Chopper wars: Westwood One sued


Florida-based Pompano Helicopters has sued Westwood One for 362 million bucks, charging that WW1 and its Metro Networks subsidiary conspired to drive the chopper company out of business and take over its clients. Pompano alleges that WW1 spread rumors that it was an unsafe operator, leading to cancellation of many of its contracts to supply helicopters for broadcast stations. A spokesman for WW1 told RBR the company had no comment on the lawsuit

For years, Pompano Helicopters provided choppers and pilots to a number or radio and TV stations for traffic and news reporting. In its heyday, prior to a sharp decline beginning in 2002, the company operated 25 aircraft for stations in the Miami, West Palm Beach, Houston, Baltimore and Atlanta markets. But the lawsuit filed in Broward County, FL claims that "its once thriving business was destroyed by Westwood’s spreading false and damaging information as part of a planned and orchestrated campaign of tortuous interference with contracts that Pompano ultimately lost to Westwood’s subsidiary Metro." According to the lawsuit, Westwood employees spread false rumors that Pompano was an "unsafe operator" of aircraft and eventually "someone would get killed" due to faulty maintenance. Pompano claims that Westwood also usurped some of its key personnel, became privy to its confidential business plan, and scuttled a merger with another company that would have made the combined company a "formidable competitor" to Metro Networks. Instead, Pompano Helicopters today has no aircraft, but still exists as a corporate entity for its lawsuit seeking damages from Westwood One and Metro.