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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'll see your remand and raise you

I love a juicy appeal. I never write appeals that are fun to read; mine are as respectful as I can stand to be, because of the whole honey/vinegar thing. And most applicants who file their own appeals are the same, coming to the FCC as a supplicant. But man, when the lawyers get involved, they sling around words that the rest of us find rude, and just hammer their points home over and over, casting everything in black (the SLD) and white (their poor, agrieved client). Always over the top.

What appeal got me going? The recent SEND Technologies appeal. It's full of words and phrases like 'unconscionably," "infirmities," "ignored the facts," "cannot be trusted to make fair and impartial decisions," "unalterably closed mind to the facts," and "students should no longer be made to suffer because of USAC's myriad failings." Fun reading.

Some interesting tidbits:
Is the Cynthia Schultz who filed the appeal the same Cynthia Schultz who was working for the SLD when these applications were originally denied? She wouldn't have had anything to do with the denials, I think, but it is an interesting note.

SEND claims that over the 5 years that the appeals have been going on, over $1,000,000 has been spent on legal fees. Gadzooks.

Pure speculation:
I'm wondering if the SLD is finally fed up with the FCC clearing their ginormous appeal docket by remanding every appeal in sight, often with little guidance on how to handle the case, but with tight deadlines. Oh, and no extra funding for USAC. The FCC remand order in this case said that "pattern analysis" was not sufficient evidence of improper service provider involvement in preparing the 470, but did not say what would be sufficient evidence. I wonder if the SLD just did a quick investigation and batted the case back into the FCC's court, hoping that the FCC would decide the case rather than re-remand it. Or maybe they just decided that with the resources they had, a real investigation of the matter was not possible in 60 days.

So what's the FCC to do? Perhaps send some OIG folks down to Louisiana to do a full audit of the applicants? Or an audit of the service provider? I can't recall a service provider ever being audited. Which is odd when you look at the list of debarred people and organizations; not too many applicants in that list.


  1. Anonymous2:16 AM

    Please quote correctly from the appeal. The appeal states over one million dollars in legal fees and debt financing costs over the four year period. Legal costs can be high for any any proceeding, but not being funded for four years means someone has to pay for the cost of carrying the project. Working capital costs ruin this program.

  2. Sorry about that. I was just awed by the amount, not whether it was legal fees or debt financing. And my quick estimate shows a total value of the funding as just over $1 million. Something is certainly broken here.