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No response to last attempt to elicit a reasonable response…


January 25, this email was sent to artEAST Trustees Steve Ahlbom, Kathy Scearce, Susan Walker, Julie Christensen Rackley, Jan Lipetz, Nancy Dunn, and Kathy Reid, and also to artist members Mitch Albala, Kate Vrijmoet. January 27, it was sent to Kathy Huckabay, artEAST Treasurer and Sammamish City Councilmember.

No reply.


I was once an active participant, volunteer, and generous donor. Despite a longstanding record of positive contributions to artEAST, a few years ago, the Executive Director singled me out for mistreatment. My concern about her behavior, sent to another board director in a personal email, resulted in the launch of a distortion campaign against me, and since that time, I have been abused, threatened, lied to, lied about, stonewalled, and ostracized from the local artist community by the artEAST leadership. This indefensible bullying has been kept under the public radar. Neither the participants nor anyone else in a position of responsibility accepts accountability. You are involved in artEAST. Were you aware that this has been going on?

Recognizing that public exposure of these activities will have serious consequences for the organization has motivated me to put considerable effort into finding alternative solutions, but after almost three years, my attempts to communicate with an unresponsive board of directors have failed to elicit any rational response.

artEAST leadership has contravened government requirements to operate as a non-profit and committed hateful actions that are outside the norm of human decency and conflict with the organization’s own rules and ethical policies.

My very last attempt to elicit a reasonable response is to reach out to you and a few others who are connected with artEAST. If you feel concern about the handling of this matter and the principle issues it entails, please contact me without delay—today. I will be happy to answer questions or provide documentation. If no artEAST representative is willing to engage in respectful dialogue, I will be left with no option than to bring the issue to the attention of the media and the public, and it shall be publicized within the next few days.

Related articles:
Social Aggression

No response from President Bob Prowda, Refuses Letter

The power of a distortion campaign should not be underestimated. artEAST President Bob Prowda’s rejection of civil communication from someone he has never met suggests an aversion which otherwise would be difficult to explain.  As an expression of contempt, stonewalling is in breach of artEAST’s Core Values Policy and subject to disciplinary action. Unless you are the President. Or a board director. (See more about stonewalling or the silent treatment.)

againstbullying2sqI hope you are, too.

December 1, 2015       

Dear Bob,

At long last, I am reaching out to you about serious problems within artEAST. The board of directors has been advised to not communicate with me, and when I contacted Farshad Alamdari, the previous president of the board, I found him unaware, and also, unwilling to engage. 

What started with a personal dispute; an insulting remark from Karen Abel, became an institutional matter when she and her friends on the board of directors used their positions of power to retaliate against me for disapproving of how I had been treated.

I don’t know what has been said about me at board meetings because I was never allowed representation. My requests for information were mostly rejected, and the answers that were afforded me were vague and accompanied by intimidations. All I know is that I have been vilified by a distortion campaign and that several directors have participated in the process of penalizing and ostracizing me—without stating any wrong-doing on my part.

Evidently, some artEAST directors have assumed the authority to make decisions that harshly impact the life of an individual member. The directors involved did not hear my side of the story before judging me, and afterwards, I was explicitly forbidden, under threat, to speak with anyone except Mike Larson, who was largely unresponsive and unhelpful. 

Some of the directors have never met me, yet were active participants in making decisions about me. Keeping me in the dark has meant that I have been unable to defend myself and prevented from contributing to a more balanced—and truthful—account of events. It has also meant that the participating directors have evaded accountability for their decisions and actions.

Your predecessors have allowed the conflict to perpetuate, and while I recognize this is a most difficult situation, I am hoping that its challenges will not discourage you from taking responsible action. I trust you will understand the gravity of the implications for artEAST if this matter continues to be ignored, and recognize that respectful communication is a bare minimum to resolve any conflict.

If you are open to discussion and problem-solving, I would appreciate hearing from you without delay, and I shall be happy to present the case documentation and to answer any questions you may have.

Enduring over 2 years of discrimination has been more than enough. In the event I don’t hear back from you within 4 days of receiving this letter, it will be understood that the communication ban imposed upon me is permanent and that dialogue is not going to be possible. Regrettably, I shall see no other option than to report irregular practices to authorities governing non-profits and move the discussion to the public sphere, should my concerns once again be dismissed or ignored.

Through blogging activities aimed at educating visitors about the disproportionally dominant fraction of humanity that lacks the capacity for empathy, I support other abuse victims and take a stand against a bully culture that normalizes and celebrates abusive behavior. If this subject is of interest to you, please visit my most popular blog

I stand in truth and I shall not be silent.


There can be no doubt Bob Prowda got the message. Determined to get through with my invitation to respectful dialogue—before bringing facts of the matter to the attention of the public, copies of my letter were sent to his PO box address in Preston in two different envelopes. Only insignificant changes were made to the wording.

No response.


See also: The Distortion campaign and Stonewalling.

No response from former Vice President

In this email to Jamie McKay, who I had been nothing but friendly with, I ask why she is participating in the hate campaign against me. Despite the sincerity of my efforts, she did not respond and her reasons remain elusive.

Subject: artEAST issue
Date: April 3, 2015 3:46:24 PDT
To: Jamie McKay <jamiej>


I am writing to you because, after suffering almost two years of abuse from artEAST leadership, I am now prepared to inform the membership and the community about what has been going on and I would like to know if, by any chance, you have had a change of heart. I realize that you no longer are a board member, but you have played a role in this sordid affair.

