South Miami Hispanic Community Radio: Reply to Response to Letter of Inquiry

In the matter of: BNPL20131112BEE

REC Networks (“REC”) is filing this reply at the invitation of staff in regards to the events that have transpired in the process of the above captioned application of South Miami Hispanic Community Radio (SMHCR) for a construction permit for a new Low Power FM (LPFM) station at Miami, Florida.  As a result of the original Informal Objection filed by REC on December 2, 2013 (“Objection”) and then supplemented by REC on January 19, 2016 (“Supplement”), the Commission issued a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) on March 7, 2017.  On March 31, 2017, the LOI was returned by the Post Office due to an “insufficient address”.   On April 12, 2017, Oscar Jose Lopez Perez aka Oscar Lopez (“Lopez”) filed an “Affidavit” with the Commission.  Per the specific instructions in the LOI, Lopez failed to provide service to REC.[1]  On May 16, 2017, Counsel for SMHCR had requested an extension of time for this proceeding and another already dismissed. In this case, Staff did inform REC the same day of the request therefore, we do not consider ourselves as prejudiced in that case and we did not object to the extension of time.  On June 7, REC had received via electronic mail, a redacted copy of the Affidavit from Commission staff. This communication was properly served via e-mail among all parties involved.[2]

As a first issue, was the failure for Lopez to follow the instructions of the LOI which stated that REC was to be served with a copy of the response.  It is likely that there may have been a concern over certain personal information that was included including social security numbers and birth dates.  This type of information is not relevant to REC’s needs in this matter and if properly arranged, we would have gladly accepted a redacted version of Affidavit without objection.

We note that there were no other timely responses to the LOI, despite Counsel’s request for an extension that was requested after Lopez submitted the Affidavit to the Commission.

In his Affidavit, Lopez states “under oath”, that Cesar Guel (“Guel”) placed on the original application, people that “he did not know”.[3]  Lopez further states that Belkis Perez’s name appeared on a “second application” and is requesting that the Commission “please disregard the application of [NHMCR]” and to “only take into account the application for [SMHCR]”.[4]  We do note that Oscar’s name was not added to the SMHCR application until the second amendment that was filed on February 27, 2014.  This predates the second amendment of NHMCR that added Belkis Perez to that organization’s board on April 16, 2014.  This still does not explain why on February 3, 2014, the first amendment to the SMHCR application changed the residential addresses of the Pedro and Laura De La Rosa to Sunrise.[5]    What is further suspicious are Lopez’s statements where he claims that in November, 2013, he browsed the FCC page and noticed the LPFM window and based on the conversation with an engineer and attorney, he determined that it was too expensive.  Then in his words, “time passes” and he contacted someone who got him in touch with Guel who then offered to “do work” for him for a “donation” of $3,000 upon the grant.[6] 

Normally, the term “time passes” suggests a considerable amount of time.  Time must have barely passed in this situation considering that the original SMHCR application was filed on November 12, 2013.

Furthermore, Lopez claims he did not contact Guel until after some period of “time passing” but sometime before November 12, 2013 when the application was filed. Lopez gives us the impression that Guel would never had heard about him or SMHCR until sometime in November. This cannot be true because the corporate filing for SMHCR was made with the State of Texas on October 20, 2013[7] with a set of board members that did not include Lopez.[8]  It is now obvious that SMHCR was not created by Oscar Lopez but was in fact created (just like many of not all of the other applications with similar sounding names) by Guel.  The alleged principals of SMHCR were already determined by Guel prior to Lopez’s reported initial contact with Guel.

Lopez’s statements further substantiates REC’s original concern from 2013 about “larger organizations [attempting] to infiltrate the LPFM service under the guise of questionable local presence [that] would undermine the Commission’s goal of localism and violate the spirit of the recently passed Local Community Radio Act”[9] and further confirms that this application as well as many of them that were granted were not truly local but actually filed by a “larger organization”, in this case Hispanic Christian Community Network, Inc. in an attempt to either expand what was then a network of LPTV stations and other broadcast facilities or as we saw here in South Miami, “sell” the applications through an unauthorized major transfer of control.[10] 

While there is a possibility that Lopez may have made false statements[11], we can’t necessarily confirm that.  It may be true that Guel told him he would help with the corporation and just not tell Lopez that he had already formed the corporation in October. REC does not feel that Lopez should be subject to any enforcement action beyond that of an admonishment.  If anything, Lopez has helped uncover what may be the truth about nearly 200 applications filed in the 2013 LPFM filing window and the Commission erroneously granting 51 applications to broadcast facilities where there is no known true party in interest.[12] 

REC feels that it is now time to investigate the granted applications to assure that they were appropriately granted and if not, then the construction permits need to be rescinded or cancelled and if any licenses were issued, designate for hearing for revocation.[13]  We will likely find that the original parties on those original applicants never existed in the first place and that false statements were also made regarding addresses.  It is time to finally stop this abuse of LPFM and bring integrity back to the service. 

[PDF] 412KB - PDF version includes exhibits.

[1] - LOI at 4. (“Additionally, copies must be served by U.S. Mail on the parties below.”, which in this case, included Michelle (“Michie” [sic]) Bradley of REC as well as Clay Leander of Common Frequency.)

[2] - An updated timeline of all events related to this proceeding can be found in Appendix C.

[3] - Id. at 2.

[4] - Id.

[5] - Keeping in mind that we have a letter stating that Lopez lived at Sunrise from August, 2013 to October, 2014.

[6] - Affidavit at 1 and 2.  Also notice his statement after contacting Guel (in November), “..and he also told me that he would help me with the corporation that the FCC required for such processing..”  Note that he saidm “would help me”, as in the future tense.  Lopez is saying that in November, Guel told him that he is going to help him form the corporation despite the fact that the corporation was already formed in October. Also of grave concern is Lopez’s statement “the Church has never had intended to buy the license...”, perhaps suggesting that there may have been a potential transaction to “buy” a license by some other organization or by Lopez as an individual.

[7] - See BNPL-20131112BEE, original application, exhibit 2.  See also, Appendix A.

[8] - See BNPL-20131112BEE, original application, exhibit 2, pages 2 and 5.

[9] - Objection at 1.

[10] - We are considering it a major transfer of control since there has never been verification that the original parties to the application (Pedro De La Rosa, Sergio Jimenez and Laura De La Rosa) were actually real people or that the owner of the property at 2501 SW 6th Street, Miami, Florida (which is a parking lot) had given consent for SMHCR to be headquartered there.  Therefore the original people did not exist and should not be counted.

[11] - See 47 C.F.R. §1.17(a) and (b)(1).

[12] - See Appendix B.

[13] - See 47 U.S.C. §312(a)(1).