September 21, 2006
Charlotte, NC - The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners met Thursday, September 21, in closed session and publicly disclosed that the discussion was about the Adelphia Communications Corp. bankruptcy proceedings. The Board received information on the status of the case.
Mecklenburg County and the municipalities within the northern part of the County – Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville - and the municipalities of Troutman and Mooresville, franchised cable television service to Adelphia. Adelphia filed for bankruptcy as the result of highly publicized mismanagement of assets.
All of the above jurisdictions have clauses within their franchises which would allow the jurisdictions to exercise the right of first refusal to purchase their respective systems in the event of franchise default. Mecklenburg County and these five towns have formed a Consortium to evaluate issues surrounding the exercise of this option. In a settlement agreement announced July 31, 2006 among Adelphia, the Consortium members, and Time Warner Cable, it was agreed that the Consortium would have the opportunity to consider the purchase of the system and that Time Warner Cable would operate the system in the meanwhile.
All Consortium jurisdictions are currently in the evaluation phase. Regrettably, public discussion of this matter is restricted by order of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court which has placed the court and settlement documents under seal. Mecklenburg County and the other jurisdictions are urging the Bankruptcy Court to unseal the documents so that the public may be fully engaged in the debate of whether the jurisdictions should come together to purchase and operate the system. Public disclosure of information contained in the court documents could cause the court to impose sanctions against the individuals or entities making the disclosure.
Time Warner Cable is currently managing the system in the Consortium members’ jurisdictions pending the decisions of the Bankruptcy Court and pending the opportunity of the Consortium members to evaluate fully this complex business transaction. The Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners is committed to holding meetings where the public will be invited to comment on all aspects of this matter.
Questions have been posed as to why Mecklenburg County would be willing to consider the purchase the system. The County would not be interested in purchasing the system alone to serve fewer than 2,000 subscribers in its northern-most reaches. The County is interested in fully analyzing all issues with respect to this purchase in conjunction with the expressed interests of the applicable Mecklenburg and Iredell municipalities affected by the Adelphia bankruptcy and whether a Consortium system would provide improved customer service to its subscribers.
The County stresses that it is committed to full public discussion before any decision is made.