EL CENTRO, Calif. - The city of El Centro is being sued by Charter Spectrum cable.
The lawsuit alleges that the city of El Centro does not have the authority to issue the five citations it did in March that carry monetary penalties against the cable company.
Charter Spectrum alleges the city is damaging the cable company's reputation and its relationship with customers.
“It’s just not right for us to be held hostage and not get the benefit of our bargain, which is we have a cable franchise agreement. Our residents are Spectrum cable customers. We should have access to all of the stations and we don’t,” said Cheryl Viegas Walker, Mayor of El Centro.
El Centro customers of Charter Spectrum cable have been blocked from viewing KYMA, KSWT and Estrella TV since February 2nd.
Spectrum blocked the channels which are owned by Northwest Broadcasting, but now the cable company is accusing El Centro of interfering with negotiations between the two companies.
“They decided that they don’t like being criticized by the city of El Centro for what they’re doing and so they filed a lawsuit and they said that their damages are in excess of $75,000,” said Walker.
Spectrum released the following statement about the lawsuit:
“The lawsuit speaks for itself. Northwest Broadcasting, owner of KYMA, KSWT and Estrella TV, is demanding to be paid more than we pay any other broadcast station for the same network programming. Northwest has pulled its programming from nearly all other distributors at some point. This is simply how they operate. Our negotiations are about one thing; reaching an agreement that is fair to our customers.”
In March, El Centro filed a formal complaint against Spectrum cable with the Federal Communications Commission claiming the cable company failed to provide proper notice when it blacked out the local channels.
"We will continue to fight this fight until resolution. Including advocating for rebates for customers who have been without these channels for the last several months,” said Walker.
Northwest Broadcasting continues to reach out to Spectrum cable to find a resolution.
Read more about the lawsuit here: