CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Supreme Court Chief Justice Brent Benjamin appointed a new judge Tuesday to hear the lawsuit West Virginia Radio Corporation has filed against the WVU Board of Governors, athletics director Oliver Luck and several individuals associated with the university.

Benjamin removed Monongalia County Circuit Judge Phillip Gaujot from the case, replacing him with Jackson County Circuit Judge Thomas Evans.

(Read Chief Justice Benjamin’s order here)

WVRC, the parent company of MetroNews, asked Gaujot to be disqualified based on a 1987 disagreement Gaujot had with Greer Industries attorney Robert Gwynne at a Fourth of July party. Greer is the parent company of WVRC.

Benjamin said he reviewed the motion and “determined that the matters set forth therein are sufficient to warrant such disqualification to avoid even an appearance of impropriety.”

WVRC’s wide-ranging lawsuit was filed in June and names 10 defendants in all, including Luck, WVU president Jim Clements, board of governors chairman Drew Payne and WV Media president Bray Cary.

The suit claims unlawful dealings tainted the 2008 purchase of a scoreboard for Milan Puskar Stadium and, more recently, that Luck and Payne conspired to rig the bidding for the university’s third-tier media rights package. The contract was awarded to IMG College, which is partnering with Cary’s firm.

WVRC was among the firms unsuccessfully bidding for WVU’s third-tier rights last fall. WVRC did not enter the second round of bidding and has been critical of the university for failing to grant the company a hearing in light of missteps by Luck that were verified by state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

The lawsuit also focuses on a $7.75 million loan the WVU Foundation made to Cary’s company—a loan of which nearly $5 million was forgiven—and allegations that the football stadium scoreboard purchase also skirted WVU procurement policies.

In issuing the order Tuesday, Benjamin said the lawsuit should be considered for the state’s Business Court Division.

 

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Comments

  • Fred McGriff

    Fire Oliver Luck today!!! The move to the Big 12 is awful!!! Could have been in a much better fit with the ACC. Also, let's forgive Rich Rod and bring him back. The last few years of his tenure were the best in school history. He has learned from his mistake, and who wouldn't have taken the Michigan job at such a young age? Be honest, and remember Pitino once left UK hoops for the Boston Celtics. People do make mistakes and then later realize the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

  • cutty77

    @ OhMy,
    Its almost over Brother. I like your New Math. Its Kinda like JR's Math. One for Me,JR,an One For You,WVU.

    • OhMY

      @ cutty77,
      Except for one small point that always seems to avoid your posts. Mine are FACTS!

      • cutty77

        @ OhMy,
        Yea its hard to replace 29 Radio Stations,in a State that has 55 counties. WOW Mayberry Radio Network.

        • OhMy

          cutty77,

          I would ask you to do the math, but you can't even spell ad correctly, so I won't bother. How will the new network sell their ads when in the home city of the university alone, they will be on a station that currently has more than 100,000 less listeners than the original stations?

  • OhMY

    New "flagship" radio station for the IMG/MSN network in Morgantown is WZST-FM. Acording to radio research, it has a total number of listeners age 18+ of 22,300. Last year, WVRC's WVAQ-FM and WAJR-AM carried the games. These two stations have 18+ audience levels of 138,000 and 23,200 respectively. A difference of 138,900 people weekly. Ouch! Wonder how the paying sponsors of this new 'radio network' will like that. Probably should ask for a price reduction. According to the FCC coverage map for new station, folks at cheat lake could have problems hearing games.

    • cutty77

      OhMy,
      Now your trying to scare people,come on Man. This a Big deal for this little station. Don't act like WVRC was CBS or something. WVU people said WVRC people were still doing things at there Stations that people did 20 years ago. The Mayberry Radio Station just got broke up,alone with The Mayberry Gazette Newspaper. But i'm sure both will give WVU top notch service. If I was WVRC i would worry about who i was going to sell my Adds too, now that you don't have WVU anymore.

  • Medman

    The boys who controlled the WVU Board were led by Payne and did pretty much what they wanted with the athletic program. When Belien asked to renegotiate his contract they told him to pound sand because they had already contacted Huggins. That mistake drastically reduced the amount Belien had to pay for the buy out. Belien was a class act and has proven that he is a top tier coach. We ended up with Huggs on the downside of his career. Luck was on the Board and was picked by an insider, faux search. Then they fired Stewart without mercy. They have traveled, dined and drank on WVU without any of the expenses being charged as taxable income. This crowd is not what we need overseeing our flagship university.

    • Fred McGriff

      You are right on the $$$, and Huggins has clearly lost his passion and intensity the last couple years after the Final 4. Not sure he was on the downside. he went to 1 FF before WVU and 1 since he got to WVU, but how do you build a $25 million hoops practice facility and get progressively worse after it opens?

