OpenBand Dispute Heating Up

By Loudoun Insider

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors wil be voting tomorrow on setting up a schedule to hear the issues surrounding the OpenBand franchise agreement (summary of the issue here in the BOS meeting packet).  OpenBand is a venture of MC Dean, led by Bill Dean, big Dick Black supporter and part-owner of the Loudoun Times Mirror.  They have exclusive rights to serve homes in Broadlands and Lansdowne, with their fees collected as part of the HOA dues.  Many people have problems with their service, so much so that they utilize alternative TV and internet services, all while still continuing to pay their mandatory non-negotiable OpenBand fees through their HOA dues.  Competition is not alive and kicking in Loudoun County.  We’ll see where the BOS goes with this.


Comments

  • DC Beltway Bandit says:

    Where do I start?

    I am one of those 4,000 OpenBand customers. To say their video service stinks is an understatement. Each month $52.25 of my $155/mo telco HOA assessment goes to their horrid video service and I pay another $188 towards regular HOA stuff. On top of that I pay $79 to DirecTV, because Openband’s service is that bad.

    Someone told me that the developer gets 8% & 12% from this 75 year contract, by my estimates that nearly $139M of pure butter cream profit. So Hobie & Al sold my telco rights for 75 years to pad their pockets.

    I am disgusted that Delaugio received 10s of 1,000 of $ from McDean/Developers and he is on the BoS Committee. This politico should recuse himself from any OpenBand vote.

    I am disgusted that Loudoun County has collected nearly $708K in franchise/PEG fees from each resident, all the while knowing Openband’s franchise has lapsed in 2009. Who dropped the ball? Why are residents still paying these fees to LoCo? Why did the PC/BoS approve the special exception land use application, which granted multiple private & blanket easements on public/private rights away?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I think the candidates from these communities should state how they feel about these exclusive long term agreements (up to 75 years), especially the Republican ones. Let’s see how truly free market they are.

  • DC Beltway Bandit says:

    LI – what is WORSE FACT: June 2009-Present, Loudoun County has collected nearly $708,000 in Franchise & PEG fees from nearly 4,000 OpenBand customers.

    Now I know how DC feels, Tax without representation.

    Christ if I was a BoS member I’d pray that none of the HOAs sues the County over the franchise fee collected by the County.

  • Defrauded Resident says:

    This whole contract stinks to high heaven. Not only do they have exclusive access to these communities (Against Federal Law: FCC Ruling 07-51), and the prior HOA declarant finagled kickbacks to themseleves from a company they already own (Against State Law: Virginia Non-Stock Corporate Act), but now they have been operating in Loudoun County for nearly two years without a valid franchise agreement. Why the BoS would even consider granting a new franchise is beyond me.

  • Lansdowne Blues says:

    I am also a Republican and this is truly a free market issue. It is effectively a scam. This was not disclosed to us. No it is NOT buried in the big pile of paper. The HOA’s are facing liability, the county is facing liability. This is a big mess. The county should stay away from franchising with a ten foot pole.

    And you are absolutely right about candidates from these communities taking a stance. John Whitbeck of the Lansdowne HOA is running for a Republican office and he has been lukewarm at best on trying to deal with Openband. He has even abstained on many Openband votes. Ne better come out soon against the Openband monopoly.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Shawn Williams has been involved in OpenBand issues through the HOA Board he sits on as well. I would expect any Republican office holder or office seeker in Loudoun County would want to be wary of ticking off Bill Dean.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Dean has not given tons of money as an individual:

    http://www.vpap.org/donors/profile/index/36004?end_year=2009&filter_cmte=all&filter_cmte_radio=all&lookup_type=year&order=amount&page=1&start_year=2001

    But his company MC Dean Building Intelligence is a HUGE donor:

    http://www.vpap.org/donors/profile/index/134392?end_year=2010&filter_cmte=all&filter_cmte_radio=all&lookup_type=year&order=amount&page=1&start_year=2000

    As far as the Dick Black connection goes – Dean has given $2,000 personally to Dick Black, and $19,500 through his company, for a total of $21,500.

  • LloydTheIdiot says:

    I see the contributions from Dean to Delgaudio, but if every politico had to recuse himself from consideration of matters that involved donors, we’d have no one to run the shop.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I think the current BOS policy is to recuse on matters where an applicant has given campaign money to someone within six months of the vote.

  • Loudounite says:

    Donofrio, advisor to several R campaigns, including Ralph Buona, is the hired gun of Open Band — so I guess we know where those candidates stand!

  • The Shadow (redux) says:

    The Gang of 5 (circa 2003) approved the land use & special exception application(s), which allowed Van Metre & Lansdowne Development Corp to grant 3 easements to OpenBand.

    Because of this the “exclusive access” to both communities was all but locked in for 75 years. Readers need to keep a few things in mind;
    1) One of the three easements is a blanket easement, which encompasses both public and private rights-of-way.
    2) The blanket easement and easements 2 & 3 (known as the surviving easement) are not recorded on each homeowner’s plot, which is certified paperwork provided to homeowners at the time of settlement.
    3) The HOA telco contract (75 year monopoly) was not disclosed to homeowners until Oct 2009.

    In the end the County approved these developments and I don’t think the County can wash their hands from this mess.

    I would very interested to see where the LCRC candidates stand on this issue. The Casey Group (D’Onofrio/Kalina) are representing Openband interest, so any future candidate will be closely scrutinized by voters from these effected communities.

  • DC Beltway Bandit says:

    Just shows the lengths MCdean and Openband will go to in protecting their interest. They are in the pockets of previous board members and trying to influence the future board.

    Politics at its worst, fleece the homeowners and protect the cash cow of openband.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    From what I’ve been told, Kalina is no longer part of The Casey Group. But the LCDC Communications Chairman is.

  • The Shadow (redux) says:

    I head the LCDC Comm Chair stepped down, but heck what do I know. Rumors in the Loudoun Political machine, who knows what to believe.

    It’s interesting that Delgaudio has received a ton of cash from McDean & Van Metre, while being quoted in the Leesburg Today story (April 13); “those unhappy with Openband can pay an additional $75 for satellite”.

    One community has 498 satellite dishes. That means nearly 500 residents are pay > $600 a year for video service they do not use, because it is mandatory due to their HOA telco assessments. And the county gets a 5% piece of that action as well as a $1 PEG fee per household.

  • Defrauded Resident says:

    Let me get this straight: The county is taking 5% of my mandatory fees + $1 per month and is also not assessing a $500 per day fine for every day OpenBand has been operating without a valid franchise agreement. Additionally, the original builder who set this up is also getting 8%. So, of the roughly $150 I pay per month: $8.50 goes to the county, $12 goes to the builder, and $129.50 goes to OpenBand for services that are technilogically 10 years behind and has vastly less features that I would have to pay extra to obtain while other providers in LC offer them up as part of their basic package for $89.00, which includes the fees to the county. Meanwhile, OpenBand is not being fined nearly $700k for operating illegally. This is worse than a record deal and those are really bad. Sounds like everybody is making bank off of us.

  • Loudounite says:

    Here I only thought the Casey group guy with the LCDC was advising McGimsey’s campaign (I just naturally expect conflicts of interest when it comes to her) I didn’t realize he was in leadership too. How the heck did that happen….? Wow! I guess there is enough craziness on both sides of the aisle to go around…

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Interesting chatter at Loudoun Progress on this issue:

    http://www.loudounprogress.org/?p=1343

    Who knows with all those shadowy black ops operators, Loudounite! McGimsey showed no consulting expendtiures this report – we’ll have to wait and see who tries to save that sinking ship.

  • Defrauded Resident says:

    Check this link out:

    http://williamsforsupervisor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1290&Itemid=618

    Shawn Williams has received an endorsement from David D’Onofrio who is a principle at The Casey Group, the same Casey Group that is currently lobbying the current BoS on behalf of OpenBand…..I going to go get sick and then spend at least an hour on the heavy bag downstairs…..not a happy camper now.

  • G.Stone says:

    David D’Onofrio is a great guy. Yes, he is a principle with the Casey Group. The Casey Group is a public relations company in business to provide professional services to Companies, political campaigns and others who require their services. They are good at what they do and in demand. I can’t speak for them but most companies that do this type of work are representing their customers interests and point of view. They operate much like legal counsel, they represent a client. There is nothing wrong or nefarious about what The Casey Group does.

    Should they contact you for approval or take a poll here prior to taking on a new client ? Should they try to find consensus among bloggers before they contract new work ? No on both counts. They should engage in contractual agreements that are in their best interest as a company, do the work in a professional manner and succeed based on their reputation.
    to provide a good work product. Period.

    I know if I have have a need for the kind services and products the Casey Group provides, they will be the first ones I call. David and his group are real pros. Top shelf.

  • G.Stone says:

    I should clarify, that what the Casey Group does for their clients is separate and apart from any work done for candidates or parties. They are a bipartisan pr firm and like I said, a damn good one.

  • [...] where he has been involved in the Lansdowne HOA.  He has become controversial in regard to the ongoing OpenBand issue, so much so that Loudoun Supervisor candidate Shawn Williams removed his name from his endorsement [...]

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