Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sinclair's Smith - paragon of GOP Virtue

If he wants to play dirty and air an anti-Kerry propaganda piece on all of his stations right before the election, I certainly think it's fair to look into his sordid past.

Honorable guy, huh? Read below.

(And any Maryland/D.C./Baltimore people who are outraged enough to want to do something about it, I'm planning a protest at Sinclair's HQ. Email me for details at profpan@charm.net).

Daily Variety

August 16, 1996 Friday


LENGTH: 429 words

HEADLINE: Sinclair group CEO arrested



David Smith, president and CEO of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, was arrested
Tuesday night in Baltimore after allegedly soliciting a prostitute and engaging
in oral sex.

Smith, 45, spent the night at Baltimore's Central Booking center and was
later released on his own recognizance. He was charged, along with Mary DiPaulo,
with committing "unnatural and perverted" sex acts.

According to the Baltimore Sun, DiPaulo told an undercover police officer,
who also was soliciting her at the time, that Smith was a regular customer.
Smith and DiPaulo were later arrested in one of the company's Mercedes-Benzes.

Sinclair, which is based in Baltimore, owns 29 TV stations and 34 radio
stations and is one of the fastest-growing broadcast groups in the country. It
owns the most TV stations of any broadcaster and, in many markets, controls two
stations through local marketing agreements that allow one broadcaster to
program two outlets.

Smith and the Sinclair group are known as renegades in the TV industry. The
group, which primarily controls Fox affiliates, has had nasty relations with
both the network and syndication companies. With its large holdings, Sinclair
often uses its leverage to bargain programmers down on price.

Earlier this year, Sinclair made waves when it bought River City Broadcasting
for $ 1.2 billion and installed that group owner's topper, Barry Baker, as CEO
of newly formed Sinclair Communications. Smith and family members control the
majority of the company's stock.

TX:While Smith, who is married and has children, could not be reached for
comment, a Sinclair spokesman confirmed his arrest.

"The allegations against Mr. Smith are of a personal nature and do not relate
to the business of the Sinclair Broadcast Group. Mr. Smith is charged with a
misdemeanor, involving an alleged consensual act with an adult woman," the
spokesman said, adding that the company is confident the matter will "conclude
in a fair and equitable resolution."

The company, the spokesman said, "will continue to operate under the
direction of its current management."

While the representative stressed that Smith's arrest should have no impact
on the company, the FCC probably won't be thrilled with a prominent
license-holder being arrested on a charge of solicitation, among other things.
However, since his alleged crime is a misdemeanor, odds are nothing will happen
to the broadcast group, which already has tested the limits of FCC rules through
its business deals over the years.

Sinclair stock dropped 75 cents to close Thursday at $ 38.50.


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