    • cutty77

      Medman,
      Your so wrong Belien deal. They went to Belien to give him a new Contract,and told him they would cut 1 mill. off the Buyout.They knew then he was leaving so they had the plans ready.

      • cutty77

        Let me finish this story. Belien Told Eddie that he would not sign any deal with a Buy-Out Clause. WVU knew at that point that Belien was leaving. Whats Funny Belien went to Eddie and WVU in the Beginning and ask for a Buyout Clause to protect himself. Then when NC State,then The Ind. Hossiers came calling for John,neither Team would pay his buyout,then Belien got mad. John Belien is not as Clean an Fuzzy as everybody thinks. People get funny when it comes to money.

        • Don

          Look at Michigan's program and look at WVU's? Which would you prefer? I'd take Beilien and how he treats his players over Huggs any day. AND the results are showing. I keep waiting for you to blame JR and WVRC for all the losses the basketball program experienced last year.....

          • cutty77

            Not blaming anybody,just keeping Medman straight about the Belien Story. lol

    • Don

      Spot on......Not sure it could be said any better.

  • Mtneerndixie

    I just can't believe everyone wouldn't want WVU to get the best deal possible!? Don't ever ask why we are still a flyover state if you expect them to do business the EP way. Oliver is trying to get us on a level field with the big boys and all some of you see is the contract didn't stay local!? Idiots. I'd love to see a countersuit that looked into all these years of JR having exclusive rights. Go back to Florida John.

    • Wilson

      Everyone does want WVU to get the best deal possible. I think most of us wants them to do it honestly and ethically and not backroom deals to line the pockets of the Board of Governors members and investors in the company which has been awarded the rights. If you invested in a company and lost 5.5 million, would you do business wtih that company again?? Thats what WVU is doing. Also, Not sure how this new deal is "The best deal" since WVU will make more than 2 million less than they made last year.....Appox. 6.3 million last year, this year they will recieve 4.1 million from new rights holder. Best deal, not by far. if the original bids are ever released, you will see that the best deal didn't win in the first place....

      • CPA

        Wilson, I don't know where you're getting your figures from, but they are not even close to accurate........wow.

        • Wilson

          From the contract between WVU and IMG which has been printed in numerous publications. MSN revenue from last year is also public, if you care to do the research and not just type what you want others to believe

  • MountainMover

    How are you a "loser" if the bidding process was rigged? If that's true, then no one legitimately won, therefore no one was a loser. Does anyone really believe the bidding process was above board? If it wasn't then people should've been held accountable before the bidding process was reopened.

  • Imgrill

    I'm ticked off and somebody has got to pay seems to be all this is about. Funny JR was fine with "good ole boys " as long as he was one. If we never hear about him again it will still be too much.

    • Robert

      Imgrill...

      That should be the first question that WVU's attorneys should ask JR...why was none of the so called "shenanigans" that happened at WVU before IMG not important and now they are??? I would love to hear his explanation. However, with that said...WVRC has a lot to offer and I think that IMG and WVU would be foolish not to try and come to an agreement that would satisfy all three parties. I think that JR is a reasonable man that does truly care about WVU...all parties involved just need to make this go away for the sake of West Virginia University. I would venture to say that Bray Cary's intentions are not nearly as honest as John Raese's are.

      • Don

        I'd be suprised if WVRC knew about the other stuff until the 3rd tier rights bid was rigged. I'm guessing once they started to look into that the other questionable actions came to light. Just a guess....

  • rekterx

    The thing that bothers me about this lawsuit is that it is such a shotgun pattern. Mr. Jenkins has called it a "wide-ranging lawsuit."

    It is obviously not only about Ollie's indiscretions (real, imagined, or exaggerated). To someone like me, looking from the outside, the design of this suit appears geared to the hope of hitting something, anything.

    The problem is that WVRC in the past never seemed to have a problem with the scoreboard and the "loan" to WVMH. But now, NOW, these things are a problem since WVRC is out of the MSN business.

    This is why, to me, no matter what the merits of the charges may be, and I think there is some merit, that I believe this lawsuit is motivated by sour grapes more than anything else. It strikes me that since WVRC (and its owner) are a loser that now WVRC (and its owner) want to make sure that somebody elses loses too.

    "If I gotta take a hit, so do you too!" This strikes me as Mr. Raese's position and we are all losers for it.

    • Palmetto King

      Bingo my friend. I could not agree more. That is what folks don't seem to understand. JR is in it for JR and not was is best for WV or it's fans. Heck the gut doesn't live in WV.

      In addition, people blame IMG for the fact they can't hear games, but that is what waited any those in the know at the beginning of the year. It was the suit that prevents more radio stations from being added. Nothing will change until the smoke finally clears.

