A New Board; Same Old Stuff

The secret tap came the other day: Caitlin Larimer, Lynne Brachter, Carl Bettinger, Fredilyn Sisson have all been asked to resign. Rex Parris will soon be asked to yield his head to the block. Jude Basile's been making the rounds, trying to trim the body and fill it with folks to his liking.
This is the way it always is when power changes hands. A new leader is entitled to a board he likes. At least that it is the way it is an autocratic institution, one which does not vote, one which does not seek the input of those on whom it depends for economic support, one which is secure enough to care but little for anything other than the image it sees in the mirror.
Anne Valentine is said to be a favorite of the new regime, but she is said to be reluctant. Anne would be wise to decline. Only sycophants jump on a sinking ship and call it a pleasure cruise. J.R. Clary is said to be anxious to assume a seat; and Vicki Slater is a near second to fill a slot not yet embodied.
All this done secretly. No votes. No poll of students. No poll of staff. Just quiet meetings in the big house and phone lines abuzzing. Dissent silenced. All the while money raised and put to uses for which there seems but little in terms of accountability. No one yet answers who actually owns the ranch. It's all business as usual.
Except ... except Imaging is reported to offer her resignation. My prediction? It will not be accepted. Even Potemkin sees through this one.
A note to expatriates: Don't despair. TLC was a beautiful flash in the pan. Like an alchemist's vision, new flashes will brigthen the night sky. I am aware of two groups of lawyers forming workshops for those reluctant to worship and pay top dollar to built a shrine to another. One group has already begun to meet, another will be sending out invitations soon. I will forward details as they become available.

Comments: (25)

  • This is all so sad. Good people being forced out. ...
    This is all so sad. Good people being forced out. Who's next? Looks like they are thinking about revoting on the lease and want to ensure a board is in place who will approve it. Word is floating about among staff members that there will be a purging on staff as well.
    Posted on October 8, 2009 at 1:39 am by Anonymous
  • As an alum who counted Kaitlin and Carl as some of...
    As an alum who counted Kaitlin and Carl as some of the best staff members, I hope this doesn't mean they are also cut from staff. I don't know what happened to get them crosswise with whoever made this decision, but this seems really wierd.
    Posted on October 8, 2009 at 2:00 am by Anonymous
  • This is my response to the recent email to the TLC...
    This is my response to the recent email to the TLC listserv from Betsy Greene/Jude Basile explaining all the changes on the Board. Yell all you want for these thoughts being anonymous and being posted on Norm’s blog, but that is really the only place right now any alumni can say what is on his mind and not get spit on. How sad.
    * The new president wants to deliver "innovation" to the college. Why did he get set aside of the four most innovative people at TLC-- Joane, Katlin, Fredilyn, Carl? These four, along with many others, are responsible for some of the most innovative exercises and techniques that have been implemented in the last decade.
    * The new president says he handled these painful changes with as much kindness as possible. If that is the case, why did he tell Carl, Katlin and Fredilyn he wanted them off the board just as they were about to start the Advanced Regional Workshop this past weekend? It's not kindness to poleaxe your staff as they are about to get on stage.
    * The new president said the present board has been in place for a long time. Yet he got rid of the most junior members. Carl has been on the board less that a year, Lynne two, Fredilyn a few years. Katlin was the most senior of the ones asked to leave, but she is not one of the senior members. There are board members who have been on since the inception of the board.
    * The new president said he wanted to have a smaller board, yet the net loss of board members is only two. The remaining board members are Jude Basile, Dana Cole, Rafe Foreman, Milton Grimes, Rex Parris, Cyndy Short, Kent Spence, Bill Trine, John Zelbts and Gerry Spence. They are being joined by Anne Valentine, JR Clary and John Sloan.
    * The new president wants a board he can work with. Apparently, speaking up and expressing the concerns of alumni, as well as fulfilling the fiduciary duties to the college vs. individuals on the board, is not one of the ways he sees the board functioning. The request for counsel and an independent accounting firm to look at the relationship between the Spence Foundation, finances and existing contracts came from the people who have been ousted.
    * The new president states he is concerned with gender and cultural issues. The best way to look at a man is through his actions. In one fell swoop, the new president got rid of three women on the board and the only other minority member besides Milton (Fredilyn). TLC’s former executive director was also a woman of color. Now the board only has two permanent women board members (Betsy Greene is temporary) and one minority. As far as other types of diversity, the board right now is composed primarily of wealthy, middle-aged white men who do civil work. Fredilyn was the only member of the board who did criminal defense 100% of the time and worked only with poor people as a public defender.
