(Toledo, OH) The bid by Cornerstone Church to acquire WGNT (UPN-48) ran into a hurdle, as Marty Miller filed an objection with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny the transfer of the low-power transmitter license.
I had a lengthier article chronicling the battle between Cornerstone and Miller in the Toledo Free Press a few months back.
This keeps the beleaguered station in receivership for the time that the federal agency reviews Miller’s petition.
The complaint by Miller cites conflict of interest, failure to follow due process, and “character issues” as reasons why the FCC should deny the license transfer.
“We will fight this hostile takeover with every tool available,” said Miller. “We hope that the FCC petition will at least buy us some time to put together a financing package.”
The battle between Miller and Cornerstone extends back to the late 1990s. Cornerstone has provided financing to keep the station afloat; Miller believes that the church used its financial position in order to further its unstated goal of owning a television station.
“From the very beginning they got involved with one goal: owning WGNT,” he said. “I have learned some hard lessons about being too trusting.”
Cornerstone Church offices are closed for the holidays, but minister Robert Pitts denied Miller’s accusations in an earlier interview with the Free Press.
“We are just as likely to sell the license and recoup our investment as we are to take on the day-to-day operation of a television station,” he said. “At this point we have made no plans on the future of the station, since we are waiting for the court to make its decision.”
Ralph DeNune, the attorney overseeing the UPN-48 receivership, said that the motion filed by Miller interfere with the acquisition of the station by Cornerstone.
“I’m not sure what happens next,” he said. “The objection will likely delay the license transfer by 3-4 months.”
Miller remained upbeat.
“I have an investment group putting together a proposal as we speak,” he said. “This will be the time we need to rescue UPN-48.”
This article also appears in the Toledo Free Press, a terrific local paper.