    • Don

      Maybe WVRC didn't know about the other issues until it started to examine and research how things were being done. I think the suit shows an obvious pattern of dishonest and unethical behavior on the part of those in charge at OUR university and I for one would like to see it cleaned up. I think JR feels the same way.....not sure why people can't see that.

  • rekterx

    Why is there a picture of the football stadium accompanying this article on the front page of the website? Why isn't there a picture of John Raese since he is the one pursuing this court case? Why not a picture of the outgoing judge and the incoming judge?

    I can think of a number of different pictures I would have used before using a picture of a packed stadium.

  • William

    There is a new SHERIFF in town to keep WVU shady deals in line. GO JR, YOU ARE THE MAN!

  • gwp

    JR is such a outstanding citizen for this, wonder why he didnt say anything until he was cut out of the deal....lol

  • TLC

    Wow ! Look at the facts. Luck messed this process up. That's why he wasn't involved the last time. JR called him on it. It's that simple. We are going to miss the great job WVRC did.

    • cutty77

      WVRC did a decent Job. But they never payed WVU any money. They kept it all. Thats why JR is Soooooooooooooooo Mad.

      • Don

        Cutty77 either you can't read or you love to purposly mislead people. WVRC never recieved anything from WVU. What would you want WVRC to pay for? WVU owned the rights not WVRC. WVRC has never owned the rights. Can't you understand that? WVRC did pay to air the coach's radio shows. MSN is owned by WVU not WVRC....AND 100% of the $$ generated by MSN was retained by WVU. Get it, 100%. WVRC kept $0. Period. All of this information is public and has been confirmed by WVU on multiple occaisions......so why do you continue to mislead?

        • cutty77

          Oh Mislead one, But i will leave you with this. WVRC did this service for WVU for Free the last 25 years. Merry Christmas to You Too. lol

          • OhMY

            Cutty77, again you either can't read or comprehend. The $750,000 expenses were expenses incurred by MSN, NOT WVRC. 6.5 million minus $750,000 equals 5.75 million. Still substantally more than the 4.1 million IMG gaurantees.

          • cutty77

            @ Don anJL,'
            In tonight Daliy Mail is stated WVRC Corp. Payed WVU 1.7 mill. per year for the years 2009 to 2012. Then WVRC expenses were 750,000 thousand per year. That leaves 900,000 per year for WVU. Old Cutty ain't as Dumb as you guys are. lol

          • Don

            its the facts that seem to hurt you cutty77. Why is that. It'a all public, if you care to check. But obviously you don't care about the truth. Just untruths and lies.

          • cutty77

            @ JL,
            You Mad Bro. Sticks and Stones may break my bones,but words will never hurt them.

          • JL

            Actually WVRC paid more than $170K plus free satellite time in 2012. Just the facts. You might be the dumbest person ever to post anywhere. Like a little weasel in your parents basement living on Cheerios and banging out misleading and ridiculous comments like the vermin you are.

      • JL

        Pay for what Cutty? Being an affiliate. You are the expect, so we are told, then you would know that MSN was controlled completely by WVU where the pocketed $6.7 million dollars. What other "affiliates" are paying for affiliations in West Virginia now under IMG or before under MSN? You never get that right - just act like the National Enquirer and say things that are untrue.

        • cutty77

          Please show me where WVRC ever payed WVU any amount of money,let alone 6.7 million.I guess missed the artcle on the consultant was talking about where WVU payed all of WVRC Bills. As in Cars, Food,Hotel Rooms for a cast of Many. In fact he said WVRC had a pretty Good Deal.I know people who use to work in The Mac Mountaineer Alt. Club. They tried to find the money trail,and never could because it had so many layers to it. Must say it was a Nice Gig for a while.

  • Dan

    So.. WVU and IMG are already building their new radio network and have set the "new" system up. Sounds like this will end in some sort of large settlement towards Greer/WVRC

  • cutty77

    They removed my last post. The Truth Hurts. Plaese get this Circus over with.

    • Robert

      Yes..but he now lives in Ripley, WV...Jackson County. I'm pretty certain that he knows Bray Cary.

    • wvrefugee

      Why is it a Circus?? Ollie f'd up the entire deal!

  • Bill

    Judge Tom Evans is a native of Roane County.

    • Katie

      Tom Evans has lived in Jackson County for over 20 years and still does with his wife. He had a law practice in Ripley for years before he was elected Judge. Bray Carey of WV Media also lives in Jackson County. Not sure if their friends, but both are prominent Republicans in Jackson County. WV Radio also has a prominent employee from Jackson County in Joe Parsons.

      • Don

        Not sure how 'prominent' Parsons is....

    • Robert

      Yes..but he now lives in Ripley, WV...Jackson County. I'm pretty certain that he knows Bray Cary.