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Federal Communications Commission
Washington, DC 20554
In the Matter of
Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc.
File No.: EB-SED-15-00019993
NAL/Acct. No.: 201632100002
notice of apparent liability for forfeiture
Adopted: November 2, 2015
Released: November 2, 2015
By the Chief, Enforcement Bureau:
In the 21st Century, Wi-Fi represents an essential on-ramp to the Internet. Personal Wi-Fi networks, more commonly known as "hotspots," provide an important avenue for consumers to connect to the Internet. We have now advised on several occasions that the Communications Act prohibits any person or business from maliciously blocking or disrupting the lawful operation of neighboring Wi-Fi networks.
In November 2014, the Enforcement Bureau (Bureau) began a Wi-Fi blocking investigation of Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Hilton or Company) after receiving a complaint that the Hilton hotel in Anaheim, California blocked visitors' personal Wi-Fi hotspots unless they paid the hotel a $500 fee for Hilton's Wi-Fi. The Commission has also received complaints about other Hilton properties. To this day, however, Hilton has refused to comply with the Bureau's Letter of Inquiry (LOI) ordering the Company to provide documents and information about its Wi-Fi management practices for all relevant Hilton properties. Instead, a Hilton subsidiary initially responded only for a single property, arguing that the scope of the Bureau's investigation should be limited to Hilton's activities at its Anaheim hotel. Those answers were incomplete and inadequate even for that one property. After repeated warnings that the Company's response was inadequate, the Hilton subsidiary recently produced limited information regarding the Wi-Fi blocking systems utilized at a small number of additional Hilton properties and again failed to answer many of the questions in the LOI. We cannot and will not countenance such flouting of the Commission's responsibility and authority. Accordingly, we propose a penalty of $25,000 against Hilton for apparently willfully and repeatedly violating a Commission order by failing to respond to the Bureau's LOI and obstructing the Bureau's investigation into whether Hilton willfully interferes with consumer Wi-Fi devices in Hilton-brand hotel and resort properties across the United States. If this is not sufficient to secure Hilton's compliance with the Bureau's Wi-Fi blocking investigation, we are prepared to take further action in the future.
We therefore order Hilton, itself, to respond and to respond fully to the Bureau's November 7, 2014 LOI within thirty (30) calendar days from release of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order. We further order Hilton to immediately respond, within fifteen (15) calendar days from release of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, to a subset of critical LOI inquiries regarding the Company's Wi-Fi blocking practices, specified below. If Hilton delegates to a subsidiary the responsibility to provide any of these responses, Hilton must specify the reasons for doing so and certify, under penalty of perjury, that the subsidiary has provided full and complete responses on Hilton's behalf. Because Hilton's tactics and refusal to respond raise significant questions regarding the Company's potential interference with Wi-Fi communications, the Bureau must now expend additional scarce resources to further investigate and resolve this matter. We emphasize that if Hilton fails to submit a complete response, it may be subject to further enforcement action, including increasingly substantial monetary penalties. Furthermore, Hilton's failure to fully respond to each subsequent letter of inquiry or other directive that the Bureau issues in this investigation may be met with separate, additional monetary penalties up to the statutory maximum.
Our underlying investigation focuses on whether Hilton or its agents engaged in Wi-Fi blocking at any of its Hilton-brand properties across the United States, including franchised hotels. Wi-Fi blocking is a serious concern to the Commission because such activity, where it occurs, undermines wireless innovation and the availability of Wi-Fi as an important Internet access technology and harms consumers by preventing them from using services for which they have already paid. The Bureau recently took action against Wi-Fi service providers at conventions, meeting centers, and hotels throughout the United States for maliciously blocking consumers from establishing independent Wi-Fi hotspots. And, today in a separate action, the Commission proposed to fine M.C. Dean $718,000 for apparently engaging in Wi-Fi blocking at the Baltimore Convention Center.
The Internet is a vital platform for economic growth, innovation, competition, and free expression, and Wi-Fi is an important technology that enables the wireless connection of low-power electronic devices (e.g., smartphones) to that platform. Wi-Fi networks have proliferated in places accessible to the public, and consumers are increasingly establishing their own Wi-Fi networks by using mobile hotspots and their wireless data plans to access the Internet through Wi-Fi-enabled devices, such as laptop computers.
