Bloggers Notes: In Chapter 3, I recounted the California Military History Foundation’s (CMHF) courageous battles with the Dynasty in the California Legislature and the Governor’s Executive branch. In Chapter 4, I explain:
- Why the California State Military Department disenfranchised a nonprofit veteran’s organization;
- How they disenfranchised the California Military History Foundation;
- What the consequences of this disenfranchisement to California State Military Reserve and the Nation’s State Defense Forces
I resume my series, “Fight at the Museum,” with……
A Dynasty Expands its Empire
This was the scene when the Dynasty’s plot was revealed to me. I was at a coffee shop near the California National Guard State Headquarters in Sacramento, California in 2005.
It was a chance encounter, an unplanned meeting, when I joined LTC (CA) Joe Righello, the State Military Department’s Government Affairs Officer, and LTC John Haramalis, the President of the National Guard Association of California (NGAC) for a cup of coffee. They were gossiping about Maj. Gen. Thomas Eres, mocking him, alleging state lawmakers disparaged him, and abdicating their responsibility to correct any misconceptions or misunderstandings our civilian leaders may have had of our adjutant general.
I defended Eres, arguing it was their job, by virtue of their positions, to “set the stage” for Eres’ audiences. Their response was telling, and gauging from their tone, Eres was their Hitler, leading the State Military Department astray of their self-serving interests.
“You don’t know the man Stan! He (Eres) is a mean man!,” Righello said. Both continued on with what I perceived as their rants about the man’s character. For me, it was an epiphany of a Cal Guard Valkyrie, so to speak, the plot to overthrow Eres and establish a Dynasty’s control over the California National Guard. Because of my professional and working relationships with the “Valkyrie’s” key figures, I was able to connect the dots of unfolding political events surrounding the Dynasty’s junta and usurpation of the next three adjutant generals.
I had a birds-eye view of their three-pronged conspiratorial attack launched in 2005. The Dynasty and NGAC collaborated to ambush Eres with politically lethal, lobbying in the California Legislature and Governor’s Office. They sued him in Sacramento Superior Court on allegations of strong-arming Hollywood filmmakers and withholding a fictitious $90,000 the Hollywood tycoon intended for the NGAC. And they infiltrated the dysfunctional State Active Duty (SAD) rating chains, with Dynasty evaluators, intimidating SAD-employed subordinates into acts of espionage, undermining generals, neutralizing staff loyal to Eres, and terminating those who challenged their growing power.
For the Dynasty’s opposing factions within the state headquarters, it was the sign of California National Guard scandals to come, casting gloom inside the Military Department. For the California Military History Foundation (CMHF), it was an apocalyptic revelation of doom, the coming of its Armageddon and its advancing four horsemen of plot and destruction–a.k.a. collusion, subversion, intimidation, and deception–galloping at full-speed toward the Fight at the Museum.
They surreptitiously resisted Maj. Gen. William H. Wade’s acts of reparation with the CMHF. When Wade released Foundation-owed legislative appropriations, the Dynasty purportedly lobbied lawmakers to reroute Foundation appropriations through the State Military Department. When the adjutant general negotiated a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Foundation to release withheld legislative appropriations via temporary State Active Duty Payroll monies, the Dynasty was instep with plots to undo the processes.
After Wade honored the Foundation’s choice of Lt. Col. (CA) Anthony Palumbo (see page 14 attached link)–son of a museum forefather Maj. Gen.(Ret) Anthony Palumbo–as that temporary SAD hire until the museum’s revenue flows resumed, the Dynasty was reputedly scheming to oust him, hijack the position, and hire cronies as permanent SAD employees willing to disenfranchise the Foundation and take control of the museum. When Wade relegated himself as a voting member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors recognizing their autonomy from the Guard’s Chain of Command, the Dynasty was already planning to standup a 3,000-person renegade California State Military Reserve (CSMR) under their cronies chain of command.
