A Morgantown-based media company has sued West Virginia University administrators and members of its board of governors, accusing them of fraud, collusion and abuse of discretion in multiple business dealings.
The 206-page suit brought by West Virginia Radio Corp. late Wednesday seeks an injunction to remove multiple parties from the bidding process for multimedia rights for West Virginia University athletics. That process was redone a second time this spring at the urging of the state Attorney General's office.
The suit was filed in Monongalia County Circuit Court and names the university board of governors, board chairman Drew Payne, athletic director Oliver Luck, president Jim Clements, the West Virginia Foundation, West Virginia Media Holdings and its owner Bray Cary, and several others as defendants.
West Virginia Radio Corp. is owned by John Raese, who first raised ethical concerns this winter when the school sought bids to outsource its multimedia rights -- or third-tier media rights -- for the first time.
The complaint alleges that the defendants are guilty of fraud, collusion and abuse of discretion in regards to the purchase of a scoreboard for Milan Puskar Stadium in 2008, the bidding process for the school's third-tier media rights and surrounding an investment by the WVU Foundation in Cary's company, West Virginia Media Holdings.
The plaintiff asks the court to remove IMG College and West Virginia Media Holdings, LLC. from the bidding process for third-tier rights.
West Virginia had originally reached a deal with IMG College in January worth more than $110 million over 12 years. But after Raese raised concerns about the ethics of that deal, the university sought legal counsel and was urged by the attorney general's office to redo the process.
Bids were due the second time around on June 18.
The third-tier media rights include the rights to televising one football game a season and multiple non-conference basketball games, radio rights to football and basketball and in-house coaching shows.
University spokesman John Bolt said neither Clements nor Luck would be available for comment. The suit does not seek specific damages, but says the issues are not being raised for personal enrichment "but instead to vindicate the rights of West Virginia and its citizens who have been injured by the Insider Defendants' unlawful actions."
Jenn Menendez: email@example.com, 412-263-1959 and Twitter @JennMenendez.