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Board Problems Trip Up LPFM CP

Massachusetts case also involved spacing problem

The Federal Communications Commission recently denied an application from a Massachusetts nonprofit for a LPFM construction permit — most notably because one individual was listed as a board member by three separate companies for the same CP.

In 2013, the organization US Pro Descubierta (USPD) applied for a construction permit for a new LPFM in Seffner, Fla., during the 2013 LPFM filing window.

The application was dismissed at first due to a problem with minimum distance separation between stations. But information in the paperwork was the group’s final undoing. USPD listed a Frank Greer as a board member; it turns out he was also listed as a board member with two other applicants in the same 2013 filing window. That move violates the “inconsistent application” rule that a second application filed in a window such as this one would be treated as conflicting and would be subject to dismissal.

The Media Bureau also found that USPD was not eligible to hold an LPFM license because its corporate status with the state of Massachusetts had lapsed several years prior to the application. The bureau said that the application was further defective because an amendment filed by USPD revealed that an entirely new board had been installed following the filing of the application, which violated the commission rule prohibiting a change of more than 50 percent of a board of directors during the filing window.

[Read about another recent case involving board turnover at an LPFM applicant.]

USPD filed several petitions for reconsideration and applications for review to contest the Media Bureau’s original denial, at one point alleging misconduct by the bureau staff for failing to reinstate the application after USPD filed corrective technical amendments, including proof that Massachusetts had reinstated USPD as a valid corporation.

But the commission said the claims of staff misconduct were unsupported. The application was “fatally defective” due to the board restructuring, and additional arguments were moot because the application had been dismissed correctly. On April 26, the commission upheld the bureau’s finding, saying that “this major change in control of USPD constituted a fatal application defect.”