CalPERS’ Priya Mathur Opens, Reads, Even Answers Mail of Board Member Margaret Brown, Denies Her Access to Transcripts of Past Meetings.

If you were harboring any doubts as to how deeply corrupt CalPERS is, the latest incidents offer yet more compelling evidence. CalPERS’ board president Priya Mathur has directed the employees of the CalPERS Board Services unit, an administrative team, to open and read the mail addressed to board member Margaret Brown. Mathur reserves the right not to send the correspondence to Brown and to answer on her behalf.

Even worse, when Brown e-mailed CalPERS CEO Marcie Frost to tell her this practice had to stop immediately, Frost acted as if she lacked the power to intervene. This is nonsense. All of the members of the Board Services team are CalPERS employees, meaning Frost is their boss. The fact that Frost is unwilling to stop a clearly illegal procedure says she is not fit to be CEO.

On top of that, as we’ll discuss later in this post, Mathur, via the same Board Services group, has also been denying Brown access to transcripts of past board meetings. This is another flagrant abuse. As law professor and white collar criminologist Bill Black stated, a board member is entitled to see any document of the organization they oversee.

Brown’s attorney James Moody sent a sternly-worded letter to Mathur telling her that these practices and other forms of interference with Brown performing her duties of office must stop. We’ve embedded Moody’s missive at the end of this post.

This is banana republic behavior. And there is no mistaking that this is standard procedure, as least as far as Brown is concerned, which raises the question of whether she is being singled our or whether all board members, who are officials of the State of California, are having Mathur meddle in the performance of their duties. It is also clear that CEO Frost is actively supporting Mathur’s campaign against Brown even though it is against the law and a violation of fiduciary duty.

Let us also not forget that Mathur has been repeatedly censured for not showing up to board meetings and fined for failures to file required disclosure forms on time.

CalPERS’ Mail Heist

Brown found out about the interception, reading, and even diversion of her mail and e-mail by accident. A constituent complained about Brown’s failure to respond to a letter he had sent in March, which Brown had not received. After Brown asked why she hadn’t gotten her mail, here was the response from a member of the Board Services unit (note that Karen Perkins is the head of that group):

From: “Ortega, Christina” <[email protected]>
Date: April 11, 2018 at 9:57:12 AM PDT
To: “Brown, Margaret” <[email protected]>
Cc: “Perkins, Karen” <[email protected]>
Subject: RE: Member Correspondence – XXXX

Hi Margaret,
To answer your questions, we received two copies of this letter on March 22nd: one was addressed to Priya and one was addressed to you.

Following is our procedure for handling member correspondence:

* Priya reviews all correspondence addressed to board members and directs how to proceed.
* Depending on the matter at hand or the specific circumstances, emails are either routed to the appropriate program area (via the Executive) to handle directly with the member and/or a response is developed for the Board President’s review, approval, and signature.
* In either case, when the letter is forwarded to the program area/Executive, we also send it to the board members included on the letter (after redacting personal information).
* When the program area develops a response for the Board President’s signature, we send a copy of the signed response to all board members included on the letter.

It should be obvious what an outrage this is.

Brown is an elected official. It would be completely unacceptable for, say, the chairman of a Congressional committee to intercept, read, and answer mail sent to members of his committee. It is even worse in the case of CalPERS because board members like Brown are jointly and severally liable for the performance of their fiduciary duties. Mathur is thus actively undermining the independence and thus performance of board members.

Moreover, CalPERS institutionally is aware of and supporting this conduct. The Board Services members are all CalPERS employees. Their pay levels are set by CalPERS, not the board. The board has delegated its authority for CalPERS personnel matters to the CEO. Marcie Frost could change the staffing of the Board Services group any time she wanted to.

Yet astonishingly, Frost is taking the cowardly path of trying to pretend she has no authority. Brown e-mailed Frost demanding that she stop the interception of Brown’s mail:

From: “Brown, Margaret” <[email protected]>
Date: April 12, 2018 at 2:22:46 AM PDT
To: “Frost, Marcie” <[email protected]>
Subject: Fwd: Member Correspondence – XXXX

Marcie,

I have given no one permission to open, divert, and/or read my mail or other documents addressed to me whether delivered by the the post office, or any another method including hand delivery or email.

The Board Governance documents do not grant this permission to the Board president or to staff.

As a constitutionally elected officer of the CalPERS Board, privacy in my correspondence is necessary, especially in my watchdog role.

Please immediately confirm that diversion of mail/documents addressed to me individually or as a member of the Board has been halted.

