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Federal Judge Refuses to DISMISS case against WMCU 89.7 Spirit FM  
The following is an update on the status of the federal court litigation that is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida before Senior Judge William HOEVELER.
Two plaintiffs that had donated to WMCU 89.7 Spirit FM over the course of several years filed suit against TRINITY INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY and its BOARD OF REGENTS for the alleged misapplication of monies that were supposedly earmarked for the continued operation of the sole Christian format FM radio station in Miami-Dade county, FL (WMCU). 

In response to repeated solicitation of funds for the maintenance and continued operation of WMCU - 89.7 Spirit FM, the plaintiffs donated money to WMCU over the course of several years.  The radio station, however, suddenly and without prior notice ceased broadcasting on October 1st, 2007, pursuant to the terms of an Asset Purchase Agreement that Trinity International executed with American Public Media Group (APMG) by which the radio station was sold to APMG for $20 million.  Many faithful listeners in community were outraged and as a result a lawsuit was filed to reverse the sale. 

On January 10th, 2009, Judge HOEVELER heard oral argument on the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the lawsuit and he entered an order allowing the case to proceed to the discovery stage that would allow the plaintiffs to request specific information from the Defendants relating to the allegations contained in the complaint. 

The Plaintiffs' complaint contains several counts alleging misdeeds on the part of the Defendants as to how they solicited donations and the manner in which the donations were improperly diverted to the state of Illinois where Trinity operates a university.  In their complaint, the Plaintiffs contend that the Defendants improperly solicited donations for WMCU and then diverted the funds to the Illinois university.  The Plaintiffs' complaint further alleges that the Defendants received donations clearly earmarked for WMCU and 89.7 Spirit FM when no such corporate or legal entity existed.  Several issues of fact arise as to how checks issued to WMCU - SPIRIT FM were cashed when there never existed a legal entity by the name of "WMCU" or "SPIRIT FM."

Also, the 2004 annual report published by Trinity International University states that WMCU donations were deemed restricted donations for the radio station, yet the Defendants now argue that the donations were unrestricted and could be applied or used at their own discretion.  These inconsistencies will be explored in more detail during the discovery stage that Judge HOEVELER has allowed to proceed.

We welcome any and all comments regarding this case.

If further information is required please do not hesitate to reach me at 305 728 1341 or at aalfano998@aol.com.

Alexander J. Alfano, Esquire
2655 Le Jeune Road, Fourth Floor
Coral Gables, Florida 33134
305 728 1341
305 728 1331 facsimile
Category: Judicial
Tags: WMCU 89.7 Spirit FM Trinity International University Hoeveler