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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of File Number: EB-06-CG-064
Steven A. Skalecki NAL/Acct. No: 200832320001
Milwaukee, WI FRN: 0017228933
Memorandum opinion and order
Adopted: October 4, 2011 Released: October 6, 2011
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
1. In this Memorandum Opinion and Order ("MO&O"), issued pursuant to
section 405 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"), and
section 1.106 of the Commission's rules, we deny the Petition for
Reconsideration ("Petition") filed by Steven A. Skalecki ("Mr.
Skalecki") in response to the Forfeiture Order issued by the
Enforcement Bureau's Northeast Region (the "Region"). The Forfeiture
Order imposed a monetary forfeiture in the amount of $10,000 for Mr.
Skalecki's willful and repeated operation of an unlicensed broadcast
station in violation of section 301 of the Communications Act of 1934,
as amended ("Act"). For the reasons set forth below, the Petition is
2. On December 14, 2007, the Enforcement Bureau's Chicago Office issued a
Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture ("NAL") to Mr. Skalecki
for operation of an unlicensed broadcast station on the frequency 92.9
MHz in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As detailed in the NAL, agents from the
Chicago Office determined that, despite receipt of a Notice of
Unlicensed Operation, Mr. Skalecki continued to operate an unlicensed
station on 92.9 MHz from his property at 9026 W. Burdick Avenue in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin between March 25, 2006 and May 28, 2007. In the
Forfeiture Order, the Region affirmed the findings in the NAL and
rejected Mr. Skalecki's claims that he did not have any broadcast
equipment at 9026 W. Burdick Avenue and that the broadcasts on 92.9
MHz were coming from another nearby property.
3. In the Petition, Mr. Skalecki requests an evidentiary hearing under
section 503(b)(3)(A) of the Act. In the alternative, Mr. Skalecki
requests cancellation of the proposed forfeiture and reiterates his
claims in response to the NAL that he did not operate a radio station
on 92.9 MHz at his residence and that the only equipment he operated
from his residence was his weather monitoring equipment. In addition,
Mr. Skalecki now claims that he was at work during the times the FCC
agents determined that a station was operating from his residence and
that an individual named Sonny Soviato ("Mr. Soviato") was operating
the station without his knowledge during the dates in question.
4. Mr. Skalecki reports that he first met Mr. Soviato in December 2005 at
a local restaurant. Mr. Soviato "wanted to spread the Word of the Lord
via freedom of speech" and asked Mr. Skalecki if he had a place for
him "to set up his computer equipment for this purpose." Mr. Skalecki
states that Mr. Soviato asked "to rent my home intermittently. . .
particularly on Sundays and on other religious days for a total of up
to 6 or 7 days each month" at a rate of forty dollars per day. Mr.
Skalecki further reports that when Mr. Soviato installed his
equipment, Mr. Soviato connected his own computer to a router module,
which was connected to a small "black box," which in turn was
connected to Mr. Skalecki's weather transmission cable. Mr. Skalecki
reports that he "suspected Sonny's [Mr. Saviato's] equipment" as early
as March 2007, which is approximately one year prior to the date Mr.
Skalecki filed his response to the NAL. According to Mr. Skalecki, Mr.
Soviato assured him he was transmitting on the Internet only, but Mr.
Skalecki now reports that he believes the "black box" was the
"broadcast culprit on 92.9 MHz which I was not aware of at the time."
5. Petitions for reconsideration are granted only in limited
circumstances. Absent "a material error or omission in the underlying
order," or unless a petitioner raises "additional facts not known or
not existing until after the petitioner's last opportunity to present
such matters," reconsideration is not warranted. "A petition for
reconsideration that reiterates arguments . . . previously considered
and rejected will be denied." For the reasons set forth below, we deny
6. First, it repeats arguments previously considered and rejected. The
Region previously addressed in the Forfeiture Order Mr. Skalecki's
claim that an unlicensed radio broadcast station was not operating
from his property at 9026 W. Burdick Avenue in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
In rejecting Mr. Skalecki's claim that the station was operating from
a nearby property, the Region noted that the only evidence he provided
in support of his claim was a list of nine dates on which he states he
observed a station operating on 92.9 MHz from a nearby residence at
South 93rd Street and West Oklahoma Avenue. Absent evidence that the
agents' direction findings and field strength measurements were in
error, the Region found that there was no basis for rejecting the
agents' determination that an unlicensed broadcast station operated
from 9026 W. Burdick Avenue, a property owned by Mr. Skalecki.
