West Virginia Radio Corp. wants Judge Phillip Gaujot disqualified from hearing its lawsuit over a West Virginia University sports rights contract, arguing he has a personal bias against Robert Gwynne, attorney for its parent company, Greer Industries. The motion filed 7/11 in Monongalia County Circuit Court says Gaujot’s impartiality is questionable because the judge and Gwynne clashed at a July 4th party in 1987 over a guest that Gwynne had invited, reported The AP/Daily Mail. 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.”
WVU’s broadcast rights are currently handled by the university-operated Mountaineer Sports Network.
West Virginia Radio Corp. is owned by Morgantown, WV businessman John Raese. The company announced last month it isn’t bidding on a 12-year contract for multimedia rights to some West Virginia University athletic events and sued to try to stop both IMG and West Virginia Media Holdings from participating in bidding.
WVU rebid the contract, because a review by the state AG’s office found “significant errors and sloppiness” in how a previous deal was formed.
Five companies, including IMG and West Virginia Radio Corp., participated in a pre-bid conference in May that also included Nelligan Sports Marketing, Learfield Communications and FOX Run Group. Proposals were due 6/12.
Raese’s attorney said the 15-page protest filed 6/12 is the second in two months. It claims allowing participation in the bidding by either North Carolina-based IMG or West Virginia Media Holdings effectively “turns a blind eye to the confirmed breaches of public trust and confidence.”
Meanwhile, WVU awarded the deal to IMG College and will reap at least $80 million from it. The new partnership is effective this fall.