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People TV CEO Demands $25K Severance as Group Restructures

(APN) ATLANTA -- People TV is moving forward with a restructuring process of letting go all former employees, and rehiring new employees at lower pay.  

This restructuring process was mandated by the City of Atlanta in its recent contract and funding agreement with People TV.  People TV will not receive any of its newly approved funding from the City of Atlanta until it completes this process by March 31, 2013, and the organization is trying to survive and continue to operate until then with very limited funds.

Now, Charlotte Engel, former CEO, is demanding more than 25,000 dollars in severance pay from the organization.

“I have received salary through December 31, 2012 and expect by January 4, 2013, the full $25,292.62 due me as severance for the People TV Board of Directors' termination of my Employment Agreement without cause,” Engel wrote in a letter dated December 26, 2012, addressed to James Bond, President of the Board of Directors of People TV.

“If the Board is unwilling to accept these terms, please notify me immediately via my email address... so that I can inform my attorney that I will be invoking Section 8.9 Mediation of my Employment Agreement and let you know our choice of Mediator,” Engel wrote.

Engel copied an attorney, W. Winston Briggs, on the letter.  Briggs is an Atlanta-based personal injury attorney.

“She has recieved [sic] annual raises -- she made $72,000 in '12-- without a full PTV Board approval or review.  She has bled PTV to near death, while profiting handsomely from the public trough.  Her actions and attitude are unconscionable!” Maynard Eaton, a Board Member of People TV, wrote in an email to APN, which he later clarified represents his personal opinion and not necessarily that of the Board.

In Engel’s letter, she said she had prepared a budget for the Board through April 2013, that she claims would cover two-part time salaries through then, plus severance pay for the four employees whose jobs have now been terminated, including a 15,000 dollar severance settlement that she had proposed for herself.

Also, Engel’s letter extensively cites supplemental minutes of the November 27, 2012 People TV Board of Directors Meeting.

“The Board was advised that the issue about restructure is about Engel.  We have to restructure to operate.  [Engel's] Contract runs through May.  City wants Charlotte out,” the supplemental minutes, as cited in the letter, state.

The supplemental minutes also refer to a meeting that Board Member Dr. Johnny Wilson said he held with certain Members of the City Council of Atlanta.

“Wilson shared with Board his Friday meeting with Council; clear in the room that staff had to leave and reapply; also clear that commitment to save the station.  It is not stated as to who comes back and who gets the slots; staff has to go,” the supplemental minutes state, as cited in the letter.

“In your December 17, 2012 meeting, you told me that People TV has no money to pay my severance offer of $15,000,” Engel wrote.

In a prior email dated December 14, 2012, Bond had written other Board Members regarding People TV’s dispute with Engel, providing further detail regarding the dollar amounts.

“She says her agreement require [sic] People TV to compensate her for 19 weeks and three days remaining on the contract following the termination date of December 31, 2012 which, at the present salary, is $25,292.62 ($1290.44 per week),” Bond wrote.

“In exchange for her agreement to terminate this contract effective December 31, 2012 and continue [sic] employment with People TV until December 21, 2012, the last day prior to the company holiday break, she expects to be paid her full salary through December 31, 2012 and a severance equal to the equivalent of the 19 weeks and the three days of salary in the amount of $25,292.62 to be paid in one lump sum on the final payroll check of the year on December 21, 2012,” Bond wrote.

“If People TV Inc. provides her with a written letter of recommendation acknowledging and showing appreciation for my [sic] nine years of unwavering commitment to people TV. she will agree to waive $10,292,62 Of the above mentioned severance,” Bond wrote.

“She says it is imperative that this agreement is reached prior to noon Tuesday, December 18, 2012.  Failure to do so will further confirm People TV Inc. intention to breach her employment agreement as well as violate certain EEOC regulations for which she will be forced to seek further relief,” Bond wrote.

“Charlotte has recklessly squandered PTV's monies... now she is blackmailing us into a position that will bankrupt us... and force us to curtail public access.  She knows we cannot meet these scurrillous [sic] terms and servive!  This is scandelous,” Eaton wrote in a December 14 email to APN.


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