Margaret Brown
Elected Member,
CalPERS Board of Administration

Brown e-mailed Frost again the evening of the 13th asking why she had not gotten a response. That finally elicited a reply:

From: “Frost, Marcie” <[email protected]>
Date: April 14, 2018 at 7:04:07 AM PDT
To: “Brown, Margaret” <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Member Correspondence

Hi Margaret,

The board services unit doesn’t report to me – they report through the board president. I’ll send this to Priya for a response.

Marcie

Frost’s claim is a baldfaced lie and she has to know that. Frost and not the board controls the pay and the staffing of the Board Services unit. Frost could replace the individuals any time she wanted to.

The Chief Executive Officer delegation clearly states that Frost is responsible for managing all functions at CalPERS. There is no exception for the Board Services Unit. Likewise, the Board President delegation doesn’t come close to delegating any management authority over any staff to Mathur. 1

Here are some reasons why this “procedure” is appalling:

Undermines Brown’s performance of her duties of office. Brown is a California elected official. Brown is also a fiduciary. Mathur has no legal basis for usurping her authority.

Perpetuates corruption. Less than a decade ago, CaLPERS’ CEO Fred Buenrostro and former board member Al Villalobos were indicted for bribery and other charges. Buenrostro had, among other things, . Villalobos committed suicide. Buenrostro is serving a four and a half year sentence in a Federal prison. One current board member resigned and two who were close to Villalobos did not run for reelection.

So given this record of criminal conduct, it isn’t a stretch to think a whistleblower might try to send Brown, the only reformer on the board, hard copy evidence about misdeeds. Given what we’ve documented about CalPERS over the last few years, do you think there is any chance this information would ever get to Brown? Not only would it be withheld from her but CalPERS is likely to try to identify the whistleblower and if it were an employee, to retaliate,.

Violates the law. Federal courts have established two common law privacy claims, namely, “intrusion upon seclusion” and “public disclosure of a private fact.”2 The rulings on “intrusion upon seclusion” are based on the standard of an employer invading the privacy of an employee in a way that third parties would find offensive. The parties to whom I have spoken to so far, including attorneys, find the idea of someone else’s mail on a a wholesale basis to be offensive, and even more so when they persist in the face of a written objection.

And that’s before you get to the fact that Brown is in a supervisory capacity. Impeding her receipt of information will impede her effectiveness. In the case that led Brown to find out about this abuse, the Board Services unit dropped the ball on replying to a constituent, which hurt Brown’s credibility. One has to wonder if that was by design.

On top of that, CalPERS staff taking possession of Brown’s mail is larceny. Not only might Brown be sent items with monetary value (personal gifts from relatives, passes to conferences), but she has property rights to the documents themselves, even junk mail.

As an aside, this Mafia-like style of operating means whistleblowers with any sense won’t bother with inside channels but will go straight to the press, which works to my benefit.

Denial of Access to Transcripts

Brown requested access to a full year of closed session transcripts, since she realized after her first set of closed session board meetings in February that there was a great deal of history behind many of the issues under discussion. She needed to have the backstory to be adequately informed and make good decisions.

Brown has been given the runaround for months by the staff and the board. Board President Priya Mathur insisted she’d understand the transcripts better if she was briefed first by Chief Investment Officer Ted Eliopoulos about CalPERS’ vaunted research into private equity business models. Not only did she never get that talk, when she finally meet with CEO Frost and John Cole of the Investment Office, they admitted there was no information or documents to review.

Brown has also been subjected to limits on access to records. Recall that law professor Bill Black has said a board member has a right to see any record of the organization they demand. Attorney James Moody reaffirmed that reading.

Yet Board President Priya Mathur dictated impermissible restriction. From her e-mail in February:

Hi Margaret,
Karen [Perkins] shared your request for closed session items to me.

As I’m sure you can appreciate, it is essential to protect the confidentiality of closed session items and to avoid the unnecessary expenditure of our already busy Board Services Unit resources.

Our practice with archived closed session materials is as follow:

State a specific purpose for your request for closed session materials.
Include in your request specific details, including the committee or Board, the date and the agenda item.
You may review the materials in Karen’s office at CalPERS headquarters, but may not copy them or remove them from site.

Please don’t hesitate to me with any questions.
Priya

Mathur’s use of the word “practice” is a tacit admission that she has no legal foundation for her arbitrary and unreasonable demands. Brown does not have to explain herself. Brown can go on a fishing expedition if she sees fit.