It has been difficult for me to accept that you suddenly and without explanation switched your demeanor towards me from one of compassion and profuse apologizing for how I had been treated to a stance of contempt. As far as I am aware, I have never been anything but kind and respectful towards you, yet you have ignored me when I have reached out to you to discuss the situation and you even signed your name to a document that willfully misrepresents me.

You are surely aware that the abuse directed at me took off after you shared my private email mentioning Karen Abel’s conduct. Not once, during the almost two years it has been going on, have you or anyone else associated with artEAST wanted to know what actually happened. I have been judged, convicted, and penalized without a hearing by artEAST officials, including some who have never met me, only because I complained to you about mistreatment. Any reasonable person can see that this is wrong. It is bullying, and bullying is always wrong.

When you were at my house, we shared a vision of a friendly and supportive artist community. What could have possibly convinced you to engage in this level of cruelty; and become part of a veritable witch hunt intended to hurt me and ostracize me?

People have reasons when they refuse rational dialog and escalate conflict instead of attempting to resolve it. Typically, it is because they derive a sense of superiority and sadistic delight from inflicting suffering and humiliation on another human being (as exemplified in Megan Somerville-Loomis’ email of March 26, 2014, sent to me inadvertently: “I hate feeling left out, tee he [sic].”) Taking pleasure in another person’s misfortune is not normal.

I still don’t believe that you are this type of person, but like most of us, susceptible to the influence of this personality type. Adult bullies are often masters of persuasion, fully capable of manipulating entire groups to alienate an individual they don’t like.

However, no one has to participate. You can say no to hatred and abuse.

It is simply not possible to be neutral when you know that someone is being mistreated. In any abuse situation, bystanders who remain passive are actually enabling and supporting the abusers. You need to understand that ignoring my plea once again will be understood as an endorsement of the social aggression imposed upon me. Communication is fundamental to understanding and solving problems. If you choose stonewalling over communication, it will tell me that you still hold me in contempt, though I will not understand why.

Public exposure has now become the logical consequence to artEAST leadership’s continued unilateral authoritarian approach, abuse of power, and dishonest and underhanded maneuvers with intent to harm and evade accountability. I have connected with several organizations/agencies for support and started a web presence.

Adult bullying and toxic personalities are subjects I have studied extensively, and I disseminate information on these issues across the globe through my blogs. Listed below, you will find a selection of a few brief, accessible, and particularly relevant articles from different sources that can contribute to a more objective evaluation.

Denying, Discounting, and Dismissing Abuse
Abusers operate on the sly.
The Role of the Enablers
Empathic people are natural targets
Sociopaths Recruit Minions
Adult Bullies

I hope to hear from you.


No response to inquiries about August 2013 board meeting minutes

Tax Lawyer and artEAST board director Mike Larson denied the existence of the board meeting minutes I had requested to see, then mailed them to me a month later. The clip shown below reveals a decision to deny me membership but it is vague, lacks rationale, and has some peculiarities. In my email to Mike Larson, below, I ask for clarification, but this was denied me. 


Subject: Re: August board meeting
Date: November 6, 2013 1:44:23 PST
To: Mike Larson <>


I made a request for information October 1, and after sending a second inquiry a few days later, you told me that you would respond on October 14. Last Friday, one month after my original request, I received your letter with what looks like minutes from the ArtEast board meeting of August 14.

The minutes refer to “the drafted letter” concerning me, evidently prepared before the August board meeting. What information sources was it based on?

It’s unfortunate that the wording in the minutes is vague. Phrases such as “the situation,” “this matter,” and “the issue” are used in the minutes and by you but it is not at all clear what is being referred to. There were concerns brought to the attention of the gallery team in the Spring, but I have not addressed the board and neither have I authorized anyone else to represent me.

The executive director acknowledged that the gallery team “messed up” and the vice president apologized profusely for how I had been treated, but at the August board meeting it was agreed that I “should be removed from ListServe and not allowed to renew membership” if I reapply. On what grounds did the board arrive at that position? I think I’m entitled to know who made the suggestion and why.

The line about banning me from ArtEast was striked through. This, too, calls for an explanation.

All questions were ignored. 

The Membership Ban

You are not safe to freely share your opinions or thoughts about any topic that goes against the narcissist’s reality. You are not allowed to express your own reality. It is the individual who won’t stop thinking for themselves and expressing the truth they witness who become the “scapegoat” in a family or social context; the person on whom all the problems and dysfunction will be blamed for or deemed the cause of.

Scapegoating is in effect a smear campaign. The individual who’s got the courage to face down the narcissist’s attempts to squash the truth is bullied by the group to enforce compliance with the group’s (the narcissist’s) mentality, lest face ostracism.

The decision to ban a longstanding member and generous contributor was made arbitrarily behind closed doors. It was kept secret—even the targeted individual was kept in the dark.

artEAST leadership has not been forthcoming with their reason and has refused to discuss the problems or consider an approach other than strictly authoritarian and unilateral.

The decision makers omnipotently acted as jury, judge, and executioner—without a hearing. Surreptitiously, and without the membership’s knowledge, some board directors contravene official rules and engage in ongoing ethical violations; harassing, malicious, and vindictive behaviors, employing underhanded and dishonest tactics to harm an individual member who has done nothing wrong—and with no accountability.

