The 22-year-old California Association of Business, Property & Resource Owners relishes stirring the pot in our community with its extreme right-wing politics. Now CABPRO is facing its own major internal strife, complete with a lawsuit, Sierra Foothills Report has learned.
The political and legal imbroglio comes just as the election season is heating up. CABPRO has long been active in local politics, with endorsements and monetary contributions. It has been influential in the past, going back to NH2020, and local like-minded candidates are counting on its support again this year. The elections are in June.
“I’m sure you’ve all heard rumors of the recent unpleasantness at CABPRO, for which we are deeply sorry,” reads a letter recently sent to the membership by board members Kirk Pharis, Kim Janousek and Melinda Monaghan.
“In late October, the Board of Directors removed Chuck Shea from his volunteer position as Executive Director,” the letter alleges. “CABPRO’s attorney has advised us not to discuss details. But please understand, the decision was not made lightly, and there were major issues between the Board and Mr. Shea relative to the forward movement of our organization.
Shea on Friday denied the version outlined in the letter, citing legal action against the three directors. In “CABPRO v. Monighan, Janousek, Flores and Pharis,” it alleges:
“Defendants Melinda Monighan, Kim Janousek, and D. Kirk Pharis resigned as members of plaintiff’s board of directors on September 1, 2013, which resignations were accepted.
“Upon their resignation, Dick and Tina Marshall remained as plaintiff’s directors. They appointed Thom Forsythe as a director to fill the one required vacancy on the board under plaintiff’s bylaws.
“Defendants Monighan, Janousek and Pharis took it upon themselves to attempt to retract their resignations. These same defendants in concert with defendant Donna Flores have seized plaintiff’s books, records, accounts, computers, computer programs, website, and e-mail program and refuse to return that property.
“Defendants’ seizure of plaintiff’s property renders it impossible for plaintiff to conduct its affairs.
“Additionally, defendants Monighan, Janousek and Pharis are posting false information on plaintiff’s website and communicating false information to plaintiff’s members.”
CABPRO’s offices are located at Robinson Enterprises in Nevada City.
“Please know, we are making every attempt to resolve this dispute without being forced to spend CABPRO finances defending the organization in litigation,” Pharis, Janousek and Monaghan said in their letter sent to members.
The letter went on to say its general membership meetings are starting back up in February. (A new CABPRO newsletter said the meeting is February 18, at 5:30 p.m., at Penny’s Diner in the Fowler Center in Grass Valley).
“If you are interested in joining the CABPRO Board of Directors, or helping out as volunteers, please let us know,” they added.
In the new newsletter, Melinda Monaghan continued voicing CABPRO’s high-pitched rhetoric in an “editor’s letter”: “We need to elect people who are not satisfied with government grants in place of vibrant economies, we need to return the States to the forefront of government, we need to stand up and shout ‘NO!'”
Other authors in the February newsletter include JoAnn Rebane, spouse of hard-right blogger George Rebane, and Jean Gerard, whose mean-spirited opinion article in The Union about the Boardwalk touched off a polarizing discussion. In the end, the Boardwalk was retained, at least for a year.
“If you or anyone you know will be affected by (Mountain Yellow Legged Frog and Yosemite Toad) land grab, please notify us here at CABPRO. The Pacific Legal Foundation has made an offer to represent an owner or group of owners that may be facing the debilitating consequences of a potential designation,” Gerard wrote.
The local hard-right blogosphere includes Rebane, Todd Juvinall, a founder of CABPRO, and Russ Steele, a former CABPRO advisory board member. But none of them have written about the dispute, though the letter has been circulating for weeks. Self-censorship? You can decide for yourself.
The letter is here: letter
The court filing is here: court filings
The case # is here:
Case Type:CIVIL – LIMITED Case Status:OPEN File Date:02/05/2014 Case Judge: Next Event: 06/02/2014
A CABPRO member survey is here: