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The Daily Sparks Tribune

Reno radio used in union battle

Tribune Staff

SPARKS (12 Feb. 2006) – According to Communication Workers of America Local 9413, three Fallon radio stations have reportedly refused to broadcast advertising which questions expenditures by executives of CC Communications, which is Churchill County’s publicly owned telephone-cable TV and internet service provider.

The supposed banned commercials question credit card charges by company managers.

CC Communications is bound by Nevada law to make known what it uses the credit cards for but according to Local 9413, CC Communications has only given them amounts, dates and vendors.

Union officials claim that the company did not provide "what the charges were for." The request was made pursuant to public records as defined in Nevada Revised Statute 239.010. The union believes that the company’s action constituted an illegal unfair practice which is governed by the Nevada Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board.

A paraphrasing of NRS 239.010 reads that any public books and records must be open to inspection. That includes copyrighted books and record. It even goes on to say that copies of records must be provided in whatever medium requested.

Local 9413/AFL-CIO represents nearly 65 employees who have worked without a contract since July 1. A new contract was rejected in a vote of the membership in November. They are seeking a 6 percent cost of living increase plus a merit raise every six months. That is in contrast to the county’s offer of a 2.75 percent cost of living increase and a yearly merit raise.

In a letter to CC Communications Human Resources Director Jane Jenkins dated Nov. 23, 2005, union spokesman John Doran requested a complete list of managers and supervisors who were issued company credit cards, which included a monthly breakdown of charges for the past three years for each credit card issued with an explanation for what the charge was for.

Doran requested that the information be provided by Dec. 1. Jenkins failed to comply with the request by the requested date.
Doran told the Sparks Tribune that he believed that it was improper for KHWG-AM to preview the commercials for CC Communication executives.

"We could understand KVLV AM-FM declining our spot schedule, as County Commissioner Lynn Pearce, who is charged with oversight of CC Communications, is an owner of the station as well as a morning personality," Doran said.

"However, KHWG-AM unprofessionally colluded with CC Comm management by playing our commercials for them last week without our permission."

CC Communications Attorney Mark Feest notes that the much of the union’s media involvement has been vilifying.

"We don’t control radio stations here or anywhere. Nobody did anything improper or out of the ordinary," Feest told the Sparks Tribune. "Then they used the word ‘collude’ which is in itself defamatory and being looked into."

Feest also said the union was incorrect in claiming that the county and CC Communications were breaking the law when it came to its public records. According to Feest, the union wants "things like a listing of lunch items from business meetings which might include two hamburgers, two fries, two soda pops."

"Local 9413 keeps saying that we’re violating the public records law, which is not true," said Feest. "We gave them over 700 pages of credit card statements. Now they want us to create a document for them which doesn’t exist."

The commercials began airing Wednesday, Jan. 25 on KOZZ 105.7 and KBUL 98.1. Both Reno radio stations have large audiences in Churchill County which includes the Fallon area.

When contacted by the Sparks Tribune, Thursday, Jan. 26 Citadel Broadcasting KBUL’s parent company, General Manager Sandy Gamblin said he had no idea that a controversy existed.

However later in the day, KKOH 780, which is also owned by Citadel, broadcast the story at the top of the hour from noon until 4 p.m.

The news story was bolstered by a cut in from local free-lance political analyst Ande Engleman, calling Commissioner Lynn Pierce a "political animal." The KOH report claimed that "the union commercials were banned purposefully by Pierce." KOH failed to mention that those same commercials were being aired on its sister-station KBUL.

This is not the first time Engleman or KOH’s political reporting has been controversial. In 2004, both the veteran journalist and the radio station found themselves questioned when it was discovered that Engleman had worked as both a political consultant and news reporter at the same time.

The Sparks Tribune was given exclusive access to the credit card records. Local 9413 removed names and account numbers to protect individuals’ privacy.

When a charge for the GAP Outlet was found, there was a hand written note below it that stated it along with other charges on the statement were subject to a possible fraud investigation.

"The Gap Outlet along with Lane Bryant and Banana Republic all were immediately reported as fraud and then credited by Wells Fargo," said Feest. " Doran knew the charges were fraudulent and credited. The following month’s statement, which John has, shows this clearly."

The document showing that the amounts for the fraudulent credit card charges having been reversed by Wells Fargo was not in the file researched at Union Headquarters on Hymer Avenue. The missing statement in question was faxed from CC Communications.

The Gap purchase was made on March 21, 2004 while both the Banana Republic and Lane Bryant purchases were made on the following day. All three purchases were made in Virginia, when the male cardholder was in Nevada.

The Sparks Tribune was unable to locate an alleged charge for "the visits to the gymnasium."

While looking through the stack of credit card statements, a noticeable pattern emerged. In the three years of records that had been turned over, 56 different local restaurants were listed as places frequented. These eateries are spread from Tonopah to Stateline, Fallon to South Lake Tahoe, Reno to Winnemucca, Carson City to Sparks.

"It is safe to say that in the last three years, many of the places in the records have been for business," said Feest. "If they aren’t then we’d like to know that. But so far, nobody has provided any evidence to us."

Doran stated the same thing about the massive amount of credit card documentation that CC Communication provided to Local 9413.

"We are just looking for the truth here," said Doran. "This has nothing to do with negotiations or contracts. This is about right and wrong."

Copyright © 2006 Daily Sparks Tribune


A partial list of vendors patronized with CC Communications credit cards.

Blue Ribbon Meats
Harmony, Brooklyn New York
Cock 'n' Bull Restaurant
Bubba Gump Shrimp Company,
   New Orleans
Lands' End
The Fontainebleau, Miami
Business Objects Crystal
Plumpjack Hotel Squaw Valley
Art Today, Inc.
Subway again
Dairy Queen
Oriental Trading Company
Sandwinds Restaurant
Subway again
Late charge (oops)

Stratosphere Las Vegas
Howlin Good Barbecue
Royal Towncar
Overlimit fee (oops again)
Baldini's Sports Casino
Mirage, Palms and Hard Rock Hotel,
  Las Vegas
Port of Subs
Sushi Boat
Round Table Pizza
Westin Maui
Leilani's on the Beach, Maui
Golden Rice Bowl
Total Fitness Athletic Center, Fallon

Information provided by the company at union request.


Scroll down to listen to each 60-second spot.


2.36.040 County Credit Cards:

Each county employee who is issued a county card may only use the credit card to purchase goods or services for the county. An accurate record of expenses to include duplicate receipts of all transactions must be submitted to the comptroller's office for payment. No personal transactions are allowed. Any transactions not in compliance with this section shall subject the employee to disciplinary procedures as outlined in chapter 3.52 of this code and cause forfeiture of said credit card upon an order by the board of commissioners. (Bill 2002-G, 2002)

CC Communications

Distribution: Salaried Employees
Effective Date: February 15, 1992
Revision Date: March 17, 1997
Subject: Credit Card
File Under: Administration
Page 1 of 1 Pages


    The use of a company credit card (Mastercard) for travel and business expenses is encouraged for all management, supervisory and staff employees.
    The use of this card allows for the reduction and amount of cash advances. It allows for better record keeping.
    Occasional purchases made for the company can save considerable time and effort rather than obtaining a cash advance or using your own credit card or check. These types of purchases should be kept to a minimum.
    Do not physically loan your card to any other employee.
    Receipts for charges should be kept until you receive the Mastercard bill from Accounting. When approving the bill attach your receipts to it with the purpose and guests appropriately noted on the back of the receipt.


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