The member had mentioned disrespectful treatment from Karen Abel in a private email to Jamie McKay, who was vice president at the time. In retaliation, Karen Abel and her supporters have invested considerable ingenuity and effort to penalize and socially isolate the member, who has suffered a damaged reputation, mental anguish, exclusion from the local art community, and is barred from participating in events at the art gallery and other local art related cultural events—without a valid reason, without being heard, and without permission to appeal. artEAST board directors have made it clear that they will not engage in dialogue and Karen Abel has stated that the discriminatory decision is irreversible.

Contempt for the most basic principles of justice with a callous disregard for the rights and feelings of a fellow human being are implicit in acts of social aggression. Mike Larson, an artEAST director and tax lawyer with Pivotal Law Group in Seattle, has never met the targeted artist, yet has been a particularly active participant.

image0011Immediately after the board meeting when the decision was made, in August 2013, a letter was sent to the targeted artist by registered mail on stationery from Mike Larson’s law firm. The document attempts to cast the artist in a negative light by misrepresenting facts, but oddly, makes no mention of the board’s decision to take punitive and retaliatory action against her. Evidently, the decision to prevent the artist from continuing her membership was to be kept secret—even from the target herself.

It wasn’t until several months after the fact that I happened to find out. I asked Mike Larson for an explanation. This request was refused. Other artEAST representatives have also been unresponsive, and to this day, I have not been able to verify if the membership ban decision was unanimous, as claimed by Mike Larson, or the doing of a small clique without the knowledge of the other board directors.

turn the tablesPeople who know me will describe me as quiet, thoughtful, and reasonable. I had not broken any rules or behaved in any way that could even remotely be considered disruptive or threatening, yet now it became clear that artEAST leadership, including individuals I have never met, were using their positions to harm me.

Tactics known as staging and framing or baiting and bashing, synchronized with smear campaigning, are standard practices of toxic personalities. Typically, they also enlist others to participate in insidious and cruel retaliation against a target who sets boundaries, expresses a difference of opinion, or objects to mistreatment. To give their spiteful behavior the appearance of legitimacy, abuser and supporters turn the tables and attempt to make the victim look like the wrongdoer. ( See DARVO and Playing the Blame Game as a Manipulation Tactic.)

Just as the intent to penalize and exclude me from the community was kept secret, so was the reason. Denied an answer from the people who are in a position to supply one, I have instead endured blatant abuse and intimidation tactics, including a distortion campaign, false allegations, gag orders backed up by threats, and stonewalling; behaviors unequivocally contrary to artEAST’s Core Values Policy, which also prescribes—but, it seems, is unlikely to ever enforce—disciplinary action for misconduct.

The membership has no say about who will represent them on the organization’s governing board. artEAST directors choose each other for these positions. Decision making behind closed doors and maintaining a low level of transparency allows leadership to abuse their powers and violate the rules of the organization when it suits them, with solidarity within their group ensuring them protection from criticism.

Without oversight there is no accountability, bullies expect no repercussions from their malicious activities, and abuse with impunity perpetuates. artEAST leadership has demonstrated repeatedly that it prefers to use power over reason and has no interest in resolving issues respectfully.

My persistence in requesting an explanation eventually delivered this remarkable statement from Pivotal Law Group tax lawyer and artEAST board member Mike Larson:

“The Board unanimously voted to not accept your membership renewal because your viewpoint on specific events continues to differ so significantly, and intractably, from our member’s feedback regarding the same events and thus we deem it absolutely necessary for all parties involved to completely end the relationship in order to close the issue and move forward. This member feedback extends beyond the November 13th incident* and to protect those members, we will not be providing names or additional information.”

What is he saying? Here’s one translation: 

We all agreed to ostracize you. Sharing the same (undisclosed) viewpoint about specific (undisclosed) events as our (undisclosed) member(s) is a condition for membership. We shall treat you with disrespect, violate your rights, and ignore you to prevent you from questioning or refuting the (undisclosed) statements made about you by (undisclosed) informants and to relieve these (undisclosed) informants, and ourselves, of accountability.

opinionsMike Larson implies that other member’s feedback, whigh might also be called malicious gossip, is the board’s justification for punishing and ostracizing a longstanding member and generous contributor to artEAST. His assertion that the board’s vote was unanimous is questionable, but with their stonewall policy in effect I have been unable to uncover the truth of the matter. Even in the unlikely event that all board members, having committed to supporting the local arts, artists, and an organization with open membership, feel it appropriate to counter a difference of opinion with social aggression; the actions that have been taken are beyond the scope of their authority and in breach of government expectations, not to mention morally reprehensible. There may be safety in numbers, but cowardice runs rampant there, too. Stonewalling is used to escape accountability.

Note that the board’s “investigation” and subsequent conclusions were made without the subject’s participation and without all relevant facts on the table. The bullies investigated themselves and found themselves to be without fault.

Larson also informed that no further explanations would be given. In other words; he would not clarify any of his ambiguous statements, the accused (victim) would not be allowed to know the charges held against her or who was making them, or permitted an opportunity to defend herself. Furthermore, he delivered a gag order; commanding her to not speak with anyone connected with artEAST under threat of harassment charges.