In fact, Brown has to go on a fishing expedition. Since closed sessions are secret, she can’t know what she doesn’t know. The idea that she can specify what records in a black box might be useful to her is absurd. Even though the CalPERS hews to the form of preparing an agenda of the items to be discussed in closed session and providing the legal citations justifying why they are not being shared with the public, past board members say that closed sessions regularly range beyond items on the agenda.

Similarly, the notion that a board member’s information requests should be compromised because it might tax the oh so busy Board Services team is offensive. Board members performing their fiduciary duties properly is of paramount importance to CalPERS. Mathur explicitly stating otherwise is proof that she is unfit to serve on CalPERS’ board.

Note also that the excuse of difficulty is a fabrication. It would take all of 15 minutes at most for Karen Perkins to burn a disk with all the closed session transcripts that Brown wanted. If there is any reason for Brown’s request to take an undue amount of staff time, it is because Mathur and Frost are working to keep Brown in the dark and render her less effective

To make a very long story short, Brown has been allowed to read only very limited printouts of closed session transcripts, and then only in the office of the head of Board Services unit head Karen Perkins, as if Perkins were a prison guard ward.

Perkins has offered Brown very few time slots, and ruled out an entire week, even though Brown is regularly in Sacramento. As a result, Brown has only had one reading session in which staff cherry picked what she saw. That amounted to only about 50 pages of transcripts, with some pages partially redacted. Moreover, Karen Perkins failed to provide slides and reports that were an integral part of the discussion that Brown reads, despite repeated requests by Brown.

As you can see from the letter below, attorney James Moody has demanded that this governance travesty stop. The mail interception, transcript foot-dragging, and other types of harassment are part of a campaign to hamstring Brown.

The fact that CalPERS is so desperate to thwart Brown, as it tried to do with former board member JJ Jelincic, in getting access to information and answers to reasonable questions should alarm CalPERS beneficiaries and California taxpayers. Only an organization with lots to hide would fight transparency this hard.

_____

1 This is the current version of the Chief Executive Office’s delegated authority, (emphasis ours):

General

2. Conduct, approve and oversee the administration and management of all functions within CalPERS, including without limitation all actuarial, audit, financial, investment, and legal functions with independence and in conformance with professional standards, and in conformance with the direction of the Board.

3. Conduct, approve and oversee the administration and business continuity of all units and functions within CalPERS and the operation of CalPERS headquarters’ facility, including provision for sufficient information technology, facilities, and equipment to support CalPERS business and operational needs, operating within the resources, delegations of authority, and fiscal limits set by the Board….

Staff Resources and Organizational Structure

8. Approve all personnel decisions, including hiring, disciplining, and terminating, for all employees listed in Government Code section 20098 and those in Career Executive Assignments. The Board and the CEO share responsibility for hiring, evaluating (including base salary and incentive compensation), and terminating the Chief Investment Officer (CIO). The Board retains veto authority over CEO decisions for hiring, evaluating (including base salary and incentive compensation), and terminating the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Actuary, and General Counsel.

While there is a carve out for the Board to retain some authority, it does not apply to the Board Services unit. Moreover, any such authority rests with the Board as a whole, and not with the Board President.

Here is t. You can see there is no mention whatsoever of the supervision of CalPERS staff:

RESOLVED, (A} That, pursuant to the foregoing, the Board hereby authorizes the Board President to act, and to act finally, for the Board with respect to the following activities:

(1) Call and schedule regular and special Board meetings;

(2) ln coordination with Committee chairs, call .and schedule meetings of the Board’s Committees, both standing and special;

(3) Conduct all Board meetings In conformity with the Board’s rules of order and other applicable policies;

(4) Appoint members of Board committees, both standing and special;

(5) After consultation with Board members, appoint members of Protest Review Committees, upon the recommendation of the General Counsel that such a Committee should be constituted;

(6) Review and approve requests from Board members to represent the System on out-of-state trips;

(7) After consultation with the Chief Executive Officer, determine the appropriate Board and/or staff member to represent the System on trips outside of the United States, when the costs of .such travel (in whole or in part) is being provided by a third party as a gift to the System, and accept, on behalf of the System, gifts of travel made by such third parties;

2 Readers may be surprised to learn that deliberately opening someone else’s mail isn’t criminal. The Postal Service has tried to stay out of this matter. From t which has the force of law, by virtue of being incorporated into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 39 CFR 111.1:

508.1.6 Delivery to Individual at Organization

1.6.1 To Address

All mail addressed to a governmental or nongovernmental organization or to an individual by name or title at the address of the organization is delivered to the organization, as is similarly addressed mail for former officials, employees, contractors, agents, etc. If disagreement arises where any such mail should be delivered, it must be delivered under the order of the organization’s president or equivalent official.

