MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia Radio Corp., which did not enter the second round of bidding for WVU’s third-tier media rights, wants the university to unveil the original bid files, according to a protest filed Wednesday.

In a 17-page document sent to WVU’s director of procurement Brenda Mowen, WVRC restated last month’s request for a hearing involving athletics director Oliver Luck, Board of Governors chairman Andrew Payne, state attorney general Patrick Morrisey and procurement office member Tim Bostonia.

Luck and Payne were found to have engaged in inappropriate communications during the original bidding period, resulting in a process Morrisey said was marked by “significant errors and sloppiness.” Payne owns a stake in West Virginia Media, which partnered on IMG’s winning bid in January. IMG’s proposal was disqualified — and all competing bids tossed out — upon the revelation that Payne received confidential information from Luck, according to emails obtained from a freedom-of-information request.

University president Jim Clement removed Luck from the committee evaluating the second round of bidding, and likewise, Payne recused himself this time. However, WVRC contends the latest request-for-proposal (RFP) — at 92 pages, far more detailed than the original —was “tailored to cater” to IMG and West Virginia Media. The new proposal apparently reflects plans the school made with IMG College before irregularities came to light and the negotiations were stalled. The revised RFP calls for bids to be returned by June 18, followed by bidder presentations June 28 and notification of a winner in August.

WVRC, the parent company of MetroNews, is owned by John Raese, a WVU graduate whose criticism of the bidding improprieties led to Morissey’s investigation.

WVRC’s latest protest also seeks to have Mowen barred from considering it, on the basis she ignored university policy by refusing to grant a hearing last month. (The protest cites WVU procurement rule 7.2.4: “In the event the protestor requests a hearing on the merits of the protest, the Chief Procurement Officer shall set a time and place for the hearing.”)

What’s more, WVRC contends that Mowen now be recused from overseeing the third-tier rebidding.

Clarksburg attorney Frank Simmerman, counsel for WVRC, stated in the company’s protest that:

  • Allowing IMG and WV Media to participate in the rebidding of multimedia rights “constitutes turning a blind eye to confirmed breaches of public trust and confidence.”
  • “IMG and WV Media have a tarnished record which cannot simply be cast aside or otherwise shielded by a re-bid.”
  • “Five innocent bidders spent substantial time and money initially participating” in the third-tier proposal process.

Third-tier rights involve any TV broadcasts of football games that are not picked up by a major network, several non-conference basketball games, as well as radio broadcasts, coaches’ shows, stadium sponsorships and online content.

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Comments

  • Jay

    The most foul-smelling and unattractive cologne one can wear is called "desperation." WVRC is wearing it like an 18-year-old college freshman boy doused in Axe. From the outside looking in, a chuckle and eyeroll quickly turns to sadness and sympathy for the pathetic waif.

  • Dave Berkey

    Unconvinced:

    Interesting stuff/angle. A revered friend in Govt procurement had the saying: "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes they are rained out".

    It's likely that WVRC isn't playing in the rebid as they realize they are up against the big boys and don't have a chance.

    The power of the press is not going to trump the
    Government procurement process. It may be a Luck thing but I'm thinking it's a disappointed bidder unable to accept a loss, and acting like a child to to "get back" in all ways possible.

  • tw eagle

    greer industries is doing everything they can to protect their lucrative "cash cow" , that being the broadcast and coverage rights to all WVU sporting events. . .any more delay in the RFP process will probably default the broadcast rights to greer for another year - or partial year . . .IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY

    • Wilson

      WVRC has never had free media rights. Period. WVRC has never owned any of the 3rd tier rights except for the coach's radio programs. WVU has always kept the 3rd tier rights in-house via MSN and WVU has always kept 100% of the revenue generated from those rights. Don't you folks understand this is NOT about WVRC getting the rights, they did not even bid the 2nd time around....this is about maintaining the integrity of our university.

  • hoot

    cronyism and favoritism have been standard
    policy at MSN and WVRC for years..
    (I speak from personal experience here).
    Mr. Raese needs to take his microphone and go home.

    • Allan Taylor

      Hoot: Do tell your tales of cronyism. I love a good history lesson.

      • WVUGRAD1995

        You are new to the scene and are obviously ignorant to how things have transpired in the past. Get a history lesson and then respond!

