Ex-owner O’Brien appeals ABC 6 sale to R.I. Supreme Court

Kevin O’Brien still hasn’t given up on winning back control of ABC 6.

O’Brien’s attorney, Americo Scungio, has informed the Rhode Island Supreme Court his client will appeal the March 22 sale of WLNE-TV in a court auction, judiciary spokesman Craig Berke told WPRI.com.

Scungio did not respond to a phone message left on Monday.

Citadel Communications of Bronxville, N.Y., took over management of WLNE on Sunday after buying the station on auction in a deal valued at $5.8 million, including $4 million in cash. The FCC still must approve the transfer of WLNE’s license to Citadel.

At the time, Associate Justice Michael Silverstein denied an objection by O’Brien, who argued its court-appointed receiver Matthew McGowan was not seeking nearly enough money in exchange for the station. He said WLNE earned a profit in 2010, and argued that its positive cash flow should allow the receiver to continue operating the station while seeking more for it.

O’Brien paid $14 million in 2007 to buy ABC 6 from Freedom Communications. He asked Silverstein to place the station in receivership last summer, saying in a court filing WLNE was “insolvent and unable to meet its obligations as they come due.”

The notice of appeal is the only information about the appeal on file right now, Berke said. A transcript of the Superior Court proceedings has been ordered, and that must be completed before the high court’s clerk can add the case to its docket, he said.

(photo: Ted Nesi/WPRI)

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