Wi-Fi devices operate on frequencies shared with other unlicensed devices; their rights are limited to facilitate sharing. Section 333 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Act), provides broadly that "[n]o person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this Act or operated by the United States Government." Thus, all Wi-Fi devices are prohibited from maliciously interfering with or causing interference to authorized communications, including other Wi-Fi transmissions.
Wi-Fi blocking occurs when a Wi-Fi system disrupts the lawful operation of a neighboring Wi-Fi network. The Bureau has consistently warned against causing intentional interference to lawful communications such as Wi-Fi transmissions.
Hilton is a global corporation with more than 4,300 hotel, timeshare, and resort properties worldwide, including such brands as Waldorf Astoria, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Doubletree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Home2 Suites by Hilton, and Homewood Suites by Hilton. Hilton holds multiple FCC licenses through its wholly-owned subsidiaries and manages several franchised hotels throughout the United States that also hold FCC licenses.
Last year, the Bureau received a consumer complaint alleging Wi-Fi blocking at a Hilton-brand hotel in Anaheim, California, next to the Anaheim Convention Center. The complainant stated that Hilton blocked Wi-Fi access for visitors at the venue unless they paid a $500 fee. In response, the Bureau's Spectrum Enforcement Division (Division) commenced an investigation of potential malicious interference at Hilton-brand properties within the United States. On November 7, 2014, the Division issued the LOI to Hilton seeking basic information and documents concerning its corporate structure and its Wi-Fi management practices at Hilton-brand properties in the United States, including the specific technologies deployed. Following email and telephone discussions, the Division granted Hilton a seven-day extension in which to respond to inquiries regarding the Hilton-brand hotel named in the complaint and a thirty-day extension in which to respond to inquiries regarding the additional Hilton-brand properties, including franchised hotels, that were encompassed by the LOI.
Nearly one year later, Hilton has yet to fully respond to the LOI. Instead, on December 15, 2014, the Division received a response to the LOI from Hilton's subsidiary, Hilton Worldwide, Inc. (HWI). Neither the HWI Response nor the cover letter from counsel explained why a response was submitted by HWI instead of Hilton, the entity to which the LOI was directed. The HWI Response also was not supported by a declaration by a corporate officer of Hilton, despite the requirement for such a declaration as specified in the LOI. HWI stated that it submitted the response on behalf of itself and the Hilton subsidiary that manages the property mentioned in the complaint. The HWI Response contained corporate policy documents pertaining only generally to wireless management practices (which did not discuss Wi-Fi blocking) and provided Wi-Fi management records pertaining only to the single Hilton-brand property named in the complaint. The HWI Response did not provide any information or documents regarding other Hilton-brand properties.
HWI stated that providing the omitted material "would be oppressive and unduly burdensome," and questioned the Bureau's authority to investigate potential Wi-Fi blocking at other Hilton-brand properties. The HWI Response failed to provide any answer to certain inquiries and provided inadequate, inconsistent, or incomplete responses to other questions. HWI expressly disclaimed a willingness to provide additional information and documents, objecting to the scope of any investigation beyond the hotel named in the complaint, to inquiries that it called irrelevant, "overly broad," or "oppressive and unduly burdensome," and to the Bureau's authority to investigate.
The deadline for the Company to produce materials regarding potential Wi-Fi blocking at certain additional Hilton-brand hotels expired on January 7, 2015. An April 7, 2015 Supplemental Response from HWI, again without a declaration from a corporate officer of Hilton, provided only minimal clarifying information regarding the hotel named in the complaint and no additional documents concerning Wi-Fi blocking policies.
On June 16, 2015, the Division issued a follow-up letter to Hilton and its counsel warning the Company that its failure to respond to the LOI could be considered an obstruction of a Bureau investigation. The letter directed Hilton to explain whether the HWI responses were submitted on Hilton's behalf and whether the information provided by HWI represented Hilton's full response to the LOI. The letter further directed Hilton to provide complete responses to each of the Bureau's inquiries and submit any outstanding information and documents requested, including information concerning its Wi-Fi management practices at certain other Hilton-brand properties. The letter directed Hilton to fully respond to the Division's LOI within seven calendar days.
