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Maryland TV producer HBCU settles dispute with CBS

A local television producer that broadcasts football games played by historically black colleges has settled its lawsuit against a California-based sports marketing firm, its broker and CBS College Sports Network. The defendants allegedly failed to pay the producer according to their agreement.

HBCU Pro Football LLC had asked for $4.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. The Baltimore-based company’s attorney, E. David Hoskins, a solo practitioner, said he could not comment on the terms of the Dec. 14 settlement signed by U.S. District Court Judge William D. Quarles Jr. or details of the case.

HBCUP got an introduction to Victor Pelt, whose New Vision Sports Properties LLC acted as an agent of CBS College Sports in May 2007, the complaint states.

According to court documents, the athletic director for Morgan State University, who introduced Pelt to the company, described him as “someone who had a track record of getting sporting events from historically black colleges and universities broadcast on CSTV [CBS College Sports], a national cable television network.”

Pelt said HBCUP could average $250,000 from each sponsor for a three-game football schedule.

In 2008, HBCUP and Pelt signed an agreement to put three games on TV — Howard University versus Georgetown University; Morgan State University versus North Carolina Central University; and Benedict College versus Clark Atlanta University.

According to the complaint, HBCUP would pay $150,000 in broadcast fees, and Pelt agreed that the minimum amount the Baltimore firm could make in broadcast revenues for each game would be $400,000.

Throughout that period, HBCUP said it believed Pelt worked as an official agent for CBS College Sports based on copies of unexecuted agreements between Pelt’s firm and the television broadcaster. Pelt claimed the agreements had been signed but that CBS did not want HBCUP to see copies because it did not want the company to have the signatures on file.

But HBCUP said it never got paid for its work, the company did not supply advertising as promised and the third game in the agreement never aired on TV, leading the company to sue New Vision Sports Properties and CBS College Sports for breach of contract.

HBCUP also sued New Vision and Pelt for intentional misrepresentation and fraud for claiming to be the official broadcast agent of CBS College Sports, which HBCUP said it found out was untrue. The production company said Pelt and his company claimed to be the sports network’s agent to defraud it of $150,000.

The Baltimore company also sued CBS College Sports for unjust enrichment.

HBCU PRO FOOTBALL LLC V. NEW VISION SPORTS PROPERTIES LLC, ET AL.

Court:

U.S. District Court in Baltimore

Case No.:

WDQ 10-467

Dates:

Incident: April 28, 2008 – Nov. 8, 2008

Suit filed: Feb. 26, 2010

Settlement: Dec. 14, 2010

Plaintiffs’ Attorney:

E. David Hoskins, solo attorney in Baltimore

Defendants’ Attorney:

Thomas Curley of Levine, Sullivan, Koch and Schulz LLP in Washington, D.C.

Counts:

Breach of contract, intentional misrepresentation/fraud, unjust enrichment