7. Second, as to the facts Mr. Skalecki presents here for the first time
regarding Mr. Soviato, we find that such facts could have been
presented to the Bureau in response to the NAL and reconsideration on
the basis of such facts is not warranted. Mr. Skalecki reports that he
first began to "suspect [that] Sonny's [Mr. Soviato's] equipment" may
be responsible for the broadcast transmissions emanating from his
house in March 2007, which is almost one year before he filed the
response to the NAL. In his response to the NAL, Mr. Skalecki makes no
mention of Mr. Soviato or the possibility that someone else might be
operating a station from his house. Given that Mr. Skalecki has failed
to present any evidence that these facts were unknown or otherwise
unavailable at the time of his response to the NAL, we will not
consider them here.
8. We also deny Mr. Skalecki's request for an evidentiary hearing under
section 503(b)(3)(A) of the Act, which states that "[a]t the
discretion of the Commission, a forfeiture penalty may be determined
against a person .. after notice and an opportunity for a hearing
before the Commission or an administrative law judge...." Section
1.80(g) of the Rules states that procedures for hearings "will
ordinarily be followed only when a hearing is being held for some
reason other than the assessment of a forfeiture...." Section 1.80(g)
of the Rules further states that "these procedures may be followed
whenever the Commission, in its discretion, determines that they will
better serve the ends of justice." Accordingly, the "reference to a
notice of opportunity for hearing mentioned in section 1.80(g) of the
Rules is a discretionary provision available to the Commission that is
not normally utilized when only monetary forfeiture matters are
involved." We conclude that an evidentiary hearing is not required in
this case, which involves solely a monetary forfeiture. Mr. Skalecki
received notice regarding the legal and factual bases for the
violation and proposed forfeiture in accord with the forfeiture
provisions of the Act, and has been afforded an opportunity to respond
and present exculpatory arguments and evidence.
IV. ordering clauses
9. Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to section 405 of the
Communications Act of 1934, as amended, and section 1.106 of the
Commission's rules ("Rules"), that the Petition for Reconsideration
filed by Steven A. Skalecki IS DENIED and the Forfeiture Order IS
10. IT IS ALSO ORDERED that, pursuant to section 503(b) of the Act, and
sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80(f)(4) of the Rules, Steven A. Skalecki
IS LIABLE FOR A MONETARY FORFEITURE in the amount of ten thousand
dollars ($10,000) for violations of section 301 of the Act.
11. Payment of the forfeiture shall be made in the manner provided for in
section 1.80 of the Rules within thirty (30) days of the release of
this Memorandum Opinion and Order. If the forfeiture is not paid
within the period specified, the case may be referred to the
Department of Justice for enforcement pursuant to section 504(a) of
the Act. Payment of the forfeiture must be made by credit card, check,
or similar instrument, payable to the order of the Federal
Communications Commission. The payment must include the NAL/Account
Number and FRN referenced above. Payment by check or money order may
be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St.
Louis, MO 63197-9000. Payment by overnight mail may be sent to U.S.
Bank - Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza,
St. Louis, MO 63101. Payment by wire transfer may be made to ABA
Number 021030004, receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and account number
27000001. For payment by credit card, an FCC Form 159 (Remittance
Advice) must be submitted. When completing the FCC Form 159, enter
the NAL/Account number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID), and
enter the letters "FORF" in block number 24A (payment type code).
Requests for full payment under an installment plan should be sent
to: Chief Financial Officer -- Financial Operations, 445 12th Street,
S.W., Room 1-A625, Washington, D.C. 20554. Please contact the
Financial Operations Group Help Desk at 1-877-480-3201 or Email:
ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov with any questions regarding payment procedures.
Steven A. Skalecki shall also send electronic notification to
NER-Response@fcc.gov on the date said payment is made.
12. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Memorandum Opinion and Order shall be
sent by both regular mail and by certified mail, return receipt
requested, to Steven A. Skalecki at his address of record.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
P. Michele Ellison
Chief, Enforcement Bureau
47 U.S.C. S: 405.
47 C.F.R. S: 1.106.
See Letter from Steven H. Jesser, counsel for Steven A. Skalecki, to Paula
Michele Ellison, Acting General Counsel, dated April 14, 2009, which we
are treating as a timely-filed Petition for Reconsideration. At the
staff's request, Skalecki also submitted supplemental information. See
"Order of Events Leading to the Issuance of Notice of Apparent Liability
for Forfeiture (NAL) by Steven A. Skalecki," dated June 22, 2009 ("NAL
Order of Events") and "Order of Events on Sonny Soviato (tenant who rented
@ 9026 W. Burdick Avenue)," dated July 2, 2009 ("Sonny Soviato Order of
Events"). The Petition for Reconsideration and the supplements will be
referred to collectively as the "Petition."
Steven A. Skalecki, Forfeiture Order, 24 FCC Rcd 3061 (Enf. Bur. 2009)
47 U.S.C. S: 301.
Steven A. Skalecki, Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture, NAL/Acct.
No. 200832320001 (Chicago Office, rel. Dec. 14, 2007).
On April 17, 2006, the Chicago Office issued a Notice of Unlicensed
Operation ("NOUO") to Mr. Skalecki for his unlicensed operation of an FM
broadcast station on the frequency 92.9 MHz from his property in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The NOUO warned that unlicensed operation of a radio
station violated the Act and the Rules and that continued operation could
subject the operator to further enforcement action.
A comprehensive recitation of the facts and history of this case can be
found in the NAL and the Forfeiture Order, which are incorporated here by
Forfeiture Order, 24 FCC Rcd at 3063.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(3)(A).
See NAL Order of Events and Sonny Soviato Order of Events. In response to
the NAL, Mr. Skalecki stated that he does not live at 9026 W. Burdick
Avenue and that the house "is minimally furnished, since it is used for
weather observation only. The 50 ft. pole in the backyard is used for
weather monitoring purposes." See NAL at 1. In the NAL Order of Events,
Mr. Skalecki refers to the property at 9026 W. Burdick Avenue as his
"residence." Because Mr. Skalecki does not deny owning the property at
9026 W. Burdick Avenue, it is irrelevant whether he lives there and we
will refer to the property therein as his residence.
See NAL Order of Events and Sonny Soviato Order of Events.
See Sonny Soviato Order of Events at 1.
Mr. Skalecki explains that the "black box" contained a circuit board and
"dip switches and knobs for adjusting the audio level." See Sonny Soviato
Order of Events at 1.
Christian Family Network, Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 23 FCC Rcd
18369, 18371, para. 8 (Enf. Bur. 2008); accord Bible Broadcasting Network,
Inc., Memorandum Opinion and Order, 26 FCC Rcd 2259 (Audio Div. 2011).
Christian Family Network, 23 FCC Rcd at 18371, para. 8.
Steven Skalecki, Forfeiture Order, 24 FCC Rcd at 3063.
We also have reason to believe that "Sonny Soviato" may be an alias for
Mr. Skalecki. On June 8, 2007, six months before issuance of the NAL, the
Chicago Office received a letter allegedly from Mr. Soviato regarding
three alleged low power stations operating in the Milwaukee area and
asking if he can "get a license for a low power station." The letter
provided a return address of 3151 S. Lenox Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,
which is Mr. Skalecki's prior residence. During the period of time at
issue here, such residence was registered as a trust in the names of
Arthur and Clara Skalecki, Francis J. Skalecki, and Steven Skalecki.
Agents also noted the remarkable similarities between Mr. Soviato's
signature on the June 8, 2007 letter and Mr. Skalecki's signature on his
responses to the NOUO and the NAL.
47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(3)(A).
47 C.F.R. S: 1.80(g).
Arcom Communications, Forfeiture Order, 20 FCC Rcd 20061, 20063 (Enf. Bur.
2005); see also Computer Data, Inc., Order, 9 FCC Rcd 263 (Field
Operations Bur., 1994).
47 U.S.C. S: 405.
47 C.F.R. S: 1.106.
47 U.S.C. S:S: 301, 503(b); 47 C.F.R. S:S: 0.111, 0.311, 1.80(f)(4).
47 U.S.C. S: 504(a).
(Continued from previous page)
Federal Communications Commission DA 11-1675
Federal Communications Commission DA 11-1675