    * The new president asks the F Warriors to suggest "appropriate and qualified" minorities for the board. How insulting. Just ask any person of color what those words mean to them.
    The new president ends his message by saying, "I trust you." Too bad many of us cannot say that about him.
    Posted on October 8, 2009 at 6:42 am by Anonymous
  • Why exactly was Imaging on the board in the first ...
    Why exactly was Imaging on the board in the first place? She doesn't teach, she doesn't interact meaningfully with the students, she doesn't develop curriculum. If she participates in decisions that affect students and alums (other than interior design improvements), it's without input from or interaction with the alums.
    Posted on October 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm by Anonymous
  • Now the TLC Board has only one minority,no public ...
    Now the TLC Board has only one minority,no public defenders, few women, and nearly ALL RICH WHITE FOLKS! The three new board members are all white and wealthy.Disgusting.
    Posted on October 8, 2009 at 4:16 pm by Anonymous
  • Protest with your pocketbooks. Cancel your ranch c...
    Protest with your pocketbooks. Cancel your ranch club memberships!
    Posted on October 8, 2009 at 4:25 pm by Anonymous
  • Let's build our own college. No hero worship, no f...
    Let's build our own college. No hero worship, no fundraisers, no narcissists and no underhanded politics!
    Posted on October 8, 2009 at 4:57 pm by Anonymous
  • My name is Elle Sullivant. I don't think I have e...
    My name is Elle Sullivant. I don't think I have ever met you before, but after reading many of your blogs this morning, I feel as if I "know" you to some degree now. I found myself at your blog after noticing several of my fellow TLC alumni refer to your postings.
    Since your blog is featured in a public forum, I thought it appropriate I offer some of my own responses and reactions after reading your blog in an effort to broaden your base of possible responses on many of the subjects that have seemed to capture your attention.
    Let me begin by saying I consider myself very youthful at heart, and as such, it is always disappointing to me when I have to acknowledge that an elder has "gone astray" and somehow gotten lost off the path of living a better life. This seems to be the case here. And in keeping with your spirit of airing everything, I feel it only appropriate that you hear some frank criticism to your postings, which you no doubt consider great literary pieces.
    First and foremost, you should know that while you do raise a number of issues that are very sensitive and certainly do impact our TLC community, they say more about you than any issue you present.
    What I have gotten from your postings is that you consider yourself quite talented and gifted, unmatched in class by your peers, a chosen one as you have called yourself, the beneficiary of countless one on ones with Gerry. I couldn’t help but think of the irony of it all as you complain and shout from the roof tops that Gerry is so self centered, the fact is there is no other characteristic I would have chosen to better describe you, particularly after reading your ultimate question that seemed to puzzle you so much, how you could have meant so much to Gerry.
    When considering that Gerry choose you to share his most intimate thoughts, and gave of himself so $FREELY$ to your benefit, it is quite disgusting to me that you would so easily cast him aside, betray his confidence and instead, set up a public forum inviting others to slap you on the back telling you how bold, brilliant and strong you are to challenge such a big goliath as Gerry Spence himself. Again, it says so much about you.
    Don’t get me wrong, I can sympathize with many of the issues you raise as to TLC. I too have been disillusioned, heart broken, furious and felt alone within the TLC walls. I haven't been one of the chosen ones like you, but I don't need to be chosen to understand what TLC can bring to my life.
    I don’t understand where the money comes from to run the ranch. But I was aware, and have been for many years, that the ranch was owned by the Spence trust, with Imagine a direct beneficiary. That has never been hidden to anyone. And quite frankly, where do we get off thinking we should own it? Who are we? Why do we require such entitlement? The Ranch belongs to Gerry Spence, and as far as I am concerned, he maintains the right to do what ever he wants with that ranch at the end of the day. I consider it a blessing that he has shared so much of himself, hoping to create more for others.

    What I have learned and what you seem unwilling to see is even through all its blemishes, dysfunctions, and errors, Gerry and the Ranch has made me want to be a better person and a better lawyer. As long as I continue to want more for myself, I will choose to stay tied to the school. When that is no longer my truth, I realize that it will be up to me to walk away, because it is not mine for the taking.

    If you have problems with the way Gerry does things, go somewhere else.
    If you don't like the way the ranch is run, go somewhere else.
    If you don’t like the way Gerry deals with Racism and Sexism, go somewhere else.
    If you don’t like the way the Board is built, go somewhere else. We all have the capability to go somewhere else if it isn’t working for us.