The Dynasty was gathering its army, forming a coalition of political entities, surrounding the California Military History Foundation to steal”Grandpa’s Guidon,”pilfer Foundation’s Ark, and expand a Dynasty’s Empire.
Raiders of the Stolen Ark
Col. (CA) James Gabrielli was the coming messiah of this new empire within the Dynasty’s kingdom, according to Cal Guard insiders.
Gabrielli had political clout with Governor-elect Edmond “Jerry” Brown, political currency for a Dynasty seeking Brown’s endorsement of Col. David S. Baldwin as California’s 46th adjutant general. Gabrielli became close friends with the career politician while Brown was mayor of Oakland, CA. The retired Guardsman managed the Oakland Military Institute (OMI), a branch of the National Guard’s federally funded Youth Program.
The OMI has been Brown’s “pet” National Guard program since he was Governor in 1975 when it was the Oakland Military Academy. While Oakland Mayor, Gov. Gray Davis made the OMI a charter school. Today, several California Corporations and interest groups pay roughly $3.5 million “tax deductible” donations to the OMI Charter School, some allege, for Brown’s favorable consideration of policies impacting their businesses, reports Bay Area New Group’s Josh Richman.
OMI’s political muscle made the California Military History Foundation (CMHF ) the perfect sacrificial lamb, and the California Center for Military History (CCMH) the ideal pawn for the Dynasty to expand Gabrielli’s Youth Program empire in return for Brown’s appointment of Baldwin. Cal Guard State Personnel insiders tell California’s Home Game that Gabrielli himself admitted to a similar pact. The Dynasty and Gabrielli reportedly collaborated to stage Baldwin’s “recall” from Afghanistan to assume command of a “scandalized” Cal Guard–scandals that Baldwin arguably had a hand in orchestrating.
The Military Department, State Personnel Directorate had to reclassify Gabrielli as Director, Youth Programs to accommodate his promotion. In order to rationalize commensurate duties and responsibilities for a general officer, the Dynasty had to subordinate the CCMH to the Youth Programs directorate: translation, increase Gabrielli’s annual salary approximately $100,000, and disenfranchise the CMHF.
On April 16, 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown formally appointed Baldwin the adjutant general. On Oct.4, 2011, the Dynasty created the Youth and Community Programs Task Force (YCPTF) and Baldwin assigned Gabrielli its commanding general, according to a memorandum signed by Baldwin. The Dynasty had already downgraded the CCMH from a”General” to “Colonel” Officer,”so Gabrielli could have the higher rank for which the CCMH Commanding General was not paid.
Baldwin arguably created a Posse Comitatus-like situation. The National Guard is part of the organized militia, operating under the charter of Active Duty Army and Air Force, bound to DoD regulations, according to National Guard case-law. DoD Regulations (see page 1, Paragraph 2-Applicability in attached link) preclude the National Guard from including SDFs in its Defense Support to Civilian Authorities (DSCA) missions. Baldwin crossed the regulatory line separating the “National Guard” from the “State Guard” when he reorganized the CCMH as part of the Organized Militia, and stripped the Foundation, a state franchise, of the CCMH command that Gov. Ronald Reagan originated in 1977 under Title 32, section 109.
Against this backdrop, the “Gabrielli Deal” has the earmarks of a conspiracy. Since Gabrielli worked fulltime for the National Guard, was paid, in part, with federal funds, and received increased compensation for commanding a state guard, or state defense force, unit,” he personally profited. This is arguably a coercive deficiency in violation of the Anti-Deficiency Act (ADA). By representing the Cal Guard as its”ex-officio”voting member on the its board of directors, while simultaneously being in charge of that same board, Gabrielli had a conflict of interest in violation of Government Ethics laws.
But the Dynasty commands with the impunity of a “Governor’s Mandate,” and apparently neither fears, nor heeds, federal laws and regulations. This emboldened their newest King to unleash the horseman of intimidation. Gabrielli appointed himself Palumbo’s rater, and, with no knowledge of Palumbo’s pre-agreed performance goals and objectives, counseled and fired him using standards of “hearsay” and “gossip,” according to personnel reports California’s Home Game’s uncovered.
