Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Bankruptcy trustee says buyers lining up to buy radio licenses operated by Grim Reaper

Federal Court

By The Madison County Record | Oct 10, 2019


EAST ST. LOUIS – Bankruptcy trustee Donald Samson found buyers for licenses of four radio stations that “grim reaper” Bob Romanik operates, according to a brief he filed at bankruptcy court on Oct. 8. 

Samson wants the Federal Communications Commission to stop trying to revoke Romanik’s licenses so he can sell them while they have value. 

“It should be noted that Trustee has no nefarious agenda in this matter,” Samson wrote. 

The licenses belong to Entertainment Media Trust, which Romanik created. 

In 2012, St. Clair County board chairman Mark Kern complained to the commission that the trust concealed Romanik’s control. 

Romanik himself can’t hold broadcast licenses because he served time for bank fraud and obstruction of justice. 

Commissioners ignored Kern’s complaint for years but this June, they referred it for a hearing before an administrative law judge. 

They found significant evidence for Romanik’s control. 

The judge set a hearing next June. 

On Sept. 11, attorney Jerry Graham of O’Fallon filed a bankruptcy petition for Entertainment Media Trust. 

The petition lists assets of $2 million, all in the value of the licenses. 

It was later amended to show $1.6 million for the licenses and $400,000 for equipment and facilities. 

It showed a liability of $99,632 for services of Virginia lawyer Davina Shaskin, who represents him at the communications commission, a liability of $14,875 in a lien of the commission and a liability of $6,989 for Washington lawyer Anthony Lepore. 

Assets outweighed liabilities by about 17 to one. 

Graham asked the bankruptcy court and the commission’s administrative law judge to stay the license proceedings. 

In bankruptcy court, the commission claimed the trust filed the petition for the sole purpose of interfering with its proceedings. 

Samson responded to that by writing, “Quite frankly, Trustee is unaware of the motivation behind Debtor’s actions before the FCC or this court. 

“Sound reasons may well exist for the FCC’s disapproval of this Debtor as the holder of the broadcast licenses. 

“But trustee’s motivations in pursuing the motion to enforce stay are solely and unquestionably the discharge of his responsibilities under the Code as the duly appointed and qualified Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee, to administer the estate and to collect and liquidate nonexempt assets to maximize the return to creditors.” 

Samson wrote that a potential purchase came to fruition on Oct. 3, when he received a $350,000 offer from John R. Beck Jr. 

He wrote that on Oct. 7, he received a $400,000 offer from Roberts Wireless. 

“Both purchase offers contemplate the continued operation of the stations in an underserved market,” Samson wrote. 

He wrote that an application could be before the commission in 30 days, and that he anticipated filing a motion to sell assets to Beck, the Roberts group, or another proposed purchaser in seven days.     

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