    The point is, you don’t “own” TLC, it is not yours for the taking, and you should be ashamed from stealing it from others.
    Posted on October 9, 2009 at 4:36 am by Anonymous
  • John Sloan, who has very close ties to Rex Parris...
    John Sloan, who has very close ties to Rex Parris and John Zelbst (together they have a HUGE class action case against Lowes) is the newest member of the board. Jude is adding all white and wealthy people to the board. I guess Spence is getting his own personal country club!
    Posted on October 10, 2009 at 4:56 am by Anonymous
  • I just received my issue of the Warrior. What the ...
    I just received my issue of the Warrior. What the hell is going on? It is so much smaller than in the past and a pretty poor issue overall (except for Maren's great column and that of Thunder). I notice than an article one of our alumni posted on the list serve some time ago and which the author wrote about Joanne and which she said was submitted to the Warrior for publication has been omitted. Just as the author suspected it would be.
    Censorship? Of the Warrior? Really? You have got to be kidding me! Isn't anyone insensed by TLC's censorship? First cutting off the link to Joannes blog, then cutting off links to all Alumni blogs with no explanation. Guess TLC is afraid some of the alumni who write blogs may speak the truth or be critical of TLC so they have to silence the voices of dissent.
    TLC, under the new leadership, is not only censoring and punishhing folks who disagree with them (wasn't it Carl who disagreed with and spoke out against Spence at Staff Training?), but is now excommunicating and getting rid of people who ask hard questions, who speak truth to Alumni, who don't kiss the new leaders ass. Fredi and Carl responded honestly to alumni questions about Joanne's departure at Grad II. Is this their punishment? Carl, Katlin, Fredi,and Lynne were friends of Joanne's. Is this why he got rid of them?
    TLC is a sham. It is nothing more than a corrupt corporation led by narcissistic men who care nothing for others and only about money and power. AIG anyone? Enron anyone? Bush Administration anyone?
    With this latest bloodletting, there is only one minority on the board, only 3 women and NO public defenders. NO poor lawyers either. Where is the TLC that was promised and which we all believed in? It is DEAD! In its place a lifeless, heartless and powerhungry corporation.
    Posted on October 10, 2009 at 5:29 am by Anonymous
  • So, if lawyers are going to meet, they have to mee...
    So, if lawyers are going to meet, they have to meet at some spot.( Warrior Viking Village)
    Gerry does not own a hotel in New York City.
    Recall, he is a country lawyer, and he used to sell bull sperm.( Yes, Norm, Gerry got top dollar for some bull sperm)
    What is it with you, Norm, and his thing on the ranch.
    Norm, why don't you buy a ranch, in New Mexico, I got some spots that might work, call it the "Lil lost souls Sheep ranch", and give Seminars on Winning every dog gone time, and never losing, and how to be a human being in this could chilly world of big Corporations.
    Hell, Norm, I will run the food consessions, if you can get enough people, and charge them top dollar for fine food, and wine befitting Esquires. What will you charge Norm, $ 6,000 per week, how you going to spread the costs, etc...?
    have people to come to a place feed their ego, that they are the chosen ones, the inter VIKING circle, Gerry obviously did not rub your ego the right way, and now it is some blow back.
    Gerry is not a Catholic nun, Norm, he is not into poverty, or the poor living, his wife, designs top end elite places in Ca.
    He lives more high end that most Citycorps executives.
    Are you jealous, or envious, Norm ?
    Sounds like you are thinking about a Norm Pattis Warrior Trial college, for the Super Esuires, and to be so, by just attending the Norm Pattis Intercircle Trial CAMP.
    Posted on October 12, 2009 at 2:57 pm by Anonymous
  • Interesting comments from all over, Norm. Here are...
    Interesting comments from all over, Norm. Here are some guesses about the answers to some of the questions raised:
    To Anon. 2:
    Cashiered Board members will still be invited to teach. But why would they want to? Eff me once, shame on you. Eff me twice....
    To Anon. 3:
    You sound like an insider, a deep insider. Right on about Jude’s “explanation” for throwing the four most recent and most innovative folks under the bus. And I might add “most supportive of TLC and of Jude personally.” Jude’s excruciating pain must have consumed at least one asprin and a coke and a half an hour nap.
    What can the explanation be? One possibility is that Jude (with the Grey Eminence pulling the strings) is planning on making a motion that he knew some folks could not sign on to. What? Could it have anything to do with the “independent” audit supposed to occur in the future? People who unquestioningly buy into Jude’s explanation of his head chopping ways have not been involved for long with TLC and the wiley ways of its majestic maestro.
