Federal Judge To Ed Stolz: ‘Enough is Enough’


The continuing chronicle of the fate of three FM radio stations removed from the hands of Ed Stolz and his Royce International Broadcasting has shifted toward what appears to be a conclusion in California.

That said, given the lengthy attempts to prevent a court-ordered auction of not just those radio stations but now all of his broadcast assets, there are still no assurances Stolz won’t stop fighting — even after a scathing order denying a motion filed by Stolz’s attorney seeking to somehow dissolve a receivership the judge created in July 2020.

Before the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California were three motions filed by Stolz through his legal counsel: a motion for relief from the order establishing a
receivership and a final accounting order filed by Stolz; a motion for sanctions filed by a music rights coalition led by WB Music Corp. that was due royalty payments from Royce International, which started the legal saga in the first place; and a motion for sanctions from veteran media broker Larry Patrick.

For Judge Jesus Bernal, a resolution without a hearing was found to be appropriate, thus vacating a Monday (10/23) hearing at which Patrick was scheduled to attend. To little surprise, Bernal denied relief motion filed on behalf of Stolz while granting the motions from WB and Patrick.

Bernal’s temper was plainly obvious in the seven-page order released late Thursday by the court, noting “voluminous post-judgment proceedings of this case,” along with a brief rundown of how Royce on February 2021 began a process designed to remove Patrick as receiver. That motion was denied in March 2021, but an avenue was presented to Stolz to have the receivership terminated provided it satisfy terms laid out by the court.

That did not happen, yet Stolz through his legal counsel in 2021 filed a petition for mandamus, a motion for relief from various court orders, and an ex parte application for an order for Patrick’s final accounting. Each was denied by Bernal.

In August 2022, the Ninth Circuit, on appeal, was asked to discharge Patrick as receiver. They declined. Then, one year later, Stolz and his attorney tried again to obtain relief from the court. This August 2023 sparked a new round of back-and-forth filings, culminating with Bernal’s October 19 Order.

Bernal shared the reasoning behind the August 2023 motion presented by Stolz. His attorney involved “Rule 60,” on the alleged grounds that Patrick did not take the oath of office and that he engaged in fraud upon the court.

Bernal’s response? “Defendants [Stolz, et. al.] bring this motion in bad faith—Defendants’ arguments are unfounded, misrepresent the procedural history of this case, and have already been rejected by this Court and the Ninth Circuit on numerous occasions.”

Bernal further castigated Stolz for his “baseless attempt” to terminate the receivership, while then awarding reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in connection with the latest round of court time to both WB and Patrick — a new liability for Stolz.

Finally, in granting the motion from the plaintiffs (WB and Patrick), Bernal concluded that the contentions of Stolz “are devoid of any factual or legal support and constitute a waste of the court’s resources.”

Meanwhile, a bankruptcy court auction for radio stations remains on track for Thursday, October 26, at 9:30am Pacific.  This matter is being conducted by a Nevada federal bankruptcy court, where Stolz went in an attempt to thwart Bernal’s judgment. At first glance, it worked, as Judge August Landis declared that the three FM stations placed into receivership be returned to Stolz so that they could be counted as part of his total assets. Patrick complied, unwinding their sale to VCY America for $6 million. But, Stolz could not come up with a plan worthy of Landis’ court approval for a successful Chapter 11 restructuring that would allow him to retain ownership of the stations.

Ultimately, Landis took a page out of Bernal’s book by putting the not just the FMs but also KBET-AM in Las Vegas and FM translators in Palm Springs, Calif., up for bids. Today, they are under the receivership of Phoenix bankruptcy attorney Michael Carmel.

Of the stations once controlled by Stolz, a placeholder format is presently airing on KFRH-FM 104.3 in Las Vegas and KREV-FM in San Francisco, today branded as “HU$TLE” and airing a Rhythmic Top 40 format operated by AutoPilot FM via a LMA with Carmel. KRCK-FM in Palm Springs and KBET-AM in Las Vegas are each reported silent under a FCC Special Temporary Authority request.