College district to re-do vote on selling KCSM-TV; trickery alleged

Daily Post Staff Writer
The San Mateo County Community College District board on Wednesday (Oct. 11) will have to vote on something it already voted on in order to avoid the possibility of having broken the law.

On Sept. 20, the board ratified the sale of KCSM-TV to KRCB, a PBS-affiliate based in Sonoma County, for $12 million. However, Andrew Bednark, a lawyer for Wall Street-backed LocusPoint Networks, sent a letter to the district on Sept. 25 telling it that the district changed the time of the meeting from 6 p.m. to 5 p.m. just one day before.

LocusPoint is suing the district over the botched sale of the station in an FCC auction. LocusPoint agreed in 2013 to pay the district $900,000 a year until the station’s spectrum space could be sold at the auction — and in return LocusPoint would get 36.5% of the proceeds.

But a district vice president failed to put the station on the block at the prescribed time in the auction. As a result, the district missed out on $114 million.

Bednark says the time change violated the Brown Act, a law to ensure open government, because agendas must be posted 72 hours before a meeting. Bednark’s letter claims the board changed the time to keep the public from speaking about the sale of the station.

According to a report from district counsel Eugene Whitlock, the time change was a typographical error. However, Whitlock advises the board, “out of an abundance of caution,” to re-ratify the sale.

The board is slated to vote again on the ratification on Wednesday at 6 p.m., at 3401 CSM Drive in San Mateo.