    Anon. 4:
    Good question. Why WAS she on the Board? She has always had a blank check from TLC to do whatever she wanted to the Ranch. And without prior Board approval. The only answer is that somebody wanted one more vote for whatever they are planning on doing.
    Anon. 6 & 7: Good ideas.
    Anonymous Elle:
    If someone told you that you had hurt them as much as their mother’s suicide, wouldn’t you want an explanation? If only to figure out how to atone for delivering such a stupendous wound.
    Anon. 11:
    Did you graduate from high school? How?
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 9:53 am by Anonymous
  • Norm, in Europe, leave TLC behind, it has smashed ...
    Norm, in Europe, leave TLC behind, it has smashed your world of silence that you learned at the High Mountin Barn.
    You are comparing yourself to a Gerry, who is in some ways is a product of slick marketing.
    Don't do that to yourself, Norm, make peace with yourself.
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 10:07 am by Anonymous
  • It is too bad, that there is not data:
    Winning % a...
    It is too bad, that there is not data:
    Winning % after attending the trial college(TLC), and before, and mix of cases, and assorted.
    But only around 2 % of civil cases in federal courts go to trial, so, most of the practice of law is navigating motions in the civil practice world(not speaking about the criminal side).
    So, Gerry wants to improve lawyers to get off, those charged with crimes, and has devoted his life to help those charged with serious crimes, like Jeff Feiger. to beat the rap.
    On the civil side, the vast time is on motions, from 30 days after a complaint is filed to even psot trial motions.
    But, is that about absent at TLC..?
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 10:17 am by Anonymous
  • Speaking of a slimmer copy of the Warrior, Vicki S...
    Speaking of a slimmer copy of the Warrior, Vicki Slater took full responsibility for this, emailing a TLC alum that "she was responsible for getting the Warrior [magazine] out and the contents was [sic] my responsibility totally. No one but me even saw the magazine before it went out."
    But great minds must think alike as the issue of the Warrior, thin and without a mention of Joane, aligned perfectly with the new President Jude Basile's wishes in a 7/23 email:
    "Let me be very clear. [Joane's] name must be removed from all things associated with TLC like flyers, the Warrior. There should be no articles about her in the Warrior without prior Board approval. Call it a prior restraint if you like."
    AllpPower corrupts and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 4:51 pm by Anonymous
  • Sign me up Norm!! I appreciate your frankness and ...
    Sign me up Norm!! I appreciate your frankness and honesty. TLC is a cult. The last posted comment (which I suspect is by a former long haired part Native American from TX) proves it.
    Posted on October 13, 2009 at 6:47 pm by Anonymous
  • What is the win rate of persons pre TLC, and post ...
    What is the win rate of persons pre TLC, and post TLC ?
    It sounds like a Viagra ad.
    Posted on October 14, 2009 at 9:07 am by Anonymous
  • How much has the Spence TLC gotten in gross fees f...
    How much has the Spence TLC gotten in gross fees from all the stuff it put on ?
    Any have a dollar amount, or some take on
    that ?
    All that stuff on the ranch is the wrong focus, Gerry don't get a lease fee on the ranch like he is renting it out to the Double x Ranch Company for some summer grazing of cattle on his place.
    After Gerry exhausted the biz on selling bull sperm, he figured he would go into running head trips on those Eastern dudes, and coastal lawyers.
    All he had to do is find a way to tap some ego trip, to run some drama layers over those who were in need of some heavy ego enhancments, Kind of like those T V ads about adding inches to the specal parts...
    He played some of you like a fiddle, professionals at the cross-roads of life...
    Posted on October 14, 2009 at 10:06 am by Anonymous
  • Word is that Rex Parris was asked to resign but re...
    Word is that Rex Parris was asked to resign but refused so they are making him some special counsel to the board. I wonder what would have happened had Carl, Fredilyn, Katlin and Lynn refused to resign. I guess we will never know. Sad and pathetic. Gerry and Jude are destroying TLC. Good riddance!
    Posted on October 14, 2009 at 2:59 pm by Anonymous
  • Recently heard that the new "counsel" to the TLC B...
    Recently heard that the new "counsel" to the TLC Board, Rex Parris, has no respect for you Norm and truly believes that your blog will have zero impact on TLC. The suggestion is for everyone to just ignore you and you will go away. Another idea being talked about is eliminating the list serve so the board can control what people say about TLC. None of us should be shocked by that suggestion. Thank god for your blog where we can have free speech and speak our minds. And hey, wasn't it Rex for whom you brokered an arrangement with Gerry to get him on the board?