However, this regulation leads to the same result as CalPERS’ own delegated authority: CEO Marcie Frost, and not Board President Priya Mathur, is the responsible party. The only other possible reading is that by virtue of CalPERS board members being designated in the California Constitution as state officials, and not merely officials of CalPERS, that the Governor is the decider. But either way, Frost trying to depict herself as powerless is obviously false.

180413 - jam to calpers re brown
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37 comments

  1. vlade

    While it may be an acceptable practice for employees, board members are NOT employees. Their legal status is entirely different, which Mathur seems to willingly ignore.

    A similar behaviour would be if Paul Ryan directed the administration to witheld, open, and send to him for processing all mail addressed to the members of Congress. Can you imagine what furore that would cause?

    TBH, the more you dig, the more dirt comes out. If Cal government was in any way reasonable, it would launch an independent investigation into Calpers practices pretty much immediately.

    Reply
  2. PlutoniumKun

    This really is shocking. Surely even the most junior administrator knows that failing to pass on personally addressed correspondence to an elected Board member is completely unacceptable under any circumstances, in any type of organisation, and under any legal context.

    One can only guess at what they are trying to hide.

    Reply
  3. sd

    Interesting. The diversion itself also implies that mail may be going to unidentified outside parties who would be in a position to benefit from inside information.

    Reply
  4. Clive

    The most basic violation of the most primary principle of governance.

    A board monitors and challenges the executive. End of story.

    There is no justification whatsoever for the executive management to interfere with, impede, stymie and monitor Brown. Cosy, captured faux-Board Boards are symptomatic of serious organisational dysfunction and worse. Normally an executive wants a properly constructed board in place, if only to resolve “flip of a coin” type questions where a matter is so finely balanced that, while a decision is required, there isn’t a clearly obvious best option. Then a committee decision allows all involved to say the question was reviewed in the most comprehensive way possible and there was genuinely collective responsibility. Not doing so means specific individuals are on the hook, should the decision later look like a bad one.

    CalPERS management are clearly deranged, drunk on their own unaccountability, to not want to give themselves the kind of air cover that an independently-minded board provides.

    And I feel so sorry for Brown. It is very demoralising having to try to keep going in such circumstances. But I know she won’t let up.

    Reply
    1. HotFlash

      I am pretty sure that Ms Brown, who ran as a ‘‘, was expecting something like this, although maybe not quite so bad. OTOH, she went in to reform and there seems to be lots of scope for that. And of course, she has some formidable allies (nsert shark-grin emoji here).

      If I were a current, future or even potential CA retiree, I would be *so* happy that Margaret is on the Board and Yves is on the case. The bottleneck, as I see it, is getting the info about this fight to the beneficiaries. Letters to the editor, esp SacBee, LATImes and SFChronicle would maybe help, but the smaller papers too, and of course, ForkBook and Twitter, for those who indulge. Margaret has done her part, Yves hers, now it’s our job to get it the word out to the people.

      BTW, if anyone is betting on the Board, I will happily take those bets :)

      Reply
  5. voteforno6

    I have no personal stake in CalPERS, as I am not a resident of, or employee of the state of California. Nevertheless, I find this saga to be very interesting. What I’m curious about now is: what are they hiding? Any guesses?

    Reply
    1. Clive

      An interesting question and it has an interesting answer. Usually, organisations go bad in the following sequence:

      1) Poor governance, lax management oversight and a culture of self-serving power plays creates fiefdoms internally
      2) The competing fiefdoms promote poor choices for senior leadership roles (c-suite, CEO) because they don’t want competent management taking away the various punch bowls they dip into
      3) Fraud, cronyism, corruption, maladministration and internecine warfare proliferate in the now criminogenic environment; at least one of these problems will be present in the organisation and, more often than not, all of them to some degree
      4) When periodically exposed, various “new brooms” come and go in a reform and change theatre which promises stakeholders improvements but by the time this happens the cultural rot in the organisation is so deep that it is incurable. Often the supposed new leadership is fully aware of the ills bedevilling the business or enterprise and is in on the continual coverups from the start. Even if not, outsiders lack the internal organisational awareness to implement effective change because they are limited to tinkering at the edges of what are large, sprawling and complex entities.

      The S&Ls, Enron, Parmalat, Olympus,Tesco, Carillon, mortgage originations fraud, servicing abuses… (just off the top of my head) there’s dozens of case-studies available. All share the same basic concepts as I’ve outlined above.

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Clive, that’s a fantastic summary of what happens in so many organisations. Sometimes corruption is not about the embezzling of billions or large scale bribery. Its just small people who have found a small advantage in a situation, and fight like tigers at any attempt to take away their little gravy train. Each little piece of corruption can be almost laughably small and petty, but when its not dealt with it builds up in to a poison that can destroy the biggest of organisations.

        Reply
        1. HotFlash

          Word! I see this in even teeny-tiny organizations. Doesn’t have to be about money, turf is quite sufficient.

          Reply
  6. Wendell

    Yves has been banging on this for some years now. There have been multiple lawyer’s letters. There is now an honest member on the board. How can this malfeasance and obfuscation continue? Isn’t there even one judge in the state of California who will order Ms Mathur to comply with the law, and lock her up for contempt when she refuses?

    Reply
  7. Tom Stone

    Attorney General Becerra is gonna be all over this as soon as he is done with the much more important task of impeaching Donald Trump!

    Reply
  8. B1whois

    Jesus Christ. What can be done? Are there articles in any of the newspapers about this? In the past your recommended ing Betty Yee, is that something that would be helpful here?

    Reply
    1. Clive

      The Sacramento Bee runs CalPERS coverage but there’s two problems with that.

      One is that the SacBee seems only reluctantly inclined to critical commentating where CalPERS is concerned — where it really has no other choice to beat up on CalPERS because not to do so makes it seem out of touch and unable to get up to speed on a story (it hurts its standing in the community and with its readers to stick its head in the sand, in other words).

      The second, more significant, is that there’s an unwritten rule in the mainstream media — you do not pick up and run with stories from “alternative” channels such as blogs (even ones as good and with as broad a readership and in such a high standing as this one), YouTube channels, amateur sites and so on. I regularly follow excellent sources such as dpac.uk.net here in the UK, for example, which holds protests, makes submissions and appearances at parliamentary committees, lobbies political parties and even solicits and co-ordinates responses from the disability movement to MSM requests for programme participation — but rarely gets mentions in recognition and then only in passing. I suppose blogs (and so on) are seen as a threat to a MSM “monopoly on The Truth” but that really is short-sighted of them.

      That said, calling your local politician is very effective. Hopefully CA residents can say more about which elected official(s) is/are best to call.

      Reply
      1. vlade

        Private Eye, which is a long-running _printed_ paper runs well sourced and researched stories on UK corruption literally every other week – yet the mainstream media picks it only very rarely. So what chances something like NC would have for the MSM to pick up a story from?

        Reply
  9. diptherio

    So when do the mass protests outside CalPERS board meetings start? What about the protests outside Frost and Mathur’s houses?

    Reply
  10. The Rev Kev

    If I did not know that this was a serious story, I would mistake it for a lost episode of “Yes, Prime Minister”. It seems that CalPERS has decided, in their wisdom, to run the place on a need to know basis and Margaret Brown is a person that does not need to know anything, even though the law says precisely the opposite. I am reminded of the clip at that explains on how the need to know principle works.

    I have to say that I admire the management team at CalPERS for their “bravery” (in the Yes Minister sense). I mean, think about it. If there was one lesson to be learned from the US election on the evening of 8th November 2016 it is that elections can throw up totally unexpected results. Totally bizarre, gut-wrenching, unexpected results. This applies on not only the Federal level but the State level as well.

    Thus CalPERS itself could be just one election away from having a hostile government elected that would be willing to go through the place like a dose of salts with a team of forensic accountants. If there was any wrongdoing found, some people may find that orange will be the new black, though I am not implying that there is. For some bunch of politicians elected, it could come down to a choice to protecting a few dozen people versus 1,600,000 million Californian public employees, retirees, and their families – nearly all of whom could be registered voters. Yes, very brave indeed.

    Reply
  11. EoH

    Apart from the presumably incriminating material this board president and CEO seem to be hiding, there is the strong probability that many of CalPERS’s processes are in sore shape. Apart from the issue described here, there is that CalPERS hired such an inappropriate CFO and refuses to deal with its error.

    Then, too, there is the substantial waste of the public’s money and CalPERS’s time. It’s as if this board president and CEO are more worried about the precedent of an independent board member seeking to do her job than they are about running CalPERS.