        • Wilson

          hoot and WVUGRAD1995;

          You both suggest you know so much....please do tell all of us about your "tales of cronyism" and "how things have transpired in the past". I've been around this state for my entire life and a lifelong WVU fan......and I just want WVU's name and reputation clean as a whistle. I remember the Heather Bresch situation and now this. I love WVU too, but I want everything done with honesty and integrity......is that too much to ask?

  • Unconvinced

    The "end game" for WVRadio is too throw as many kinks into this bid as possible and delay it, so that WVRadio can get some investors together and rebid, or find a company to bid and subcontract the radio rights -- That's what is not being said here.....

    What's sad is the Metronews refuses to state the fact that IMG asked WVradio to carry the radio broadcast but they declined saying too much money was needed......

    All WVRadio is going to do now is keep WVMedia from being able to subcontract with anyone....

    But I guess in this day and age Radio is SOOO much more important than TV -- I mean, to think computers might someday be the future

  • Michael

    The actual "end game" appears to be total transparency with every I dotted and every t crossed....PLUS awarding the bid to a lower bidder who only by coincidence is John Raese.

  • rtdeco

    everybody has made their point...move on. this is beginning to take on the persona of a middle school cat fight.

    here's a new flash for wvrc....you lost...you didnt re-bid...dont let the door hit you on the way out.

  • ffejbboc

    *yawn*

  • jfk

    who cares didn't read the article

  • Guardian

    The end game is simple - make it a clean process wherein cronyism and favoritism cannot be a factor and where transparency is the rule.

    • hailey

      The end game is quite simple... to try to hurt the Univeristyand cost them $$. WV residents will speak via thier wallets and WVRC and J.R will be the one's that pay the ulitmate price a huge loss in wallet share.

    • chad

      Right, because the man behind all this has never ever engaged in those practices. Give me a break.

    • Art in Ohio

      I thought we were past the end game. The WV AG cleaned this up and the bid was presented where cronyism and favoritism was not a factor. I do not understand why this is still an issue with WVRC .

      • Alum

        Because Mr. Ewing, er I mean Raceme, uh Raese is determined to drag this out so he can be a WVU protagonist for another year. Save the lectures Allan. Your ultimate boss said he would bow out if rebid. It was rebid and now he is still crying foul. He has done everything except what he claimed he would do. Too bad he wasn't elected to the US Senate because he would fit right in. Remember, do as I say, not as I do. His hypocrisy is incredible.

    • Wilson

      EXACTLY!

  • j

    Stop pouting. I've lost so much respect for Metro news for this. Its ridiculous

    • Wilson

      It seems to me that RESPECT is what WVRC is trying to maintain and secure on behalf of our university....and many that post on this site are wanting to destroy the messenger....can't understand that.....

  • Bob Melphis

    The "step-and-fetch-it" propagandist for WVRC are at it again.

    • Allan Taylor

      Bob, good to see you haven't forgotten your favorite 'P' word. But all this article did was summarize the legal challenge ongoing between WVRC and WVU on an issue that could amount to something in the neighborhood of $100 million.

      • WVUGRAD1995

        You are a toddie for your boss and should be ashamed. The memories of your greatest accomplishments via Alabama high school sports must be of great comfort. Looser!

        • Shadow

          I can only hope you were an out-of-state student because your sense of honesty doesn't scour with the WVians I know. Luck and Payne were unscrupulous in their conduct on a bid proposal. Your desire to reward bad conduct shows. I don't care who wins, I just want it to meet the honesty standard.

  • Dave

    justice

    • chad

      Justice??? Hardly. The mronon is using his fortune to try and run the A.D. out of town because he lost. Justice.......Ha!!!!

  • Bill

    So what's the end game here?

    If WVRC "did not enter the second round of bidding for WVU’s third-tier media rights", then what is their goal?

    Thanks.

    • Big John

      If they did not enter a bid then they are not an interested party and have no legal standing in this matter. I feel that if they think they can prevasil then they are badly mistaken and I am sure that if Mr. Rases wants to sell his holdings place a price on them and the citizens of West Virginia can find a buyer. It is a shame after the fine work they have done for WVU that they are doing this to WVU especially since WVU gave them free media rights for all tghese years and I wonder WHY?