Baldwin was forced to reinstate Palumbo after Foundation Chairman Roger McGrath intervened. McGrath argued that the Foundation, not the YCPTF, supervised Palumbo under the MOA that Wade negotiated. The Dynasty retreated from its groundless allegation that Palumbo “disobeyed” Gabrielli’s direct orders.
The Dynasty, however, sent forth its horseman of deception and maneuvered around this MOA as well as state and federal laws. The YCPTF declared Palumbo’s position a permanent SAD slot–the YCPTF’s museum director. They pressured the Foundation to hire Palumbo as their “Museum Director” funded by the museum’s “non-taxpayer” revenues. The Dynasty, in effect, undermined the legislature’s directive to release appropriations the Military Department withheld by diverting funds Wade released through the SAD payroll system into the YCPTF.
The Dynasty dispatched their horseman of subversion, cleverly infiltrating the Foundation with staff hired through Youth Programs. Such was apparently the case with Staff Sgt. (CA) Daniel Sebby, according to Foundation documents California’s Home Game has acquired. The Foundation had terminated Sebby as its curator for allegedly losing an automatic weapon from its vaults, and “misplacing or “failing to account” for military artifacts private citizens donated to the museum, according to Foundation records and Sacramento Police reports. Sebby was insubordinate when he refused to follow Palumbo’s directive to facilitate a 100 percent inventory to reconcile these discrepancies.
The Dynasty, however, hired Sebby in Youth Programs, then detailed him, in effect, as the YCPTF museum supply NCO mirroring the Foundation’s supply NCO. Sebby was allegedly the turncoat who collaborated with the Dynasty to trump-up charges of Foundation mismanagement. He was reportedly a snitch providing insider information to stage a “state audit” of the Foundation’s property books through the newly created State Inspector General office.
An audit to which the Foundation agreed, provided the examination was conducted within parameters of AR 870-20, Sebby was not the “middle man,” and audit didn’t substitute the Army History Center’s inspection and museum certification review. The Dynasty scheduled the audit for Sept. 25, 2013, but abruptly postponed it indefinitely on the eve of the inspection. Instead, without warning, the Dynasty sued the Foundation in Sacramento Superior Court on Sept.26, 2013, alleging the Foundation “mismanaged the Museum” and “posed a “public safety risk” for possessing and dealing in automatic weapons that Sebby allegedly removed. The allegations were reportedly based on Sebby’s opinions and nuggets of “Operation Cornerstone” minutes culled from 1980s NGAC secretary reports. Home Game contacted Sebby who declined comment.
Sympathizing with Foundation, the Sacramento Superior Court granted an “Ex Parte” hearing on Sept. 30,2014. The formal hearing was heard on Nov. 22, 2013, at which time the Dynasty outrageously asked the Court to order the Foundation to capitulate its inventory to the Adjutant General, and name the State Military Department in the lease for Museum building in Old Sacramento in lieu of the Foundation. Shocked, the judge ruled in the Foundation’s favor.
But the Dynasty’s three-pronged attack was now at full-throttle and the Court’s decision had little sway. With access to the taxpayers’ deep pockets, the Dynasty was ready to outspend the Foundation in court, while blindsiding them with their legislative lobby. In what might be construed as “covert action,” the Dynasty directly campaigned California lawmakers to revise the California Military and Veterans Code (CMVC) by: deleting all references to the Foundation; amending Foundation budget language; and transferring the authority of the museum business plan to the adjutant general from the Foundation.
“The fact that the military museum foundation was referred to [sic] directly in state law is very unusual and unorthodox, and quite frankly, improper,” Lt. Col. (CA) Darin Bender, the Dynasty’s chief of state policy and liaison later tells the Sacramento Bee.