*The “November 13th incident” refers to Karen Abel’s unexplained refusal of this artist’s contributions to the last Small Works Show, despite successful participation in years prior.

The Essence of Tyranny

Control of information

Why didn’t the artEAST board of directors discuss the problem with me before making the heavy handed decision to ban me from the organization? Why was I not informed that this group of people, most of whom have never met me, had made a decision that affects my life? Why was I refused an explanation, after I found out? Why did they stonewall me when I attempted to engage in rational dialog? Why was I “instructed” to communicate only with board director Mike Larson, even though he was unresponsive and abusive? Why was I told, under threat of harassment charges, that I was not permitted to speak with anyone?

Has the membership been notified about the board of directors’ policies limiting their freedom of expression?

Is this behavior acceptable from the board directors of an art organization dedicated to supporting the local arts and artists?

Tax Attorney and artEAST board member Mike Larson:

“We appreciate every opportunity to make artEAST a better organization, one that is responsive and respectful of its members.”

No response from the President

Subject: artEAST Bullying
Date: March 18, 2015 11:38:28 PDT
To: Farshad Alamdari <>


Starting several months ago, I have made repeated efforts to connect with you to inform you about serious problems within artEAST. My latest email alerting you to the abuse has been ignored along with my inquiries; including the question of what you intend to do about it. Even if your position within artEAST is non-executive, you hold the title of President and you have an obligation to act upon reports of misconduct.

artEAST is a public institution. One of the conditions for tax exemption is that membership is open to the public. The public grants that the organization has been awarded also come with the expectation that its practices are non-discriminatory and above board. This means that any official who abuses their position or contravenes rules and regulations is a threat to artEAST’s continued operations.

stonewallingI don’t know the reason for your silence, but if it means that you decided to ignore the problems and stonewall me, then you are complicit in the bullying. You may also be seen as enabling activities that are detrimental to artEAST. If you do not intend to take any responsibility for resolving problems, nor refer me to someone who will, then you leave me with no other viable option than to take the matter to others; including the membership, the community, and the authorities.

Adult Bullies

Over the past two years, individuals within artEAST leadership have slandered and abused me using unscrupulous false allegations and deceit, refused to hear my side of the story, and violated my rights as a member. With my attempts at rational communication consistently ignored or dismissed, I shall now redirect my efforts to the public arena and engage anti-bullying organizations, government agencies, and others as I continue to protest leadership misconduct and the discrimination and mistreatment I have been subjected to. Legal action is also being considered.


No one can make you communicate, but you need to understand that the implications of inaction are most serious from now on. I have not yet succumbed to threats or blackmail, nor will I. It is only through respectful dialog that a better outcome for the organization can be achieved.

This will be the last time I implore you to consider your responsibilities, moral imperatives, and the best interests of artEAST. It is my hope that you will make the heroic choice to take a stand in favor of ethical behavior and democratic principles—and against bullying.

Greetings, [Victim]

PS: With the risk of causing cognitive dissonance, this article; The Role of the Enablers, spells out some disconcerting and relevant truths.

No response from fellow artist

Hi Greg,

When we spoke at the gallery on Sunday, I was surprised to hear you say that you do not hold an official position at artEAST. Checking the website, I see that you are listed as a trustee. Is that an error?

No matter your position at artEAST, your disinterest in the bullying problem is disappointing. Even if you don’t care that another individual is being abused or concern yourself with the moral implications, you might consider the harmful effect that bullying has on the organization. Turning a blind eye to abuse is, in effect, supporting it.

With the risk of causing cognitive dissonance, here is an article that spells out some disconcerting and relevant truths: The Role of the Enablers. I encourage you to cast a glance at it.

Greetings, [Victim]


The Board of Directors

From the website:

In all non-profit organizations, Boards of Directors play an important role in strategic planning, goal setting and fiscal decisions. For artEAST, a young, fast growing organization, our Board of Directors is vital to the shaping of our future. We are fortunate to have board members who provide not only hours and expertise, but “heart” and a passionate dedication to our mission and dreams.

President Vice President Treasurer Secretary
Farshad Alamdari
Farshad Alamdari
Bob Prowda
Bob Prowda
Kathy Huckabay
Kathy Huckabay
Barbara Jirsa
Barbara Jirsa

Steve Ahlbom
Greg Bartol
Mike Larson
Jan Lipetz
Julie Christensen Rackley
Kathy Scearce
Susan Walker

Advisory Committee

Rob Pollack

No response from the President

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 3.04.19

February 11, 2015


I haven’t seen a response to my latest emails alerting you to the bullying problem, and my questions remain unanswered. The article attached below is very relevant to the situation. The accuracy with which the descriptions of adult bullying in the article match my own experiences is unnerving.

The abuse has been going on for almost two years and I have had more than enough. Without further delay, I need to know what you intend to do about it. Hopefully, we can work together towards a resolution.

Greetings, [Victim]

Denying, Discounting, and Dismissing Abuse

Why is it so easy for an abuser to get away with it and so difficult for an abuse victim to be heard?

