The continuing saga of the man known for his quixotic quest to annul an Entercom Communications transaction consummated a quarter-century ago, an individual who is losing ownership of all but one of his radio stations, has reached its zenith, thanks to a judge presiding in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Ed Stolz on Thursday afternoon was ordered to surrender to U.S. Marshals in Riverside on Groundhog Day, at exactly Noon Pacific.
The order from Judge Jesus Bernal signaled what many who have been observing the case, WB Music Corp., et al v. Royce Intl. Broadcasting Corp., et al: Bernal has lost patience with Stolz.
Importantly, the order to surrender comes after Stolz was held in contempt of court for failing to respect Bernal’s prior orders and a January 12 petition submitted to the court by attorneys Fred Heather and Rory Miller at Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro on behalf of the court-appointed receiver of Stolz’s three FMs.
That would be Larry Patrick, Managing Partner of Patrick Communications and the operator of radio stations in Wyoming. Patrick was appointed the receiver of Class A KRCK-FM 97.7 in Palm Springs, Calif.; Class A KREV-FM 92.7 in Alameda, Calif., with coverage of the city of San Francisco and Oakland; and Class C KFRH-FM 104.3 in North Las Vegas, Nev. by Bernal in July 2020.
The naming of Patrick and assignment of the stations’ license to him came after the stations failed to pay ASCAP license fees “over several years” and continued to broadcast songs written and published by the group’s members without permission.
Faced with the loss of ownership of the three stations, Stolz engaged in a series of actions that obstructed Patrick from gaining full control, and moving forward with their sale.
VCY America Inc., the Wisconsin-based non-profit religious broadcaster that gains a considerable foothold in California and in Sin City with its Christian Talk & Teaching programming, is set to become the FMs new owner. It is agreeing to pay $6 million for the properties — per agreement signed not by Stolz but by Patrick.
VCY is all but ready to assume control. It immediately paid $5.4 million in cash, with the remaining $600,000 considered as an escrow payment.
However, Stolz is engaged in “ongoing disobedience,” Patrick’s legal counsel argued. Bernal agrees.
Most recently, Patrick’s attorneys said, Stolz instructed James Palomares — the sole remaining full-time employee of the three stations — to publish a number of post-filing announcements required by the FCC as part of the broadcast license transfer process to VCY. But, Stolz intervened, the attorneys claim. He demanded that Palomares not do so. The act is necessary in order to make the license transfer happen.
“Enough is enough,” the attorneys wrote. “The court is well familiar with Mr. Stolz’ antics, and has already been forced to hold him in contempt and order him jailed in order to secure his compliance with the receiver’s efforts.”
Now, it appears Stolz has run out of further opportunities to concoct a scheme that, somehow, would allow him to retain control of the trio of FMs; a spoken-word AM owned by Royce International serving Las Vegas is not included in the lawsuit.
And, it seems Stolz is now without legal counsel. On January 6, Dariush G. Adli filed a motion to withdraw as counsel of record for Royce Broadcasting.
He will need a new lawyer by February 4.
That said, he will most likely be in the custody of U.S. Marshals on that date.