    The new TLC board is filled with mostly rich, white arrogant narcissists. I still can't figure out what the hell J R Clary and Ann Valentine were thinking when they said yes to the invitation to join the board. And I thought the two of them had integrity. They both were present when Spence personally humiliated Carl Bettinger at staff training. Guess they care more about getting ahead than friendship. Also shows the cult culture of TLC and how an invitation to be near to power and the inner circle is just too tempting to some. Also heard recently that Jim Fitzgerald turned down Jude's invitation to join the board. Now that man has integrity and is obviously smarter than everyone else. And he has the experience with Gerry to know enough that he didn't want to join his inner circle.
    Keep up the good work Norm!
    Posted on October 17, 2009 at 4:34 am by Anonymous
  • The TLC higher tier appoach as to those they
    cut o...
    The TLC higher tier appoach as to those they
    cut off:
    You do not exist, you are not to be acknowledged.
    Nobody in the broader world will believe you.
    TLC will control totally it's new direction.
    Is that what the game plan of Jude. Rex et al. ?
    They view Norm's stream of conscious
    , or subconcious post as some Jung thing,
    that is just floating out there like
    a single rain drop in a Katrina wind,
    hardly even a factor.
    Now, will the Rex view be correct.
    Time will tell.
    If the TLC power structure does not
    see eye to eye with you, effectively, you
    do not exist.
    Suppose, a two way street, however.
    Posted on October 18, 2009 at 6:52 am by Anonymous
  • Some Annon, raised a question on Annon No 11(above...
    Some Annon, raised a question on Annon No 11(above), about the question:
    " Did you graduate from college. ? How ?
    Yes, I did,
    and I did it by staying in school and working hard, and then getting a scholarship to college.
    Did I graduate from college.
    Yes, by working hard.
    did I graduate from law school,
    Yes, by working hard.
    Did I graduate from another law school, LL' M program, yes, I continued to work hard.
    Why,--are all all my diplomas adjudged a fraud, by this new Spence think, and TLC THINK ?
    I am proud of all my hard work to get degrees from estalished Universities.
    Some of you at TLC may scorn that, or run the usually number.
    Or, since I am an Annon, put my in the vortex of some personal Jesus, and living my life in the cults of Teton County Wyoming.
    Posted on October 18, 2009 at 6:11 pm by Anonymous
  • Saw a show on MSNBC about Waco and David Koresch. ...
    Saw a show on MSNBC about Waco and David Koresch. The similarities of that cult to TLC were simply astonishing. The more I read and learn about cults the more I am convinced TLC is one.
    Posted on October 19, 2009 at 3:21 am by Anonymous
  • Is Spence a Minister carrying a bible around ?
    Is Spence a Minister carrying a bible around ?
    Duh, Mike, Norm and Greenfeld are more a CULTY clique than TLC.
    How did Norm run some games on P R with his blog-o ranter buds ?
    Most interesting to see on livid vivid WWW channel display the unbalanced, bi-polar display of the ex Spence TLC grads.
    Thank God Janet Reno is not on the beat, with her tanks, and gas flame throwers.
    The way Mike is on the heat, his blogo-heat thing, one must wonder if he would call on her(or some DOJ Puffy Duffy) to RAID the RANCH ?(the off shoot of the CULT CON) ?
    Or, clean out the barn., or issue a C. A L A, a cult alert from L A proper.
    There is never any guarantees that people will not go off to become unbalanced if they go to TLC, apparently.
    But, Norm still says go for it if one is contemplating going to TLC.
    I wonder just how Norm has used Mike on his agenda.
    The mirror light on that is becoming brighter, day by day.
    So Spence has a personality ?
    At least, he is a living human being.
    But, now it must be a culty crime if one has a personality in America, the dopey stuff generated on this wacko WWW site from Mike and assorted ANNONS
    Except Mike is not a D A or Sheriff Eric Holder.
    All he is is some professional blog-o master, who has left around the blog-o-sphere many of his wacky ways, as he is now roosting at Norm's, WWW spots.
    Posted on October 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm by Anonymous
  • I sure am interested in reading that Jung book. S...
    I sure am interested in reading that Jung book. Sounds fascinating. Here is my OCD side, my name is spelled "Bratcher." It rhymes with "catcher." Also, "Lynne" has an e at the end. Feminine spelling. The main purpose of this, though, is to thank you for the Jung reference.
    Posted on October 21, 2009 at 1:49 pm by Lynne Bratcher

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