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KOCE-TV appeal set to begin

November 12, 2005|By By Michael Miller

"This is a critical community asset, and so there's just no way we're going to allow something like that to happen," Rogers said. "Absolutely, we would look at what further remedies there were."

A LONG ROAD

The saga started in November 2003, when the district named the foundation, which formed in 1978 to support KOCE, as the highest responsible bidder. The foundation had offered $32 million for KOCE, with only $8 million of it in cash and the other $24 million in credit. The district ruled that the foundation was the highest responsible bidder, surpassing Daystar, which had bid $25.1 million in cash.

Daystar sued the district, saying that its cash bid made it the rightful winner. In April 2004, a Superior Court ruled that the district had obeyed the law in awarding the station to the foundation, and the foundation officially acquired KOCE in November.

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In June of this year, however, an appellate court ruled in Daystar's favor. Since then, the district, the foundation and Daystar have all filed additional appeals, with the last briefs coming in Thursday.

The college district and Daystar clashed over a number of points, including whether Daystar was the highest responsible bidder for KOCE, whether selling the station to Daystar would cause the district legal woes and whether the district and foundation were right to revise the terms of the sale after bidding.

In their petitions, the district and foundation argued that Daystar was not a responsible bidder, in part because it filed under the name of a nonexistent entity, the Community Television Educators of Orange County. Totten, however, said it was common procedure for Daystar and others to create a local subgroup to run the station, and that the district had never complained about the name during the bidding process.

"It never gave any notice there was a problem," Totten said. "This was simply created after the fact by lawyers on the other side in response to litigation."

THE MEANING OF 'MAY'

The district and Daystar also fought over a clause in the state Education Code, which states that a community college district "may sell for cash" any property that is not required for school purposes. Daystar said the rule specifically identified cash, not credit, whereas the district said the word "may" provided a loophole.

College district attorney Lisa Neal wrote in her brief that "the phrase 'may sell for cash' is permissive in nature and does not confine the District to accepting cash only bids."

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