The typical serial bully is a Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde personality type (male or female) who has put considerable effort into establishing and maintaining a respectable and credible public persona. Bystanders may believe they know him well, that he is a genuinely righteous person, and that he couldn’t possibly be capable of the malicious behavior he is accused of. Unable (and probably unwilling) to imagine that they have been deceived, their logical conclusion is that the accuser is the antagonist, acting out inexplicable malevolence. With derogatory implications about his target’s mental state, lack of character, or foul motives, the abuser fuels this role reversal. Feigning moral indignation and playing the part of the victim, he encourages supporters to see the real victim, who is attempting to be heard, as the abusive one.


Dr. Vaknin explains: “Even the victim’s relatives, friends, and colleagues are amenable to the considerable charm, persuasiveness, and manipulativeness of the abuser and to his impressive thespian skills. The abuser offers a plausible rendition of the events and interprets them to his favor. Others rarely have a chance to witness an abusive exchange first hand and at close quarters. In contrast, the victims are often on the verge of a nervous breakdown: harassed, unkempt, irritable, impatient, abrasive, and hysterical.”

“Confronted with this contrast between a polished, self-controlled, and suave abuser and his harried casualties, it is easy to reach the conclusion that the real victim is the abuser, or that both parties abuse each other equally. The prey’s acts of self-defense, assertiveness, or insistence on her rights are interpreted as aggression, lability, or a mental health problem.”

Dr. Sam Vaknin, Narcissism by Proxy


Three cognitive strategies have been identified for when people deny, discount, or dismiss occurrences of abuse and for turning away from effective steps to stop it and hold abusers accountable:


Reflexively dismissing all evidence as questionable, incomplete, misleading, false, or in some other way inadequate.


Using euphemism, abstraction, and other linguistic transformations to hide the abuse.


Turning away: ‘I’m not involved,’ ‘There is nothing I can do about it,’ ‘I have no authority, jurisdiction, power, or influence,’ ‘This is no concern of mine,’ etc.

See also:
Adult Bullies
Bullied to Death
Abusers operate on the sly.
DARVO: Deny Attack Reverse Victim/Offender
Why is it so hard to hold abusive people accountable for their actions?

Elie Wiesel Quote Art

No response: Core Values Policy

The President of the board of directors, Farshad Alamdari, did not respond when asked if Karen Abel, Executive Director, is bound by artEAST’s Core Values Policy. His silence suggests that she is not. It also implies that he is not bound by them, either. If no one is required to follow the rules, and there are no consequences for breaking them, then what is the point of having them?


The obligation of lawyers…

Despite the fact that Mike Larson, a tax lawyer and artEAST board director, had never met me or communicated with me; he produced a document concerning me, presented it at the August 2013 board meeting, and apparently, had it approved by a group of people, including several who have never met me. The letter that I subsequently received, based on the approved document, gives the appearance of answering questions and addressing concerns—but they are not my questions or concerns. The letter does not represent me at all. Instead, it consists of offensive disinformation and innuendos. I asked him about his information sources but he would not tell me.

Recognizing the blatant bias, distortions, and disregard for my experiences in the matter, perturbed about being misrepresented, and curious about established ethical expectations of his profession, I did a little research and found a statement on that validates my own view of how a lawyer should conduct himself:

Fundamental Principles Of Professional Conduct 1 (

The continued existence of a free and democratic society depends upon recognition of the concept that justice is based upon the rule of law grounded in respect for the dignity of the individual and the
capacity through reason for enlightened self-government. Law so grounded makes justice possible, for only through such law does the dignity of the individual attain respect and protection. Without it, individual rights become subject to unrestrained power, respect for law is destroyed, and rational self-government is impossible.

Lawyers, as guardians of the law, play a vital role in the
preservation of society. The fulfillment of this role requires an understanding by lawyers of their relationship with and function in our legal system. A consequent obligation of lawyers is to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct.

January 2015: Membership fee is refunded.

We’ll deny you membership — and keep your money.

From: artEAST Art Center <>
Subject: Your Membership Application
Date: January 19, 2015 3:40:16 PST
To:  [Victim]i

Per our previous communication*
with you on this matter, your membership application has been denied.  Your fee has been refunded.  Further application fees will be retained to cover administration costs.

artEAST Board of Directors

No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG –
Version: 2015.0.5645 / Virus Database: 4260/8960 – Release Date: 01/19/15

*“Per our previous communication…” is a useful phrase to imply reason when reason is lacking. 

Addressing the President for help.

Subject: Fwd: Your Membership Application
Date: January 19, 2015 6:10:51  PST
To: Farshad Alamdari <>


Are you aware that there is bullying within artEAST? I replied to the email, attached below [above], asking who sent it and on what grounds I am denied membership, but there has been no response and I doubt there will be. Bullies don’t give reasons.

The abuse has been going on for almost two years and I have had enough. Without further delay, I need to know what you intend to do about it.

Greetings, [Victim]

The President doesn’t want to get involved.

It is the general unwillingness of bystanders to undertake any type of risks that bullies often rely upon in order to maintain their power.


From: Farshad Alamdari []
Sent: Monday, January 19, 2015 6:21 PM
To:  [Victim]
Cc: Karen Abel []
Subject: Re: Your Membership Application

Hi – sorry but I don’t get involve with artEAST operations and processes. PLease contact Executive Director, Karen Abel. Thanks


| Dr. Farshad Alamdari| artPATH LLC | 206.484.9888 | |

“You have been treated with the utmost respect…” 

[…on a few occasions.]

