Financially beleaguered Winstar Broadcasting Corp. was stripped of its right to
build TV channel 21 in Virginia Beach, Va., Monday because it failed to make good
on its $8.75 million bid in a 1999 Federal Communications Commission auction. Instead, the commission said the
next-highest bidder, industry newcomer Robert Copeland, can buy the station for
$5.69 million -- his final bid minus a new-entrant bidding credit.
The decision was a mixed blessing for Copeland, who has been fighting to win
the Tidewater-area license since the auction ended. Copeland contended that
Winstar and another bidder that vied to build channel 21 were ineligible because
they were illegally fronting for other broadcasters in the bidding. Copeland has
argued that he is entitled to the Virginia Beach license for the amount of his
initial bid, a mere $800,000.
Lauren Colby, Copeland's attorney, said they are considering their next move,
which could be an appeal to federal court.
Winstar officials -- parent company Winstar Communications Inc. has filed for
bankruptcy -- did not return a message left at their Washington, D.C., office. For its
failure to honor its bid, Winstar was also assessed a fine of $1.03