Florida-Based Broadcasting Company Ordered to Pay $910,700 to Federal Communications Commission
WASHINGTON – A federal judge has issued a judgment against Newman Broadcasting, Inc., in the amount of $910,700, for the company’s breach of its contract with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu announced today.
The judgment was issued on Sept. 4, 2018, by the Honorable Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. It resolves a lawsuit filed in June 2016 by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia that alleged that Newman Broadcasting and its principal owner had violated the False Claims Act in dealings with the FCC.
Newman Broadcasting, a Lake City, Florida corporation, entered into an agreement with the FCC in which the company agreed to pay the FCC for certain rights to certain radio frequencies, less any bidding credit for which it was eligible. During the bidding and application processes from 2005 through 2007, the company certified it was eligible for a 35% new entrant bidding credit and satisfied all of the requirements. Because Newman Broadcasting was in part controlled by an experienced radio station owner with other stations in the same market, Newman Broadcasting was not eligible for the new entrant bidding credit it received at the time and, therefore, breached its agreement with the FCC.
The defendants’ attempt to have the case dismissed was denied by the court in August 2017 and after discovery, the parties entered into a settlement agreement that included an entry of judgment against Newman Broadcasting, Inc., for its breach of contract with the FCC.
The case was investigated by the FCC Office of the Inspector General, as well as the Enforcement Bureau and the Office of General Counsel for the Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Justice, and was prosecuted by Deputy Chief Brian P. Hudak, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Beverly Russell, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Wynne P. Kelly of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. Investigator Karen Caudill assisted in both the investigation and prosecution of the case.
The case is captioned United States v. Newman Broadcasting, Inc. Case No. 1:16-CV-01169-CKK (D.D.C.).