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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of ) File No. EB-06-SE-366
Telcom Rentals, Inc. ) NAL/Acct. No. 200732100032
Lake Charles, Louisiana ) FRN # 0005891031
NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE
Adopted: May 16, 2007 Released: May 18, 2007
By the Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL"), we find
Telcom Rentals, Inc. ("Telcom"), owner of an antenna structure located
in Lake Charles, Louisiana, apparently liable for a forfeiture in the
amount of three thousand dollars ($3,000) for willful and repeated
violation of Section 17.4(a)(1) of the Commission's Rules ("Rules").
The noted apparent violation involves Telcom's failure to register its
antenna structure with the Commission prior to construction of the
2. Telcom completed construction of the Lake Charles, Louisiana antenna
structure in April 2002, and filed an application to register the
structure on May 22, 2002, along with an environmental assessment. On
June 19, 2002, the American Bird Conservancy/Forest Conservation
Council ("Conservancy-Council") filed a petition to deny Telcom's
application alleging failure to provide an adequate environmental
3. In April 2006, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau became aware
that Telcom had constructed the antenna structure in 2002 prior to its
registration, when Telcom and the City of Lake Charles filed a request
for special temporary authority for the municipality to collocate its
licensed transmitter on Telcom's antenna structure. On August 10,
2006, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau dismissed the
Conservancy-Council petition, and registered Telcom's antenna
structure. However, because it appeared that Telcom had failed to
register its antenna structure prior to construction as required by
Section 17.4(a) of the Rules, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
subsequently referred the case to the Spectrum Enforcement Division of
the Enforcement Bureau for investigation and possible enforcement
4. On January 4, 2007, the Enforcement Bureau's Spectrum Enforcement
Division issued Telcom a letter of inquiry ("LOI") to investigate
whether it failed to register its antenna structure prior to
construction of the tower. In its January 8, 2007 response to the LOI,
Telcom stated that it had received a building permit on December 14,
2001, ordered and received the tower in January 2002, received a "no
hazard" determination from the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA")
on January 25, 2002,and began construction of the tower in March 2002.
Telcom states that the construction was completed in April 2002, and
that no further modifications have been made to the structure since
its completion. Telcom states that the reason it built the tower prior
to registration was a lack of understanding and knowledge of the
proper order in which things were required to be done; furthermore, it
states that the employee associated with the project is no longer
employed with the company.
5. Section 17.4(a)(1) of the Rules provides that, effective July 1, 1996,
the owner of any proposed or existing antenna structure that requires
notice of proposed construction to the FAA must register the structure
with the Commission prior to construction or alteration. Failure to
register the tower in a timely manner is a violation of significance;
the Commission has repeatedly found that registration of towers is of
utmost importance in the interests of public safety.
6. As a tower owner, Telcom is required to complete registration of its
tower with the Commission prior to construction of the tower. Telcom
began construction of its tower without Commission registration in
March 2002, completed construction in April 2002, filed for tower
registration in May 2002, and did not complete registration of the
tower until August 10, 2006. By failing to register its tower prior to
construction and for more than four years thereafter, Telcom
apparently violated Section 17.4(a)(1) of the Rules.
7. Section 503(b) of the Act, and Section 1.80(a) of the Rules, provide
that any person who willfully or repeatedly fails to comply with the
provisions of the Act or the Rules shall be liable for a forfeiture
penalty. For purposes of Section 503(b) of the Act, the term "willful"
means that the violator knew that it was taking the action in
question, irrespective of any intent to violate the Commission's
Rules. The term "repeated" means that the action was taken more than
once, or, in the case of a continuing violation, for more than one
day. Based on the record before us, it appears that Telcom's violation
of Section 17.4(a)(1) of the Rules was willful and repeated.
8. In determining the appropriate forfeiture amount, Section 503(b)(2)(E)
of the Act directs us to consider factors, such as: "the nature,
circumstances, extent and gravity of the violation and, with respect
to the violator, the degree of culpability, any history of prior
offenses, ability to pay, and such other matters as justice may
9. The Commission has established base forfeiture amounts for certain
violations, but has not specified a base forfeiture amount for
constructing an antenna structure prior to registration as required
under Section 17.4(a)(1) of the Rules. The Commission has stated,
however, that "any omission of a specific rule violation from the ...
[forfeiture guidelines] should not signal that the Commission
considers any unlisted violation as nonexistent or unimportant."
Moreover, the Commission retains its discretion to issue forfeitures
on a case-by-case basis. Referring to the base forfeiture amount of
$3,000 for failure to file required forms, the Commission has
specified $3,000 as the forfeiture amount for violations of Section
17.4(a)(2) of the Rules for failure to register an antenna structure.
In this case, Telcom failed to register its antenna structure prior to
its tower construction. Accordingly, taking all statutory factors into
account, we conclude that failure to register an antenna is
sufficiently similar to the case at hand such that a base forfeiture
amount of $3,000 is appropriate for Telcom's apparent willful and
repeated violation of Section 17.4(a)(1) of the Rules.
10. Telcom's response to the LOI gives us no basis for mitigation of the
proposed forfeiture amount. Telcom states that it was unaware of the
"order in which things were to be done." As a tower owner, Telcom is
charged with the responsibility of knowing and complying with the Act
and the Rules, including the requirement that it must register the
antenna structure with the Commission prior to its construction. The
Commission has long held that a downward adjustment of an assessed
forfeiture is not justified where violators claim their actions or
omissions were due to inadvertent errors or unfamiliarity with the
statutory or regulatory requirements.
IV. ORDERING CLAUSES
11. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to pursuant to Section
503(b) of the Act and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the Rules,
Telcom Rentals, Inc. IS hereby NOTIFIED of its APPARENT LIABILITY FOR
A FORFEITURE in the amount of three thousand dollars ($3,000) for
willfully and repeatedly violating Section 17.4(a)(1) of the Rules.
12. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED THAT, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the Rules,
within thirty days of the release date of this Notice of Apparent
Liability for Forfeiture, Telcom Rentals, Inc., SHALL PAY the full
amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement
seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture.
13. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument,
payable to the order of the Federal Communications Commission. The
payment must include the NAL/Acct. No. and FRN No. referenced above.
Payment by check or money order may be mailed to Federal
Communications Commission, P.O. Box 358340, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-8340.
Payment by overnight mail may be sent to Mellon Bank/LB 358340, 500
Ross Street, Room 1540670, Pittsburgh, PA 15251. Payment by wire
transfer may be made to ABA Number 043000261, receiving bank Mellon
Bank, and account number 911-6106. A request for full payment of the
NAL under an installment plan should be sent to: Associate Managing
Director-Financial Operations, 445 12^th Street, S.W., Room 1-A625,
Washington, D.C. 20554.
14. The response, if any, must be mailed to the Office of the Secretary,
Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington,
D.C. 20554, ATTN: Enforcement Bureau - Spectrum Enforcement Division,
and must include the NAL/Acct. No. referenced in the caption.
15. The Commission will not consider reducing or canceling a forfeiture in
response to a claim of inability to pay unless the petitioner submits:
(1) federal tax returns for the most recent three-year period; (2)
financial statements prepared according to generally accepted
accounting practices; or (3) some other reliable and objective
documentation that accurately reflects the petitioner's current
financial status. Any claim of inability to pay must specifically
identify the basis for the claim by reference to the financial
16. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a copy of this Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture shall be sent by first class mail and certified mail
return receipt requested to Mr. Perry Vincent, President, Telcom
Rentals, Inc., 701 Martin Luther King Highway, P.O. Box 3143, Lake
Charles, Louisiana 70602.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Kathryn S. Berthot
Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division
47 C.F.R. S 17.4(a)(1).
See File No. A0267094.
The Conservancy-Council withdrew its petition on August 2, 2006, because
its concerns had been addressed by Telcom's addition of white strobe
lights to the tower. The petition was dismissed as moot on August 10,
2006, by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. See Letter from Dan
Abeyta, Esq., Assistant Chief, Spectrum and Competition Policy Division,
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, Federal Communications Commission to
Telcom Rentals, Inc. (August 10, 2006).
Antenna Structure Registration No. 1254599.
Letter from Kathryn S. Berthot, Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division,
Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission to Telcom Rentals,
Inc. (January 4, 2007).
Letter from Perry Vincent, President, Telcom Rentals, Inc. to Susan
Stickley, Esq., Spectrum Enforcement Division, Enforcement Bureau.,
Federal Communications Commission (January 8, 2007).
Id. (FAA study 01-ASW-7956-OE, filed December 10, 2001).
Id. at 1.
47 C.F.R. S 17.4(a)(1).
AT&T Wireless Services, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 16 FCC Rcd 6805, 6806
(Enf. Bur. 2001); AT&T Wireless Services, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC
Rcd 21866, 21871 (2002).
47 U.S.C. S 503(b).
47 C.F.R. S 1.80(a).
See Southern California Broadcasting Co., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 6
FCC Rcd 4387, 4388 (1991), recon. denied, 7 FCC Rcd 3454 (1992).
47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(E).
47 U.S.C. S 503(b)(2)(E). See also Forfeiture Policy Statement and
Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to Incorporate the Forfeiture
Guidelines ("Forfeiture Policy Statement"), Report and Order, 12 FCC Rcd
17087, 17110 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 303 (1999).
See Forfeiture Policy Statement 12 FCC Rcd at 17133-15; see also 47 C.F.R.
Forfeiture Policy Statement, 12 FCC Rcd at 17099.
See 47 C.F.R. S 1.80(b).
47 C.F.R. S 17.4(a)(2).
See AT&T Wireless Services, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability for
Forfeiture, 17 FCC Rcd. 7891, 7896 (2002), forfeiture ordered, 17 FCC Rcd
21866, 21873-74 (2002); Florida Food Products, Forfeiture Order, 19 FCC
Rcd 24923 (Enf. Bur. 2004), recon. denied, 21 FCC Rcd 9999 (Enf. Bur.
2006), recon. pending; Sutro Corporation, Forfeiture Order, 18 FCC Rcd
20529 (Enf. Bur. 2003), review denied, 19 FCC Rcd 15274 (2004).
Letter from Perry Vincent at 1.
See Discussion Radio, Incorporated, WDIS(AM), Memorandum Opinion and Order
and Notice of Apparent Liability, 19 FCC Rcd 7433, 7437 (2004); Eure
Family Limited Partnership, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 17 FCC Rcd
21861, 21863-64 (2002).
See Profit Enterprises, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 8 FCC Rcd 2846, 2846
(1993) (denying the mitigation claim of a manufacturer/distributor who
thought that the equipment certification and marketing requirements were
inapplicable, stating that its "prior knowledge or understanding of the
law is unnecessary to a determination of whether a violation existed ...
ignorance of the law is [not] a mitigating factor"); Lakewood Broadcasting
Service, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 37 FCC 2d 437, 438 (1972)
(denying a mitigation claim of a broadcast licensee who asserted an
unfamiliarity with the station identification requirements, stating that
licensees are expected "to know and conform their conduct to the
requirements of our Rules").
47 C.F.R. SS 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80.
See 47 C.F.R. S 1.1914.
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Federal Communications Commission DA 07-2085
Federal Communications Commission DA 07-2085