From: Karen Abel []
Sent: Tuesday, January 20
To:  [Victim]
Cc: ‘Farshad Alamdari’; Mike Larson
Subject: RE: Your Membership Application

Dear [Victim],

You have received numerous* written, verbal and email communications regarding your membership as well as your concerns of mistreatment. Your concerns were addressed* and the issue was closed. (letter attached).  For the reasons stated in the previous letter (attached), the Board decided to not accept membership from you.  That position has not changed, nor will it change.

You have been treated with the utmost respect and courtesy* by everyone you interacted with during visits in 2014 to the Art Center and Blakely Hall, including during your attendance at the members-only salon night to which you were not invited.

Further communication on the issue of membership will not be addressed,** and your attendance or attempt to attend members-only events, will be considered harassment of the artEAST staff and volunteers.

Karen Abel
Executive Director

*[Half-truths are deceptive statements that include some element of truth.]
**[Stonewalling is the opposite of “the utmost respect and courtesy.”] stonewallingcontempt

Informing the President of the board of directors.
No Reply.

Hi Farshad,

Karen Abel dismisses my concerns in her latest email of January 20 by claiming that they have been addressed. That is not true, and in any case, it is not for her to decide. Not only have my concerns not been addressed; I have not even been consulted! As you can see exemplified by the letters Karen Abel attached to her email, the approach I have been subjected to has been one-sided, heavy-handed, and authoritarian. Reason and respectful communication are absent where, instead, attempts are made to bully me into submission.

It is important that you know the chronology of events for a correct understanding of some statements being made, in particular, attempts to incriminate me. From what I have gathered, it was the August 2013 board meeting that decided to deny me renewed membership, but as you can see by the letter sent to me after the meeting (and attached to Karen Abel’s email,) the decision was intentionally concealed. I learned about the decision in November 2013 and found it unacceptable for several reasons; I had not been represented at the meeting, no explanation whatsoever was given, and most importantly, because I had done nothing wrong. Without rational justification or due process, any decision to penalize any member is in opposition to the organization’s purpose and discriminatory, and therefore, cannot reasonably be considered valid. Note that later on, it is my subsequent protests and requests for an explanation that they used retroactively to justify the membership ban, again alluded to in Karen Abel’s email. This technique is sometimes called “baiting and bashing” or DARVO, wherein the victim’s reactions to the abuse are pointed to as the reason for the abuse.

Nowhere, in any of the communication I have ever received from artEAST, is there a clear statement of any wrongdoing on my part. This fundamental question is still not answered in Karen Abel’s latest email, where, in the absence of substance, she relies on vague innuendo and states unabashedly that the question shall remain unanswered, threatening with harassment charges if I don’t accept it. This behavior is hardly “the utmost respect and courtesy” she speaks of in her email. It is manipulative and malicious.

*Selective “honesty” is used to add credibility to a fundamentally dishonest and malicious endeavor.

It is true that I have received numerous communications from artEAST, as Karen Abel points out, but they have misrepresented me and my views as well as the actions of artEAST officials. Without more in-depth knowledge, you may not be able to distinguish the fabrications and distortions used by Karen Abel and Mike Larson, but the threats to intimidate me from responding and the directors’ policy of stonewalling are clear to see; with the latest examples explicit in the last paragraph of Karen Abel’s email. Some artEAST officials apparently feel entitled to deny me the right to request an explanation, challenge false statements, and refute or question malicious allegations. This pattern of controlling behavior and provocations followed by stonewalling is consistent with an intent to escalate conflict, not resolve it. artEAST officials have acted as jury, judge, and executioner in a case that looks a lot more like a personal vendetta, pursued by a few individuals using the organization as their private club, than an accountable application of clear and fair official policies. We must insist that directors and staff adhere to the organization’s rules. They are not entitled to arbitrarily make up their own.

Bullying and ostracizing an individual is never OK. It is cruel and hurtful, and it goes without saying; completely contrary to artEAST’s Core Values Policies. For these policies to carry any weight, the organization must have effective systems of accountability and reports of bullying must be taken seriously. I’m sure that you now can see why it is not realistic to suggest I contact Karen Abel, and also, why I would prefer that my correspondence with you is not shared. I reached out to you in the hope that you are a man of integrity and reason and because you are the highest authority in artEAST. I hope to find in you an ethically guided leader who will act in the best interest of the membership; recognizing the important values and principles that are at stake as well as artEAST’s reputation and eligibility for tax exempt status, which it depends upon for its operations.

I will not accept my case as closed simply because someone in a position of power with a vested interest says it is, and I hope that you won’t either. It is undeniable that the decision to terminate my membership was made secretly and against the rules, based on unverified information, without consulting with me, and without warning by people who, mostly, have never met me; and that there is a repeating pattern of artEAST officials engaging in hostile activities followed by evasion of accountability with stonewalling and threats.

I look forward to meeting you, but in the meantime, I am open to any questions or comments you might have. I do not compromise on my commitment to truthfulness and integrity.

Greetings, [Victim]


Martin Luther King Jr.

Wherever bullying occurs, you will find small-minded, morally deficient individuals goading the bully. They participate in the abuse and become the bully’s minions.

