FCC Files Brief In Appeal Of Ruling In Battle Over S.C. FM
March 19, 2012 at 4:28 AM (PT)
The FCC has filed its appellant brief in the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA in a case arising from the fight between creditor and debtor over the license of Urban WPAL (now Contemporary Christian WAYA)/RIDGEVILLE-CHARLESTON, SC, asserting the agency's authority to approve the license transfer from GRESHAM COMMUNICATIONS to a state court-appointed receiver and the subsequent sale of the station by the receiver to CASWELL CAPITAL PARTNERS, LLC.
After creditor NANCY R. BEACH won a $56,276.10 judgment against GRESHAM in 1998, she sold the debt to CASWELL, which sued GRESHAM to collect in 2006. A state court ordered the WPAL license attached and sold at auction, which CASWELL itself won. When GRESHAM did not cooperate in filing for consent to the sale with the FCC, the court appointed CHARLES W. CHERRY, II as receiver and the paperwork was filed and approved. GRESHAM appealed the approval at the FCC and won a partial victory on the basis that the court could not attach the license, but did not overturn the grant of the involuntary assignment to the receiver, saying that the FCC does permit licenses to be held on a temporary basis by receivers.
"The Commission acted within its broad discretion over spectrum licensing determinations when it consented to the involuntary assignment of the WPAL-FM license from GRESHAM to the state court-appointed receiver, as well as the subsequent voluntary assignment of that license from the receiver to CASWELL. The agency’s decision therefore should be affirmed," the Commission's brief reads, continuing that the state court attachment of the license was a "procedural misstep" but did not compel the Commission to deny consent to the receivership and subsequent sale.