NEW YORK, Oct. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dolan Family and two long-time News 12 anchors filed in court yesterday a reply in further support of their request for a temporary restraining order against Altice USA to prevent further erosion at News 12.
The original Lawsuit was filed September 4 in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware by the Dolan Family against Altice USA (NYSE: ATUS) for failure to abide by promises Altice made in a 2016 Merger Agreement and for equitable fraud, among other claims.
In 2016, Altice USA acquired News 12 as part of the $17.7 billion purchase of Cablevision from the Dolan family. To induce Cablevision shareholders to include News 12 in the merger, Altice USA unambiguously agreed to operate News 12 substantially in accordance with the News 12 Business Plan through at least the end of 2020. To ensure the highest quality journalism and productions, the Business Plan provided News 12 would employ full-time equivalent headcount of 462 people throughout this period.
Turning its back on its prior representations and promises, in 2017 Altice eliminated approximately 70 News 12 positions — in direct violation of News 12's agreed-upon business plan incorporated into the Merger Agreement.
Recently, Altice was on the precipice of terminating dozens more News 12 employees, including well-respected news anchors Colleen McVey and Danielle Campbell, threatening to irreparably harm the quality of local news coverage in the News 12 area and the livelihoods of News 12's employees.
Targeting two women, both dedicated 30-year veterans of News 12 – suggests Altice is engaging in age bias and/or gender as well as thinning News 12 staff.
Today's Motion Highlights
Altice's admission to a "gotcha" moment. They promised to maintain staffing levels in order to acquire News 12 in 2016 then turned around and laid off 70 in early 2017.
Altice does not deny that it made the promise solely to induce the Dolan family and other stockholders to sell News 12.
"Too bad" says Altice coldly, without shame or remorse, that employees are losing jobs and the quality of local journalism will suffer.
Patrick Dolan Comments
Patrick Dolan, who was president of News 12 at the time of its sale to Altice USA, commented, "The lawsuit was filed to protect journalists' jobs and the quality of the programming at News 12. We have now been joined in this action by two long serving anchors of News 12, Colleen McVey and Danielle Campbell."
Dolan said, "I sharply disagreed with last year's layoffs. I was there at the time and argued then with Altice against the proposed cuts. I chose to stay on and find ways to minimize the damage to the journalistic integrity of the News 12 product. Had I known then that Altice would continue to place profits over good journalism, contrary to the spirit of the Merger Agreement, I would have taken this legal action sooner."
Lawsuit Filed September 4
A lawsuit and request to permanently enjoin Altice USA was filed September 4 in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware by the Dolan Family against Altice USA (NYSE: ATUS) for failure to abide by promises Altice made in a 2016 Merger Agreement and for equitable fraud, among other claims.
The lawsuit targets Altice USA and alleges that the company ignored commitments made as part of its merger with Cablevision Systems Corporation (Cablevision). The merger of Altice and Cablevision closed in June 2016 for a value of $17.7 billion.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit originally included: Charles Dolan, founder and former CEO, Cablevision; Helen Dolan; James Dolan, former CEO of Cablevision; Patrick Dolan, president of News 12 at the time of the sale; and Colleen McVey, current employee of and news anchor with News 12 Networks. The amended lawsuit included Danielle Campbell.
This lawsuit was filed to protect current employee jobs and programming quality at News 12, which operates a group of local news television channels throughout New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
The original lawsuit, as amended to include plaintiff Danielle Campbell on October 2, can be found here: https://www.scribd.com/document/389966322/Dolan-et-al-v-Altice-et-al-Verified-First-Amended-Complaint.
Tuesday's filing to the court can be found here: https://secure.fileandservexpress.com/Home/HomePage.
About News 12
News 12 is a group of cohesive, regional cable news television channels serving nearly 3 million households in New York State, Connecticut, and New Jersey including two boroughs of New York City and most of Long Island.
News 12 provides news coverage 24 hours a day, and focuses on providing award-winning, hyper-local, in-depth news coverage that is rare in the United States, particularly with respect to the region it serves.
The Dolan Family deliberately and methodically built News 12 as the foremost hyper-local news source for the edification of Long Island, Bronx, Brooklyn, and other communities.
Due to the pre-merger journalistic freedom provided by Cablevision's ongoing financial support, the employees of News 12 were able to pursue important stories addressing significant local issues relevant to millions of individuals residing in the coverage area.
No news station would have otherwise had the resources to uncover and report these vital stories.
News 12 was and is of singular importance to the Dolan Family, News 12's employees, and the viewers within News 12's coverage community.
Altice USA (NYSE: ATUS) is a Delaware corporation. Altice Europe is a Dutch company. Altice Europe is successor in interest to Altice N.V., and thereby bound to the terms of the 2016 Merger Agreement.
Altice USA is one of the largest broadband communications and video service providers in the United States, delivering broadband, pay television, telephony services, proprietary content and advertising services to approximately 4.9 million residential and business customers across 21 states through its Optimum and Suddenlink brands.
SOURCE The Dolan Family