Four area cities sue Time Warner cable over unpaid fees

(File)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Four Central Texas cities are among 23 municipalities suing Time Warner Cable charging the cable television provider has failed to pay fees due to cities.

A lawsuit filed Friday lists the cities of Waco, Belton, Harker Heights and Killeen, along with 19 other Texas cities as plaintiffs and Time Warner Cable Texas, LLC, doing business as Spectrum, and Time Warner’s parent company, Charter Communications as defendants.

The lawsuit is the culmination of a conversation that began in Killeen in June that sought to have the city’s cable television provider pay to Killeen the funds it is required to pay for use of city property for rights-of-way.

“This is the filing of the lawsuit that began then,” attorney Thomas L. Brocato, with Lloyd, Gosselink, Rochelle and Townsend, P.C., of Austin, attorneys for the list of cities, said Monday.

Time Warner Cable, headquartered in Delaware the lawsuit says, agreed under state and federal regulations, to pay host cities a fee as part of Municipal Franchise Agreements, which, in some cases, haven’t been paid since January 1, 2014.

Last June, in a story published on KWTX.com, Killeen Mayor Jose Segarra said, “We're going to spend about $25,000 and get about $151,000- that's a pretty good investment.”

According to an auditing firm hired by the attorneys filing the lawsuit, Spectrum had under-reported revenue and owes back fees of more than $2.25 million.

The audit claims more than $151,000 is owed to Killeen, and the mayor is betting that the lawsuit's legal fees will pay off.

“It took a while to mobilize everyone because cities work on different time lines,” Brocato said.

“Others (cities) may join as we go along.”

His firm also is working on a similar lawsuit in San Antonio that deals with the same issue, he said, but that suit is filed in the federal courts, rather than state district court.

“This does effect everyone who uses that service because they deserve the funds they’re not getting paid back to them,” Brocato said.

Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the cities of: Allen, Arlington, Rowlett, Wichita Falls, Hutto, Allen, Arlington, Bedford, Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Colleyville, Coppell, Dalworthington Gardens, Euless, Fort Worth, Garland, Grand Prairie, Hutto, Irving, Lewisville, Mesquite, Rockwall, Rowlett and Wichita Falls.