Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

WV State News

July 12, 2013

W.Va. Radio wants judge off media-rights lawsuit

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia Radio Corp. wants a judge disqualified from hearing its lawsuit over a West Virginia University media-rights contract, arguing he has a personal bias against an attorney for its parent company, Greer Industries.

The motion filed Thursday in Monongalia County Circuit Court says Judge Phillip Gaujot’s impartiality is questionable because of a long-standing bias against attorney Robert Gwynne.

The Dominion Post says Gaujot and Robert Gwynne clashed at a July 4th party in 1987.

The dispute centered on a guest that Gwynne had invited. The motion says Gaujot took the man’s presence as an insult and refused to accept Gwynne’s apology. It also contends the judge warned Gwynne, “paybacks are hell.”

The judge wasn’t in the office Friday and didn’t immediately comment.

West Virginia Radio sued last month to try to stop both IMG and West Virginia Media Holdings from participating in bidding on a 12-year contract for multimedia rights to certain WVU sports events.

WVU announced Thursday it had awarded the deal to North Carolina-based IMG College and will reap at least $80 million from it.

WVU’s broadcast rights currently are handled by the university-operated Mountaineer Sports Network, which works closely with West Virginia Radio. The network owned by Morgantown businessman John Raese called the bidding process a sham.

It was WVU’s second attempt to strike a deal.

It was forced to rebid the contract after a review by the state attorney general’s office found “significant errors and sloppiness” in how the first deal with IMG was crafted. Attorney General Patrick Morrisey questioned the involvement of two WVU Board of Governors members but said he found “no evidence of intentional wrongdoing.”

The new partnership is effective this fall.

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