Where Mr. Keller said there were 160 of them. But in 2004 his society changed hands. All the voting members disappeared again. And so did Mr. Keller. In 2012, his society did too.

    That wasn’t Mr. Keller’s first media appearance. He also appeared in 1996. In the Los Angeles Times. In a letter to the editor. With sour grapes. About a failed property transfer. Over mineral rights. That he tried to get for twenty-two dollars. But couldn’t. For an unnamed employer. Which was probably the Denver Classical Guitar Society.

    Mr. Keller claims to have written grants for that society on his ballot. I’ll tell you how many he landed. One. In ten years. For a whopping $300. From a bank foundation. Who most likely was led to believe it was a 501(c)(3). Like Art Center voters.

    That’s the future of the Mendocino Art Center. And the past. As soon as Mr. Keller appears. Voting members disappear. So does money. Entirely. Look at the current Bylaws. The current Articles. And the current Form 990. They’re all here. The Art Center has no voting members. And no money. What appears instead. Is failure. And sour grapes.

    If the Rehold version of Mr. Keller’s history had been on that ballot. He’d never have gotten elected. His opponents were artists. With college degrees. In fine art. Mr. Keller is a janitor. With a high school diploma. And he never started a 501(c)(3). He just said that. To get elected.

    Art Center directors should check this out. Independently. To see if Mr. Keller lied on his ballot. If so, the Art Center should take action. To remove him. For cause. And to consider taking this matter to the authorities.

    The Art Center has gone through half a million dollars since that ballot appeared. None of that money is recoverable. Because Mr. Keller’s interest in the property at 1601 Ivanhoe Street was sold. In 2012. For ten dollars. According to the City of Denver. Just like the Art Center today. Mr. Keller is all hat. And no cattle.

    All of this information is public knowledge. It’s there for the asking. At the City of Denver. The State of Colorado. The National Center for Charitable Statistics. The Internal Revenue Service. And Not to mention the ballot. At All of this is available online. For free.

    There’s only one place that you have to pay for that. At Where college degrees are confirmed. Like the ones claimed on Mr. Keller’s ballot. The Bachelors Degree from Illinois State University. And the Masters Degree from the University of Chicago. I paid fifty dollars to get that information. And those universities have never heard of Mr. Keller. The reports on that are donations also. Along with the 2010 ballot. For Mr. Keller’s personnel file. (presenting)

    Here’s the kicker. About the person who lost that election. A glass artist. That was Joe Deakins. He graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology. With a Bachelor of Fine Art degree. I confirmed that at the same place. For twelve dollars and fifty cents. In writing. Right here. It’s another donation. For Mr. Deakin’s personnel file. (presenting)

    I hope that the Mendocino Art Center acknowledges my donations. Along with the countless hours I’ve spent gathering and archiving these records.

    It’d be nice to be thanked for that too.

    Better yet. The Art Center could implement a common sense policy. To do routine background checks. On board of director candidates. Before they get onto the ballot. So that donations like these aren’t wasted.

    The same procedure could go for staff. To keep convicted criminals out of management positions here. Like Celia Shelden. The administrative director. Who got busted last year. For unlawful gardening. I’m not saying she’s a bad person. Nor is Mr. Keller. But common sense background checks would spare the Art Center. From embarrassment. And loss. Like this.

    People are the cornerstone of fundraising. Like art in a gallery. They should be showcased. On the Art Center website. With bios. For management. And the board of directors. Especially the president. Mr. Cornacchia.

    It’s obvious by the last board meeting. And the video of that meeting. He has no experience running meetings. Or nonprofits. He’s got plenty of experience interrupting people. And driving them away. That’d be obvious in a bio. On the Art Center website.

    Another thing that’s needed. That’s email addresses. Or phone numbers. For individual directors. On the website. Otherwise there’s no accountability.

    Background checks and bios are routine for nonprofits. And in particular. Nonprofit management. The management here today doesn’t want them. Or any part of them. Why? Because it’d put them out of a job. A glamorous job.

    The alternative is what we have today. Management like Mr. Keller. Mr. Cornacchia. And Ms. Shelden. With background checks and bios after-the-fact. And embarrassment. For everybody. Especially Mr. Keller. Mr. Cornacchia. And Ms. Shelden. And now it’s a media event.

    These people deserve our sympathy. And our understanding. They’re not bad people. But they’re in over their heads. Way over. Background checks and bios would have prevented that. By separating qualified people. From unqualified people.

    The same goes for Art Center advisors. Particularly financial advisors. And financial planners. There’s a TV ad about that. About a disk jockey. With dreadlocks. Who poses as a financial planner. And gets away with it. That’s happened to the Art Center. It’s obvious in the meeting minutes. Where there are pages of financial plans. Prepared by somebody without a license. Five years ago. Putting the Art Center in the position it’s in today. Which was completely preventable. With background checks. And bios.

    That person isn’t to blame. Not at all. The policy is to blame. Background checks are common sense. And so are bios.

    Here’s one more donation for you. (presenting) From companies that do both. Colgate Palmolive. And Procter & Gamble. You may have heard of them. This is their Code of Conduct. And their Policy. It puts common sense into writing. It applies to directors and staff. Who are required to sign it. If the Art Center had adopted this — five years ago — This never would’ve happened.

    There’s a section in here on media relations. The Art Center should pay special attention to this. Then look at the video of the last board meeting. There were two reporters present. Look at how they were treated. Not just at the meeting. But before. And after.

    The Anderson Valley Advertiser was ignored. Then hit up for money. While Mendocino TV was threatened. And then thrown off the property. By Art Center leadership. This is embarrassing. For the entire community.

    Those responsible for this treatment — Should receive a written warning. At least. To be placed in their personnel file. To prevent this from happening again. Because the Art Center can’t afford it.

    On one final note. Each and every director here has a duty. Under State law. The California Corporations Code. To act. And to do so prudently. Everybody has a place at the Mendocino Art Center. It’s the board’s job to put them there. With something called reasonable inquiry. It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.

    Mr. Keller has janitorial experience. He can do the cleaning here. Ms. Sheldon has gardening experience. She can do the landscaping. Mr. Cornacchia is good at interrupting people. And driving them off. So he can be the night watchman. Those job assignments may not be glamorous. But they’re prudent.

    If directors here can’t obey the law. And put people in their place. They shouldn’t be directors.

    Thank you.

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    After the meeting, I met a handful of attendees on the sidewalk out front. Terry said that someone had called the police on Mendocino TV. The reason was unclear, since no recording was done. A reporter from the Mendocino Beacon was there looking equally puzzled.

    Patrick M. “Rick” Keller walked by us without a word.

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