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SMG attorney calls for federal investigation of Global Spectrum

10:44 PM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Alvin Brown has yet to decide who will manage Jacksonville's entertainment facilities, but a local attorney on behalf of SMG, is asking the federal government to investigate Global Spectrum and its parent company Comcast for anti-trust violations involving their bid.

In letters to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and to the Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition, attorney Fred Franklin Jr. asks for a formal investigation into whether business practices by Comcast, with affiliates Comcast-Spectacor and Global Spectrum violate U.S. antitrust laws.

Franklin claims Global Spectrum, in it's bid to operate Everbank Field and other entertainment venues in Jacksonville, focuses almost entirely on its ties with parent company Comcast, including offers for 500 30 second commercials on cable television to promote Jacksonville facilities. Global Spectrum points out in its bid this is worth $225,000 a month.

Franklin argues no other management company can offer these benefits, and if allowed to do so, "will effectively eliminate all competition, establish a monopoly in the field of facility management, and thus per se injure the market."

Franklin says this would be the case in other markets beside Jacksonville. He says Comcast and Global Spectrum are using their merger " in a predatory and uncompetitive fashion, and thus establish additional monopolies"

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown was unaware of the letters when asked by First Coast News. " I am not aware of it," said Brown. "It is the first I have heard of it.  Sounds like another challenge, I am not familiar with, those things happen, have to let the process take care of itself."

Global Spectrum just learned of the letters to the feds Wednesday afternoon, company vice-president Fred Russo says "our legal team is reviewing it, we will have a response at the right time."

Local attorney John Phillips, who hosts a radio show called Courts and Sports, says it's a well written letter and an aggressive move by SMG.

"It seems like more of a move politically to influence the powers to be , the mayor's office , the Jaguars, to try and say hey , let's tip the scale a little bit in our favor, because they could be tied up in litigation for years."

Phillips says it is a high standard to prove the Comcast and Global Spectrum are using these promises of advertisements to be unfair and a monopoly. Phillips says both proposals are good, they are different, and he would hate to choose.

Mayor Alvin Brown has yet to make a decision on which company will run the venues. The Jaguars have a say in the decision and they have already said they want SMG to run Everbank Field. One committee has already recommended Global Spectrum to the mayor. Brown says it has to go throughout the process, still go to another committee, and then to his desk.

When the bids came in, they showed it would save the city more than a million dollars. But until a new contract is awarded, SMG continues to run the venues as it has for 20 years.

First Coast News

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