    Or do they feel that ostracizing such a board member is their first responsibility in running CalPERS? Perhaps this board, like so many colleges and universities, has borrowed too many of the private sectors’ sources and methods.

    Public ownership issues aside, I wonder how would the chair of a Fortune 100 company react if a dissident shareholder were inexplicably to gain a seat on what would otherwise be the typical somnambulant board?

    Reply
  12. flora

    CalPERS’ staff consistency makes it hard to believe this is “just a misunderstanding”, or an error in oversight, or even a rogue operation. What strings are being pulled (one wonders) and to whose benefit ? Good atty letter. I expect CalPERS will ignore it by getting their counsil (should I put that word in quote marks?) to opine it is not relevant to CA and CalPERS.

    Glad I don’t live in the great state of CA and its Dem party total control.

    Reply
    1. flora

      adding: Gov Brown is working to eliminate ‘the California rule’ so that pensions can be cut during the next recession. SacBee had stories about this in January. Why worry about financial chicanery at CalPERS when they’re working on a ‘get-out-of-fiduciary-duty-free’ card? /s

      Reply
  13. audrey jr

    Sounds like a possible RICO problem, on it’s face.
    Why so few prosecutors use RICO to take down ‘organisations’ such as CalPers is beyond me.
    Is this the end of RICO?

    Reply
    1. Synoia

      Why so few prosecutors use RICO to take down ‘organisations’ such as CalPers is beyond me.

      Because the Organizations are the playgrounds of the rich?

      Reply
    2. EoH

      RICO is oversold. Not to put too fine a point on it, it’s never RICO. It is each of the underlying crimes.

      I see a host of wrong and inappropriate conduct here that a competent General Counsel would be fixing or resigning over. I don’t see crimes.

      If these were mistakes or misreadings of legitimate policy, these things would have been fixed already. They’re not, which means they are policy. That’s wrong. They are being enforced by the board head and CEO, and apparently ignored by the General Counsel. That’s worse.

      The fix seems systemic and political, because no one in authority at CalPERS – possibly including other board members – seems willing to go to the mat to fix obvious wrongs that will inevitably lead to avoidable waste and dysfunction and, ultimately, financial loss to Californian taxpayers and pension beneficiaries.

      Reply
  14. tegnost

    Thanks so much for this series…

    ” Only an organization with lots to hide would fight transparency this hard.”
    my feelings exactly, and the longer this goes on the worse what they’re trying to cover up must be.
    Beneficiaries should be screaming at priya et al as they slither into the office each day.

    Reply
  15. none

    Is that FBI team that raided Trump’s lawyer’s office in NYC last week available for another assignment in Sacramento? Just asking.

    Reply
    1. Allegorio

      They are busy searching for Russian trolls and P P dossiers. Oh yes, and selling books. The raid on Mr. Cohen’s office certainly brought results. President Trump is back on board with the TPP! Who knew?

      Reply
  16. bob

    Funny stuff. It’s a board member perk. We’ll open your mail for you!

    In what universe is this acceptable? Not only is it done, but the people doing it don’t even have the common sense not to admit it. It’s offered as a free service!

    Lost in the mail could be an excuse. It happens. But, “we opened it, and”….what then?

    Let’s try this on-

    “Yes, we received the shipment of cash. We opened it. As per our internal policy, the cash was then shipped from office to office, allowing each office to take what they needed. Personal requests for the cash were then processed and the cash was dispersed. We were very careful not to keep any receipts. When this procedure is complete we will forward whatever may be left to its intended recipient.”

    Better crooks please!

    Reply
  17. Other JL

    If I were Brown’s lawyer, I’d probably consider ed the post office’s inspector general. I think they take a pretty dim view of people other than the addressee opening mail.

    Unrelated, any updates on the various copyright issues relating to calpers’s web server?

    Reply
    1. Lord Koos

      Opening mail that is not addressed to you is a federal offense, is it not? Seems ripe for a lawsuit…

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        No, please see the footnotes to the post. The Post Office considers mail delivered to an organization to be out of its hands.

        And re the Postal Service IG, that is not a viable avenue either. Please read the IG’s site. It does not get involved in mail delivery matters save re allegations of Postal Service personnel misappropriating mail.

        Re the copyright, I have PRA in for any settlements. I understand from one publisher where I expected the largest damages they they are still negotiating.

        Reply
  18. theories and games

    Hoping to hear whether she received the information requested in the sternly-written letter by the date requested, today.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Sadly, no. Brown is being allowed to see all of the transcripts, but only in the area she is now locked out of, and only for one business day. This is more harassment.

      Reply

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