Harriet Howard Heithaus, (@NDN_HarrietHeit)
The treasurer of Classical South Florida Inc. has asked Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to investigate — and potentially stop — the sale of South Florida’s only classical music radio stations to a California company.
Those stations, owned by Classical South Florida Inc., include WNPS-FM in Naples, along with stations in Miami and Palm Beach.
Staffers in Bondi’s office said they have not yet considered the request.
Richard Rampell of Palm Beach, who also served on the CSF board from shortly after broadcasting started in June 2012 until the board voted to sell June 25, is asking Bondi to investigate what he called “improper activities” surrounding the sale. Those include, among others:
— That Jon McTaggart, CEO of American Public Media Group in St. Paul, Minnesota, signed an agreement to sell the stations’ licenses before notifying the Classical South Florida board of trustees. APMG had financed the purchase of the three Classical South Florida stations.
— That the agreement was reached without seeking additional bids, and, in fact, under a proviso that forbade shopping for additional bids. That meant supporters of any of the three stations involved could not produce a competing offer to keep their station license.
— Further, the board was given a 24-hour deadline to accept the agreement and bound, they were told, by a confidentiality clause not to discuss the agreement.
— That the $21.7 million sale price was $4 million below a recent appraisal of the stations. It is still below the approximate $30 million purchase price APMG says it paid for the stations.
— That APMG counsel Sylvia Strobel suggested there could be legal action against Classical South Florida trustees if they refused to ratify the sale agreement McTaggart had signed.
Rampell said Thursday he is not necessarily a champion of classical music. However, one of Classical South Florida’s licenses included an auxiliary feed for National Public Radio programming.