Hilton's counsel responded with a letter stating that HWI had provided information on behalf of Hilton and reasserting HWI's earlier objections to production of the information and documents. The June 23 Letter stated that HWI was the most "relevant" subsidiary of Hilton to respond because it possessed the "information the Enforcement Bureau is seeking." The June 23 Letter also declared that "the HWI response dated December 15, 2014, as supplemented by [the] letter of April 7, 2015, represents the `full and complete response from Hilton.'" The June 23 Letter did not provide a declaration from an officer of Hilton itself attesting to the completeness and veracity of the information provided by HWI. The June 23 Letter also failed to provide any of the additional requested information concerning Hilton's Wi-Fi management practices at either the one property identified in the initial complaint or any of the Company's other Hilton-brand properties. The June 23 Letter repeated HWI's earlier objections that providing such information would be "oppressive and unduly burdensome and not reasonably related to the purpose of the Enforcement Bureau's investigation" and claimed to be unaware that the Bureau continued to expect a complete response. In what HWI claimed was "evidence of Hilton's good faith," HWI advised the Bureau that certain of the information regarding Hilton-brand properties was available on Hilton's website. Lastly, the June 23 Letter stated that Hilton was willing to discuss its concerns regarding the scope of the investigation, which it repeated should be limited to a single hotel.
In one final attempt to secure Hilton's compliance with the LOI, the Bureau again warned Hilton that it was prepared to take formal action against the Company for obstructing the Bureau's investigation, unless Hilton complied fully with the November 2014 LOI. HWI thereafter provided two additional sets of information. On September 17, 2015, HWI sent an email containing a list of the Hilton-brand hotels that it owns or manages within the United States and, for the first time, copies of certain internal communications to its properties specific to its Wi-Fi blocking policies. On October 2, 2015, HWI submitted a Second Supplemental Response that provides information only about its use of a single type of Wi-Fi system that has been deployed at nineteen Hilton properties. HWI has previously represented that the type of Wi-Fi system for which it chose to provide information has the capacity to block consumer hotspots, but does not have the ability to document automatic blocking if it occurs. The Second Supplemental Response did not provide any information regarding the Wi-Fi systems deployed at any other Hilton property. It was signed by an officer of HWI rather than Hilton and was not accompanied by the affidavits or declarations of persons with personal knowledge of the factual representations, as expressly required by the LOI. As of today, Hilton has not provided any of the requested information about the other types of Wi-Fi systems that have been deployed at its other properties or how they might have been used to block consumer hotspots.
We conclude that Hilton apparently willfully and repeatedly failed to respond to a Commission order - the Bureau's LOI. To the extent that Hilton claims that it intended to adopt its subsidiary's responses, not only has it failed to do so properly, but it ignores the fact that those responses themselves impermissibly narrowed the scope of the LOI and withheld a significant amount of material information. Simultaneous with the issuance of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, the Bureau is sending Hilton a letter detailing the principal deficiencies in the HWI responses. As discussed below, we find that Hilton's violations are egregious, intentional, and continuing over a period of ten months. In light of these factors and Hilton's ability to pay, we propose a $25,000 penalty and order Hilton to provide a complete response to the LOI within thirty days and a complete response to a limited set of inquiries within fifteen days. We reserve the right to order Hilton to provide additional information based on its response thereto.
Hilton Apparently Failed to Comply with a Commission Order
Hilton apparently willfully and repeatedly violated a Commission order by failing to respond to the LOI. The Commission's authority to conduct investigations is well-established. The Commission has repeatedly taken enforcement action against entities that disregard orders to provide information related to potential violations of the Act or the Commission's rules. Accordingly, companies that receive LOIs must timely file complete and accurate responses to the Bureau's questions. Failure to timely and fully respond to the Bureau's inquiries violates the Act.
Hilton failed to respond to the LOI. Hilton, the parent company to which our LOI was directed, has failed to respond to our initial inquiry. To the extent that it intended to adopt its subsidiary's responses, it never provided a declaration from a Hilton officer on behalf of Hilton attesting to the accuracy of that response. The June 23 Letter and the subsequent submissions fail to cure this problem, because they also omit any declaration from a Hilton corporate officer supporting either its contention that HWI represents the most "relevant" Hilton subsidiary to the Bureau's investigation or that Hilton stands behind the HWI responses. Importantly, those declarations by an officer of HWI were also not supported by the affidavits or declarations of employees with personal knowledge of the representations made. Each of the responses, therefore, is facially deficient even without consideration of their contents. Finally, Hilton's assertion that it is not the proper corporate entity to respond to Wi-Fi blocking questions strains credulity. Four days after HWI responded to our LOI, Hilton itself submitted detailed comments to the Commission on topics specifically addressed in the LOI. In those comments, Hilton advanced the position in the Marriott Petition that hotels like Hilton should be permitted to engage in Wi-Fi blocking as a Wi-Fi network management practice. Needless to say, it is difficult to square Hilton's December 19, 2014 Wi-Fi blocking comments with its contention that four days earlier Hilton did not possess information that would be relevant to the Bureau's investigation.
