Georgia Southern returns Staton’s $$$, wants the full monty
By JIM WALLS
Georgia Southern University has rebuffed state Sen. Cecil Staton, demanding full payment for the school’s share of radio broadcast revenue and rejecting his effort to cut the debt in half.
Staton, who chairs the Senate committee overseeing the university’s budget, had sent the school a check for $24,804 Tuesday, shortly before a Macon TV news report that non-payment had cost his radio station the rights to broadcast GSU football, baseball and basketball games.
In a letter to GSU athletics director Sam Baker, the Macon senator said he deducted $25,000 from the outstanding debt to offset his company’s costs associated with ending the contract early.
But Baker, in a letter mailed Wednesday, told Staton that he had no right to deduct anything from the school’s share of advertising revenue. He returned Staton’s check and said he expects full payment of $53,239.
No contractual provision or other agreement provides authority for a claim of a $25,000.00 credit for work completed in preparation for next season. No contract provision or other agreement provides for any credit due on the basis of early termination of the contract.
Staton’s company, Georgia Eagle Broadcasting Inc., had paid the university about $168,000 for the first four years of the broadcast contract, but nothing for 2010-11, records show. Previous payments came in on a quarterly basis.
Staton complained to Baker about the university’s treatment of his company in a May 24 e-mail posted by WMAZ-TV in Macon:
As a local business, we are barely surviving the worst three years broadcast media has experienced in decades due to the bad economy. At just the most difficult time for us you simply send a letter saying that’s it. No call to a friend. No word of warning. And you do it at a time when he have already invested six months in laying down the groundwork for the 2011 season when we hope we might just be turning a corner.
Staton’s media interests include several radio stations, the Warner Robins Patriot newspaper and two publishing houses, one specializing in religious material and the other politics. The latter has produced books by former U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, presidential candidate Herman Cain and former Congressman Bob Barr.