“Abusing someone isn’t any fun if it’s only a party of two. With a crowd, there’s unlimited potential for drama. If it were just the abuser and her target, it wouldn’t be worth it to carry out a full-fledged hate campaign.”
From: The Role of the Enablers

From: “Mike Larson” <>
To: “Karen Abel” <>
Cc: “Farshad Alamdari” <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 20, 2015 12:08:26 PM
Subject: RE: Your Membership Application

Karen:  [Victim] is certainly persistent. Well done. Mike

Michael A. Larson
Attorney at Law


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No response to inquiry: Who is the record keeper?

On Feb 5, 2015, at 1:11 PM, [Victim] wrote:


Please let me know who holds the position of record keeper for artEAST. Thank you.

Greetings, [Victim]

The President won’t say.

On Feb 5, 2015, at 1:49 , Farshad Alamdari wrote:


As I have mentioned before I am the non-executive President. As such I am not involved in day-to-day business of the artEAST. The best person for your needs and questions is really Karen.

Thank you,

| Dr. Farshad Alamdari | |
Sent from my iPhone

Isn’t he paying attention? No reply.

From: [Victim]
Subject: Re: artEAST record keeper
Date: February 6, 2015 5:25:14 PST
To: Farshad Alamdari <>


Referring me to Karen Abel suggests that you did not read my earlier email in which I explained that there is a problem with her. I also wonder if you read her email of January 20 that she cc:ed to you in which she attempts to impress on you that I have been treated with “the utmost respect and courtesy,” and at the same time, threatens me and attempts to intimidate and discriminate against me.

Does Karen Abel have unlimited managerial powers? Is she not bound by artEAST’s Core Values Policy? To whom shall I report her misconduct, if not to you?

That email alone, with Karen’s manipulative approach directed at you and her blatant hostility towards me, should be enough to indicate that there are serious problems. Wouldn’t you consider this issue to be above and beyond the scope of day-to-day business?

I understand you’re busy. Before troubling you about the record keeper’s contact information, I sent emails to several artEAST officials. They were unresponsive and I  was not able to get a straight answer to a simple question. It is important for you to know that, to maintain its tax exempt status, the organization is required to make its records available upon request. Your cooperation in this matter is much appreciated.

Thank you.


Adult Bullies

Adult Bullies

Stonewalling is a tactic commonly used by bullies to control the situation and to isolate, humiliate, and frustrate a target who attempts to resolve a conflict through reasonable discussion or negotiation. Accusing the target of mental deficiency, harassment, or even bullying, are other methods of asserting dominance, intimidating the target, and discouraging objections to mistreatment and exposure.

No response from Karen Abel

February 8

Ms. Abel:

In your recent email of January 20, your misrepresentations of the situation together with your assertions of power over reason compel me to respond with some clarifications.

In your email, you state that my “concerns were addressed.” This is not true. None of the “numerous” communications I have received from artEAST have ever addressed my concerns. Why do you mention the quantity? It has no significance.

It’s interesting that you are keeping a record of the sightings of me at the gallery and Blakely Hall and that I have been treated wonderfully—from your point of view. I am curious about the purpose of mentioning these public incidents when no visible bullying occurred. Obviously, your opinions aren’t going to change my experiences. Was it someone else you wanted to give the impression that no misconduct has taken place?

In any case, it is entirely irrelevant how I was treated on the few public occasions that you chose to mention. The abusive behaviors—inherently contrary to the “utmost respect and courtesy” you allude to in your email—have always been surreptitious and kept under the public radar.

Over the years I have attended and contributed to numerous artEAST events, I have never harassed anyone. You cannot criminalize me by expanding your definition of “harassment” to include my continued, rightful presence. Ironically, it is your vilification tactics that correspond to the dictionary definition of “harassment.”

This continued use of manipulative rhetoric to euphemize social aggression is indefensible, and the deceptive intent should be apparent to every normal, rational human being. Regardless of how you choose to describe it, you cannot legitimize using your position to pursue a personal vendetta. It is reprehensible.

Your personal remarks in June 2013 were not delivered with “the utmost respect and courtesy,” and neither is the veritable witch hunt that has continued to this day following my mention of the incident to Jamie McKay. As an individual, you are entitled to your opinions about a member’s artistic abilities, but as artEAST staff, you are not entitled to make derogatory and disrespectful remarks.

In declaring that “the issue was closed” and that further communication “will not be addressed,” you reassert in your recent email the stonewalling policy I was previously informed of; that my questions and concerns will be ignored and that ambiguities in communications I received will not be clarified. No one would regard this refusal to acknowledge, listen, or respond as “the utmost respect and courtesy.” The established definition describes stonewalling as a form of abuse; a power trip and expression of contempt used to control, penalize, humiliate, and to evade accountability. It violates artEAST’s stated commitment that every person “… is treated with respect and dignity, and is safe and protected from abuse.” 

This pattern of provocations and uninformed dictatorial control, backed up by threats and stonewalling, shows a callous disregard for the targeted individual and is consistent with an intent to escalate conflict, not resolve it. These acts violate the rights of the individual and offend the most basic principles of democratic and civil conduct. They also contrast sharply against the organization’s purpose, as well as the values and commitments that each director is obligated to.

It is quite some time ago that I clarified in 11 points why a membership ban is unacceptable. With only one of the points ever responded to, and unsatisfactorily, sufficient reason to change my position has still not been presented. The imaginative reasons for rejecting my membership renewal, listed in the letter you attached to your email, differ from those previously revealed to me. How do you account for that?