      • Allan Taylor

        Big John, we already debunked the "free-ride" myth that was perpetuated within the past couple months. (To recount: WVU charged no rights fees, but WVRC paid between $400k and $500k depending on the year in other services, and the broadcast company SPLIT ad revenue with WVU.) That said, outsourcing the media rights to IMG or Leerfield or one of the other bidders, does guarantee a set amount of revenue each year — removing the dips that can sometimes follow poor seasons.

        • WVUGRAD1995

          9 vs .5 any statistician will explain the difference to you if needed!

        • Big John

          When you state that the amount paid to WVU was only $500000.oo and IMG was 9 Million does this not indicate that unfair dealings were going on. I understand your position but as the Attorney General stated it was not even required. The next thing will be to check everyones expense accounts even though not a taxpayer dollar is given to WVU. How much did Mr. Raese contribute to WVU last year? I am sure that the taxpayers of West Virginia will pay him back.

        • Big John

          If WVRC wants to sell their radio stations let Raese set a price and we will help him in his endeavors to be rid of West Virginia University. I am sure we can find stations that will pay for WVU broadcasts.

      • Wilson

        WVRC has never had free media rights. Period. WVRC has never owned any of the 3rd tier rights except for the coach's radio programs. WVU has always kept the 3rd tier rights in-house via MSN and WVU has always kept 100% of the revenue generated from those rights. Don't you folks understand this is NOT about WVRC getting the rights, they did not even bid the 2nd time around....this is about maintaining the integrity of our university.

        • Big John

          Our integrity is fine at WVU. Need to know the exact amount WVRC paid WVU the past 5 years? You will be surprized how little it was. Alan Taylor can find that out or maybe no one wants to know how much they paid WVU as it would be so embarrasment to all involved. How about it Alan Taylor are you game?

    • DB in Richmond

      By attacking the actual bid package by claiming that it was tailored for IMG, WVRC is trying to get IMG barred AND trying to invalidate the bid package itself. Ergo, a new bid will have to be issued. WVRC gets another year of its sweetheart broadcast rights and gets the chance to bid the next go around, having knocked out the primary competition. This has nothing to do with justice. This have EVERYTHING to do with profits. Anyone who claims otherwise is either misinformed or a shill for Mr. Raese.

      • Allan Taylor

        DB: You're correct that WVRC wants IMG barred, because that's how the state bidding policy deals with such entanglements — the tainted proposal is removed and a contract is rewarded from the best of the remaining bidders. Luck and Payne's involvement, verified within the AG's report, did create an improper advantage for IMG, or at the very least the appearance of an advantage. Now, I believe WVRC's attorneys are interested in hearing from Luck and Payne regarding the extent of their communications (some of the FOIA'd email content was redacted), and WVU's procurement rules appear to promise a hearing to legal and timely protests. Thus far, WVU has denied the hearing request. ... As for your assertion that Raese is simply trying to stall for the purpose of extending a sweetheart deal for another year, I don't think the hard feelings on either side would allow for that right now.

        • WVUGRAD1995

          You should be denied the forum to denigrate MY beloved university.

          • Wilson

            YOUR beloved university should conduct business in an open, honest manner with 100% integrity....NOT share the bids with a major investor of the preferred bidder and NOT change the evaluation committee in the middle of the process when they didn't get the requested votes for approval for said preferred bidder. AND they should abide by their own policy and allow the hearing requested.

  • John

    I feel like John Raese should just quit while he's ahead. Doesn't WVRC have anything more productive to do with their time? I embarrassingly voted for Mr. Raese, but now I think he's just pretty much a jerk that is obsessed with trying to stop the school from working with IMG. You lost bub, just like every election you've ever ran in. Maybe there is a reason people don't like you. Move on with your life.

    • John

      Maybe if WVRC was a good company to work with they would set up the package to tailor to their strengths. Any private business would choose who to conduct business with on overall value. Unfortunately all business partners aren't created equal. By selecting through a bid process you are often left with an unfavorable partner because they messed something up in their estimating. If IMG is who WVU wants to work with then it is perfectly fine to put specifications out there that eliminate unfavorable compamies. John shame on you for being so sour. Oliver Luck is a good man that I trust making decisions for my university. We are lucky to have him in my opinion.