Even if Hilton had properly attested to the completeness and accuracy of the information provided by its subsidiary, its responses are grossly inadequate and incomplete. Other than the last-minute submission regarding only a few properties that had deployed a single type of Wi-Fi system, the responses provided no information regarding the full range of Wi-Fi technology deployed and used at Hilton-brand properties throughout the United States, which is the focus of this investigation. Instead, Hilton limited its initial -- and most complete -- response to a single Hilton-brand property. Even then, it failed to provide responsive answers to many critical questions and chose to substitute its own definitions for key terms expressly defined by the LOI, including terms defining the scope of our investigation. The Supplemental Response clarified certain responses regarding the property specified in the original complaint, but did not include any attempt to cure the remaining defects.
Hilton failed to heed even an express warning that its failure to appropriately respond could be considered obstruction and subject it to separate monetary penalties. Instead, the June 23 Letter rested on prior objections and declared that the Company's prior submissions represent "the full and complete response from Hilton." Rather than provide even basic corporate information, the June 23 Letter advised the Bureau to comb through Hilton's website if it wished to find some of the pertinent information. Though the Second Supplemental Response contained information regarding the use of one type of Wi-Fi system at a few additional properties, Hilton still has not provided complete answers to our questions. Contrary to its claim that it provided this information "consistent with its commitment to cooperate," it continues to withhold information and documents regarding the Hilton-brand properties in the United States that may have or have had the capacity to engage in illegal Wi-Fi blocking. Moreover, it appears from its September 17 submission that Hilton may have deliberately withheld certain documents regarding its Wi-Fi blocking policy and practices, as those documents were available throughout the course of this investigation, including documents that do not appear to be subject to any of Hilton's objections.
Hilton's subsidiary and its counsel argue that providing the requested information related to its Wi-Fi management practices at the Company's other Hilton-brand properties would be "oppressive and unduly burdensome." The Commission is not required to bargain for the information needed. LOI recipients must provide timely and complete responses to LOIs even when producing the requested information "would be a time-consuming and burdensome task." In any event, the claim is not supported; beyond an unsubstantiated estimate of the time necessary to produce the requested information, Hilton never stated that it does not have the requested information or otherwise cannot respond to the Bureau's inquiries regarding its Wi-Fi management practices at the Company's other Hilton-brand properties. We reject any contention that we must limit the scope of our inquiry about Hilton's Wi-Fi management practices only to the single Hilton-brand property identified in the original consumer complaint or to a single type of Wi-Fi equipment and that the practices at other locations are not "reasonably related" to the Bureau's investigation of that complaint. Indeed, Hilton publicly admitted in another matter before the Commission that it employs Wi-Fi network management equipment on its properties that possess the ability to "mitigate unauthorized access points" to address its network reliability concerns. As explained above, the Bureau need not justify the scope of an investigation to the satisfaction of the subject of that investigation. In addition, the Bureau need not limit its investigation to the scope of consumer complaints and, in fact, may commence an investigation on its own initiative without any complaints.
Furthermore, the Commission has consistently held that, objections notwithstanding, entities must provide timely and complete responses to an Enforcement Bureau inquiry. An entity that receives a letter of inquiry from the Commission must submit a proper response regardless of objections that responding would be unduly burdensome or doubts concerning the Bureau's authority. LOI recipients must respond to a Commission order as long as such order remains in effect. Hilton has willfully and repeatedly failed to provide the substantive information needed to advance this investigation and thus obstructed the Bureau from carrying out its statutory mandate to enforce the Communications Act. At this point, Hilton has had almost a year to respond to our LOI; it has failed to adequately respond despite express warnings. As a result, Hilton's apparent violations of a Commission order remain ongoing. Accordingly, we find that Hilton apparently willfully and repeatedly violated, and continues to violate, a Commission order by failing to respond to the Bureau LOI.