Stating that “the issue was closed” is understood as an expression of your preference, not as a realistic account of the situation. Your January 20 email constitutes indisputable evidence that bullying is still occurring and that the bullying issue remains unresolved and ongoing.

All bullying; including smear campaigning, attempts to ostracize, intimidate, and antagonize; stonewalling, threats, and other hostile behaviors directed at me or any other member, is an act of social aggression that is unethical, unacceptable, and in direct conflict to artEAST’s Core Values Policy.

As Executive Director, you are obligated to serve the best interests of the membership, yet you jeopardize the organization’s continued operations by setting yourself above its rules and contravening government requirements for tax exemption, which artEAST heavily depends upon.

Your use of the phrase “the utmost respect and courtesy” rings hollow in the context of persecuting and ostracizing an artEAST member; behavior that is unethical, unacceptable, and subject to disciplinary action under artEAST’s Core Values Policy. Any intent to penalize or harm an individual is unethical and unacceptable. Abuse with impunity can never be acceptable.


Small Works Show

SmallWorksThis show recurred annually in November/December at the gallery. With a preference for the small format in much of my artistic creations, I had contributed regularly to this event for several years.

For the 2013 Small Works Show, which was to be the last, I had gone through the familiar process of committing my participation, signing up for a volunteer position, completing required paperwork, and bringing my artwork to the gallery on the prescribed date.

However, this time, my name had been removed from the list of participating artists. The intake volunteer proceeded to accept my submissions anyways, but just as the process was completed, Karen Abel approached and commanded the volunteer to reject my work.

I asked Karen Abel for a reason. She would not tell me, and instead said: “We have gone over this before.” That is not true. I had not even communicated with her for several months prior. She also said that I had received a letter from “the lawyer.”

The letter I had received from tax lawyer Mike Larson stated that the Small Works Show was for members only, which I knew, and that my membership had expired in June, which I had been unaware of. I informed Karen Abel that I intended to bring my membership dues up to date but this had no effect on her intent to bar me from participating in the show.

After this rude rejection, I did pay my remaining membership dues for the year. The amount was later sent back to me, noted as “your voided gallery purchase.” Still no explanation.


A Sociopathic Transaction

From The Empathy Trap: Understanding Antisocial Personalities
by Dr Jane McGregor and Tim McGregor

dotrow_09One out of about every 25 individuals has an antisocial personality disorder.dotrow_09

The authors describe an incident or exchange involving a sociopath as a “sociopathic transaction.” Here’s what they say about it:

dotrow_09For a sociopathic transaction to be effective it requires the following threesome: a sociopath, an empath and an apath. … The usual setup goes something like this: On seeing the sociopath say or do something underhanded, the empath is forced to make a stand. The empath challenges the sociopath, who throws others off the scent by shifting the blame to the empath. The empath becomes an object of abuse when the apath corroborates the sociopath’s perspective. Ultimately the situation usually ends badly for the empath, and sometimes also for the apath (if his conscience comes back to haunt him or subsequently he becomes an object of abuse himself). Frustratingly, however, the sociopath often gets off scot-free.


I believe my experience with artEAST parallels the “transaction” described in this article, except with more apaths involved. Read more…

Letter of August 15, 2013

The adult bully is a master of
deceit and insidious innuendo.

“Smear campaigners carefully and strategically use lies, exaggerations, suspicions, and false accusations to destroy your credibility. They hide behind a cloak of upstanding heroism and feigned innocence in an attempt to make as many people as possible think their efforts are based not on their vindictiveness, but on upstanding concern.”

“You still have the same opportunity…”

Blatant lie. This deceptive statement conceals the board’s decision to deny my membership renewal, which I didn’t find out about until several months later.

“Karen Abel made multiple attempts…”

This statement implies that Karen Abel made heroic efforts to correct the situation, and therefor, cannot be at fault for failing. Both sides are misrepresented through this tactic. The target is falsely implicated as demanding and unreasonable while Karen Abel is falsely attributed with sincerity and goodwill.

“It is our finding that she followed protocol…”

Karen Abel did not follow protocol. The “finding” is based solely on her testimony about her own behavior, as the victim was never heard. Conclusions were reached without properly investigating the matter and the word “finding” is used deceptively to imply otherwise. artEAST officials have acted in blatant disregard of the most basic principles of civility and justice.

“…monetary contributions cannot…to do so would not be ethical…”

Another malicious misrepresentation; a straw man, formulated as if a response to an inappropriate request for preferential treatment, when in reality, nothing of the sort had occurred. Insidious innuendo is used to implicate the target as morally depraved while crediting the bullies with moral integrity. How ironic—not to mention hypocritical—for the author(s) to speak of ethics while engaging in such moral treachery!

“We do take our members concerns to heart.”

behavior never liesThis contradicting declaration appears in the context of secretly deciding to ostracize a concerned member. It is nothing but another disingenuous impression management tactic. How is it possible to take anyone’s “concerns to heart” without hearing what they have to say?

“…your request…”

What request? I made no request. I wasn’t even heard. The phrasing is yet another unscrupulous incrimination tactic contributing to Mike Larson’s framing strategy.

“…a perceived lack of respect and consideration…”

A base form of invalidation. Derogatory comments are disrespectful and inappropriate—independently of how they are perceived.

Core Values Policy

See separate post.