Oh, this one plays into so many stereotypes that if a movie scriptwriter composed this, it would be laughed away.
Seems as though Corpus Christi, Tex. resident Donald Winton not only decided to run a CB radio station on CB channel 19, but to re-broadcast a local AM broadcast station's programming on his station.
Apparently, it seems as though this caused all sorts of problems for CB channel 19 in the Corpus Christi area. This, in turn, drew successful signal detection efforts and attention of the FCC's Houston Office- and a visit to Winton's property from an inspector from the FCC's Enforcement bureau.
The long and short of it: the FCC inspector was not greeted warmly. Winton did turn off his station, but citing risks from his dogs, Winton did not let the FCC inspector inside his home for an inspection of transmission facilities. You are supposed to allow FCC inspectors into your home, you know. In fact it is in the law.
But for whatever his reasons, Winton refused to comply. That'd be $7,000, the FCC said.
Following an appeal from Winton, the fine has been lowered to $225.
Today, the FCC issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order about this whole deal. The full report can be found here. But to get you started, I thought I would provide selected excerpts:
Mr. Winton states that he did not let the agent into his house, because of the danger posed by his dogs, and that he mentioned the dogs to the agent. He also claims that the agent acknowledged the dogs and said that “maybe the dogs won’t bite.” Mr. Winton further writes that the agent has “a vendetta out to get me cause I wouldn’t let you in my house and told you get off my property!"
We find that Mr. Winton has raised no arguments that would warrant reduction or cancellation of the forfeiture. Mr. Winton admits that he refused to allow the agent inside his home to inspect his CB station. As stated in the Forfeiture Order, if Mr. Winton was concerned about the agent’s safety, he should have confined his dogs to a separate room, prior to allowing the agent to inspect his CB station, rather than refusing the inspection.
Mr. Winton also asserts that he provided sufficient information regarding his finances to warrant a reduction in forfeiture. In response to the NAL, Mr. Winton provided copies of 1099 Social Security Forms from 2004 and 2005, a new Social Security benefit amount form for 2006 and a 2006 Notice of Eligibility of Benefits from the Texas Health & Human Services Commission.
Mr. Winton was asked to provide additional information to demonstrate his inability to pay the forfeiture, namely federal tax returns for 2004, 2005, and 2006, or, if he did not file tax returns, a statement under penalty of perjury listing all of his sources of income for 2004, 2005, and 2006.
Mr. Winton did not provide this information, so the Bureau was unable to determine in the Forfeiture Order whether a reduction was warranted. Subsequent to filing his petition for reconsideration, Mr. Winton provided additional documentation regarding his sources of income. After examining the financial documentation submitted by Mr. Winton, we conclude that a reduction of the forfeiture to $225 is warranted based on his demonstrated inability to pay.
Do you think that by not letting the FCC inspector into his home, Mr. Winton stretched his apparent passion for private property rights a bit too far?