Section 503(b)(1)(B) of the Act authorizes the Commission to impose a forfeiture against any entity that "willfully or repeatedly fail[s] to comply with any of the provisions of [the Act] or of any rule, regulation, or order issued by the Commission." Here, Section 503(b)(2)(D) of the Act authorizes us to assess a forfeiture against Hilton of up to $16,000 for each day of a continuing violation, up to a statutory maximum of $122,500 for a single act or failure to act. In exercising our forfeiture authority, we must consider 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 other such matters as justice may require." In addition, the Commission has established forfeiture guidelines; they establish base penalties for certain violations and identify criteria that we consider when determining the appropriate penalty in any given case. Under these guidelines, we may adjust a forfeiture upward for violations that are egregious, intentional, or repeated, or that cause substantial harm or generate substantial economic gain for the violator.
Section 1.80(b) of the Commission's rules sets a base forfeiture of $4,000 for failure to respond to Commission communications for each violation or each day of a continuing violation. We have discretion, however, to depart from these guidelines, taking into account the particular facts of each individual case. Specifically, the Commission has "issued penalties for failure to respond that far exceeded the $4,000 base forfeiture, including cases in which the targets answered some of the LOI questions, but failed to answer them completely or provide all of the required information."
Here, Hilton failed to respond and HWI failed to completely respond to the Bureau's LOI. Given the totality of the circumstances, and consistent with the Forfeiture Policy Statement, we conclude that a significant upward forfeiture adjustment is warranted from the base forfeiture of $4,000. We find several upward adjustment factors present. First, we upwardly adjust for egregious misconduct. The actions and omissions in this case were especially egregious because the refusal to provide the information obstructed, and continues to obstruct, the Bureau's investigation into whether Hilton-brand hotels engaged in unlawful conduct in violation of the Act. This obstruction has caused the Bureau to expend "additional, significant resources" in this investigation. Such dilatory and obstructionist tactics may prevent us from being able to conclude the investigation within the statute of limitations period or may otherwise reduce our ability to appropriately penalize Hilton for any substantive violations. As we have stated before, "[m]isconduct of this type exhibits contempt for the Commission's authority and threatens to compromise the Commission's ability to adequately investigate violations of its rules."
Second, it is apparent from the various objections and responses by Hilton's counsel and its subsidiary that the Company deliberately failed to provide certain information and documents sought by the LOI, notwithstanding its recent submissions. Thus, its failure to comply with the Commission's order was intentional and warrants an upward forfeiture adjustment. Third, the length of delay has been substantial. Hilton declined to avail itself of the opportunity to resolve this investigation in an efficient manner. More than nine months have elapsed since the extended deadline for Hilton to submit a full response, and it still has failed to produce the requested information. Moreover, the Division again directed Hilton to fully respond and expressly warned Hilton that continued failure to respond could result in monetary penalties. Thus, we find an additional upward adjustment factor because the failure to respond in this instance was both continued and repeated. Finally, we upwardly adjust based on Hilton's ability to pay. The Commission has determined that large or highly profitable companies should expect to pay higher forfeitures for violations of the Act and the Commission's rules. Hilton recently reported total assets of more than $25 billion. Thus, to ensure that the forfeiture is an effective deterrent and not simply a cost of doing business for Hilton, a significant upward adjustment of the base forfeiture amount is warranted.
We find no applicable basis for a downward adjustment. Consistent with prior failure-to-respond cases, we find that Hilton's failure to respond completely to a Commission order in the circumstances presented here warrants a forfeiture of $25,000. This forfeiture is appropriate given the extent of the violation and the deliberate disregard for the Commission's authority exhibited by the Company, including the insufficiency of the responses.
Therefore, consistent with prior failure-to-respond cases as well as the Forfeiture Policy Statement, Section 1.80 of the Commission's rules, and the statutory factors, we propose a forfeiture of $25,000, for which Hilton is apparently liable. As noted above, if Hilton continues to fail to submit a complete response, fails to comply with this order, or fails to cooperate with this investigation, it will be subject to further enforcement action, including increasingly substantial monetary penalties.
We conclude that Hilton apparently willfully and repeatedly violated a Commission order by failing to respond to the Bureau LOI. As such, Hilton is apparently liable for a forfeiture of $25,000. In order to proceed as efficiently and promptly as possible with our investigation, we order Hilton to provide a subset of the required information within fifteen days, so that we can identify an appropriate sample of venues for further, more detailed responses. We also order it to provide within the same deadline more complete information regarding its corporate communications regarding its Wi-Fi blocking policies. Finally, we order Hilton to provide a full and complete response to the LOI within thirty days. In advance of the thirty-day deadline, the Bureau may modify the requirement that Hilton provide a full and complete response to the LOI.
Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 503(b) of the Act and Sections 0.111, 0.311 and 1.80 of the Commission's rules, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. is hereby NOTIFIED of this APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE in the amount of twenty five thousand dollars ($25,000) for willful and repeated violations of a Commission order.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. SHALL FULLY RESPOND, not later than thirty (30) calendar days from the release date of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, to the Bureau's Letter of Inquiry dated November 7, 2014, in accordance with the instructions set forth therein.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. SHALL FULLY RESPOND, not later than fifteen (15) calendar days from the release date of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, to each element of Inquiry 5 of the Letter of Inquiry dated November 7, 2014, with respect to each hotel or resort property that Hilton has owned or managed within the United States during the period of time covered by the Letter of Inquiry, inclusive of those properties identified to the Bureau on September 17, 2015.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. SHALL IDENTIFY, not later than fifteen (15) calendar days from the release date of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, by title, date, Bates number (if applicable), and summary, any and all Documents issued or in effect during the period of time covered by the Letter of Inquiry dated November 7, 2014 that pertain to Wi-Fi blocking or Wi-Fi management practices or policies at Hilton branded hotels and resorts within the U.S., inclusive of its franchised properties.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. SHALL PRODUCE, not later than fifteen (15) calendar days from the release date of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, each Document identified under Paragraph 33 that was not previously submitted to the Bureau during this investigation, and SHALL STATE under penalty of perjury the reason the Company did not produce the Document.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, pursuant to Section 1.80 of the Commission's rules, within thirty (30) calendar days of the release date of this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture and Order, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. SHALL PAY the full amount of the proposed forfeiture or SHALL FILE a written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture consistent with paragraph 38 below.
Payment of the forfeiture must be made by check or similar instrument, wire transfer, or credit card, and must include the NAL/Account Number and FRN referenced above. Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. shall send electronic notification of payment to Kevin Pittman at Kevin.Pittman@fcc.gov, Pamera Hairston at Pamera.Hairston@fcc.gov, and Samantha Peoples at Sam.Peoples@fcc.gov on the date said payment is made. The electronic notification should cite the NAL/Account Number, FRN, and File Number contained in the case caption. Regardless of the form of payment, a completed FCC Form 159 (Remittance Advice) must be submitted. When completing the FCC Form 159, enter the Account Number in block number 23A (call sign/other ID) and enter the letters "FORF" in block number 24A (payment type code). Below are additional instructions that should be followed based on the form of payment selected:
* Payment by check or money order must be made payable to the order of the Federal Communications Commission. Such payments (along with the completed Form 159) must be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank - Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.
* Payment by wire transfer must be made to ABA Number 021030004, receiving bank TREAS/NYC, and Account Number 27000001. To complete the wire transfer and ensure appropriate crediting of the wired funds, a completed Form 159 must be faxed to U.S. Bank at (314) 418-4232 on the same business day the wire transfer is initiated.
* Payment by credit card must be made by providing the required credit card information on FCC Form 159 and signing and dating the Form 159 to authorize the credit card payment. The completed Form 159 must then be mailed to Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 979088, St. Louis, MO 63197-9000, or sent via overnight mail to U.S. Bank - Government Lockbox #979088, SL-MO-C2-GL, 1005 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.
Any request for making full payment over time under an installment plan should be sent to: Chief Financial Officer -- Financial Operations, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 1-A625, Washington, DC 20554. Questions regarding payment procedures should be directed to the Financial Operations Group Help Desk by phone, 1-877-480-3201, or by e-mail, ARINQUIRIES@fcc.gov.
The written statement seeking reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture, if any, must include a detailed factual statement supported by appropriate documentation and affidavits pursuant to Sections 1.16 and 1.80(f)(3) of the Commission's rules. The written statement must be mailed to the Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554, ATTN: Enforcement Bureau - Spectrum Enforcement Division, and must include the NAL/Account Number and File Number referenced in the caption. The statement must also be e-mailed to Kevin Pittman at Kevin.Pittman@fcc.gov and Pamera Hairston at Pamera.Hairston@fcc.gov.
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 documentation.
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 Kristen Campbell, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc., 7930 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22102, and to Bennett L. Ross, Wiley Rein LLP, Counsel for Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc., 1776 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20554.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION