The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

09 February 2007

Air America Radio Purchase, Al Franken's Salary


Al's Doing Just Fine, Thank You

*** Elsewhere: updates at SaveWRKO ***

After a barrage of Air America Radio press coverage this week, interrupted only by the death of Anna Nicole Smith, let's make one point clear to our mainstream media friends: Al Franken is doing just fine, thank you.

Simply because one of his $360,749 paychecks bounced does not mean Franken is some kind of a martyr for the cause. From day one, Stuart has been in the liberal politics business for personal enrichment and little else.

While some on the left seem to realize this, others have been taken for a ride.

From the New York Post:

February 8, 2007 -- Real estate tycoon Steve Green has won a bankruptcy fire sale to buy liberal radio network Air America for $4.25 million, but he isn't taking on any obligation to cover a bounced $360,749 paycheck to star commentator Al Franken.

Green, chairman of SL Green Realty who's bankrolled several political campaigns for his brother Mark Green, agreed to cover at least $1 million for certain creditors, such as real estate leases, and pay $3.25 million to Piquant LLC, which had kept the network on the air with loans during its seven-month bankruptcy ordeal.

The network lost money from its inception three years ago, amassing $42 million in losses since 2004. Piquant LLC bought Air America in 2004 for $750,000.

Air America had assets of $7.5 million and liabilities of $23.1 million.

Over a year ago, your Radio Equalizer first broke the details about Team Franken's outrageous salaries and spending habits:

When he claimed on-air to have only first heard of the scandal in early August, 2005, investigative partner Michelle Malkin and I produced a Franken-signed and notarized legal document disclosing the Gloria Wise mess, dated November, 2004.

Franken has long maintained the "loans" culprits were long-departed former managers, including Evan Montvel Cohen. While we've never claimed Franken was directly involved in securing the funds, it is fair to take issue with statements regarding his knowledge of the scandal.

Even if he truly didn't know, a position this signature strongly refutes, the company had to be aware it had no business placing Al and Billy ahead of inner-city schoolchildren.

Fearing Wise and other business issues would soon bring down the company, did Franken press ahead with upfront payment demands?

That's a funny thing, because when it came time to negotiate for 2006, Al was instead willing to take his base pay, now bumped up to a cool $2 million, in $500,000 quarterly chunks. And earlier in 2004, he frequently spoke of receiving paychecks like everyone else, including to the Journal.

Now, the party's over: with new ownership, Air America will no longer be there to pick up the tag for Franken and producer Billy Kimball's lavish spending, including outrageous restaurant tabs and other expensive whims.

Team Franken broke the bank, so now it's on to the next scheme.

Isn't the US Senate race just another of Franken's scams? Other than to maintain his lifestyle, what's the point of running? To this point, we've seen no evidence he is particularly passionate about issues.

To be fair, we have our share of similar hucksters on the right. But Franken has every move in this game mastered.

Sure, senators are paid a great deal less than Air America hosts, but fat campaign coffers will ensure Franken remains on easy street for the forseeable future. This time, Minnesota's voters will be on the losing end of Al Franken's lifestyle requirements.

Classic Franken images: David A Lunde, Pete at IHillary

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  • Franken wrote a couple best selling books. I don't think he needs "fat campaign coffers" to "remain on easy street".

    By Blogger qw3rty, at 09 February, 2007 14:04  

  • If my math's correct, the amount Franken is owed is two months' worth, not just one.

    If I hadn't already started a couple other ones recently, what I might do at this point is start a fake petition demanding that Green repay Franken so he (Franken) doesn't starve and can continue his good works. Anyone feel free to do that in my stead.

    By Blogger LonewackoDotCom, at 09 February, 2007 16:07  

  • Oh, this is delicious: you and your "investigative partner Michelle Malkin" trump up ludicrous financial scandal claims about multi-millionaire author Franken (who is still receiving royalties from the most succcessful comedy series segments in world tv history) draining the till at Air America, whose own founders admit never had even half the amount of startup money it needed. Now you say he's running for Congress to continue to clean up! Hilarious. His Midwestern (real, non-warmongering, non-chickenhawk, non-child molesting, non-gambling addict, non-drug addi ct hero) Values PAC gave away millions to candidates which he raised.

    Apparently you haven't listened to Franken in a year since his show is so issue oriented now with commentators Oliphant, Alter, Ornstein and Conason providing the smartest left commentary anywhere. Franken shows himself to be savvy as they are in his daily chats with them.

    Meanwhile the aptly named ankle biter lone(fat)wacko chimes in that he's gonna start a fake petition. How pathetic you morbidly obese dirty Bush lickers are getting, how sickly desperate. Seems you realize Franken is gonna cruise right into the Senate in Minnesota (where his show is popular in every city) and don't know exactly what to do since it isn't populated by ignorant morbidly obese knuckle-dragging rednecks who you can hookwink like your dumb-as-rocks confederate wing.

    By Blogger gregrocker, at 09 February, 2007 21:59  

  • " issue oriented now with commentators Oliphant, Alter, Ornstein and Conason providing the smartest left commentary anywhere..."

    Yep. I won't miss Franken, but I will miss THEM....

    On the upside, Thom Hartmann's knowledge base is devastating, and I believe he will actually attract a number of Jay Diamond types....the ones who wanted so-called conservatism without Rush's corporatist slant.

    In addition, you KNOW when you hear Vermont Teddy Bear ads on Sam Seder's show, that AAR is back in the saddle...

    It looks as though it maybe safe to wish them luck.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 09 February, 2007 23:20  

  • Other than to maintain his lifestyle, what's the point of running
    That might be the dumbest comment you've ever made -- and that's saying something. Senators make very little in comparison to best-selling authors or even hit sitcom writers. There are many reasons to go into politics -- but money isn't one of them.

    By Blogger Justin, at 10 February, 2007 07:59  

  • I keep running those numbers against the debts that are public, and I STILL can't figure out how the hell a bankruptcy judge can sign off on this...

    Then I remember it's Stephen Green, in New York... with a candlestick!

    By Blogger TC, at 11 February, 2007 02:08  

  • Reuters reports:
    (Stephen) Green already has advanced $250,000 to Air America's current lender
    , Democracy Allies LLC, established by the network's shareholders to keep it afloat during Chapter 11. The papers state that Air America will run out of cash and further borrowing authority by February 15, "and consequently will have insufficient monies to continue to operate thereafter absent a sale of the business."

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 11 February, 2007 10:52  

  • 250K is a mere bag of shells for someone like Stephen Green.

    It was interesting to hear Mark Green calling into to the AAR shows the other day. To a certain extent, it is somewhat reassuring.

    I really hope they don't flip the network, with its added value.

    By Blogger hashfanatic, at 11 February, 2007 21:56  

  • "...non-drug addict hero..."

    Hey Greg: Franken may be many things, but drug-free isn't one of them. In "Live From New York...", Tom Shales detailed how everyone backstage, including Franken, was doing copious amounts of blow back in the day.

    By Blogger BF, at 12 February, 2007 08:51  

  • "...Minnesota (where his show is popular in every city)"

    LOL I live in the Twin Cities and we barely get it here! It's been moved once on the dial and it's been pre-empted by local sporting events. I'm not sure how many cities AAR is playing in MN, but it can't be more than two or three...

    By Blogger OttO, at 14 February, 2007 02:23  

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