Bender’s understanding of state and federal laws governing non-profit organizations and historic preservation is sophomoric at best. But I suspect he was fully aware of the State Military Department strategic goals, confident California media would buy his sound bite without fact checking. The Dynasty successfully exhausted the Foundation’s resources, forcing the board of directors to close its doors on March 8, 20014, and pressuring them into a an inequitable out-of-court settlement in August 2014.
“It’s a shame,” said retired Maj. Gen. Robert Thrasher, the adjutant general who presided over the 1990 ground-breaking ceremonies to construct the museum. “It’s kind of like the Smithsonian of Sacramento for the military.”
The YCPTF started interpreting the Court agreement as they saw it, declaring citizen artifact loans as “state property” and claiming ownership of the Foundation’s property books. A mad scramble ensued with: the YCPTF acquiring the lease to the museum in Old Sacramento, reneging on that contract, and forcing the Foundation to clear all artifacts from the building. Lt Col. (CA) Brian Anderson, YCPTF executive officer, reportedly authorized Sebby to confiscate many of the museum artifacts before the Foundation had a chance to move them. Sebby was captured on videotape confiscating many of the artifacts.
Like the final scene in the movie, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” hundreds of thousands of dollars of artifacts have disappeared into the dark corners of Cal Guard Bureaucracy. Without either signing for, or inventorying the artifacts, Sebby and Anderson are suspect in losing sight of the Curtis Hall long-gun collection (each musket of which would sell anywhere between $5,000 and $20,000 at history auctions), and civil War Gatling guns ($50,000-$85,000). By following the questionable orders of Gabrielli, and the newly installed CSMR Deputy Commander Col. (CA) Michael Herman, Anderson and Sebby are perhaps the “Raiders of the Stolen Ark.”
A California State Military Reserve Civil War
But the Dynasty’s “Fight at the Museum,” also has profound, and maybe devastating, ramifications for the California State Military Reserve (CSMR) and the Nation’s State defense forces (SDF). The CCMH is a relevant SDF because it operates under a state body other than the National Guard and interacts with the DoD. Most, if not all, 26 states and territories with SDFs lack this relevancy.
The CSMR forefathers and their commander in Chief Gov. Ronald Reagan formed a perfect union of mission and peacetime SDF when they conceived the CCMH one score and 19 years ago. By disenfranchising the Foundation, the Dynasty is dissolving this union, compelling those passionate to history mission to secede from the CSMR in search of volunteerism to satisfy their passion for charity. Now that the Cal Guard has assumed the role of the state body in charge of California’s SDF, they are forming a confederacy of forces consisting patronage workers, warrior wannabes, and those seeking to fulfil military ambitions they could not attain while in active Guard service.
Conceived within the parameters of Title 32,Section 109, and dedicated to the militia principles intended in Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution, California’s “Fight at the Museum” is the Nation’s SDFs “Gettysburg,”testing whether a CCMH properly conceived, or any SDF, can long endure, or forever perish from the face of American Constitutional landscape.
The battle for “Grandpa’s Guidon,”is the CSMR civil war. The CCMH chain-of-command autonomy is the Nation’s SDF’s model of autonomous authority under state entities other than their state National Guards.
For SDFs, it a civil war for their identity as the America’s true Minutemen, the real state guard.
In Chapter 5, I write how the State Military Department have displaced Museum Civilian jobs, hired cronies to replace them, and are disintegrating the California Center for Military History. I conclude with the debate of whether the California Military History Foundation (CMHF) or the Adjutant General represents Army History Command (AHC) for museum activities, and argue for an Army Inspector General and broader-scoped state and federal investigations into the “Fight at the Museum.”
Personal Note: I dedicate this chapter to Mother Teresa’s prayer, “Do it Anyway.” Despite the oppression of a Dynasty that would neither recognize nor reward their efforts, more than 100 California National Guard Headquarter staff, California Center for Military History staff, and field headquarter staff persisted in their duties to perform their jobs within the parameters of the state and federal law realizing the Dynasty would not recognize them, and in fact, might punish them. In the end, it was never between the Dynasty and us, but between us and one state and Nation under God.