Denying Permission for FCC Station Inspection Nets Florida CBer a $3000 Fine
The FCC Enforcement Bureau has imposed a reduced fine of $3000 on a Florida, CB operator for failing to allow FCC agents inspect his station. The Commission issued Tommie Salter of Jacksonville a Forfeiture Order on February 5. Last August the FCC had proposed fining Salter $14,000 for denying agents from the FCC’s Tampa Office permission to check out his station in the wake of renewed complaints of interference to a neighbor’s “home electronic equipment.” In March 2014, agents monitored radio transmissions on 27.245 MHz and used radio direction-finding techniques to track the signal’s source to Salter’s residence. The FCC said it agreed to reduce the proposed forfeiture based on Salter’s financial circumstances.
“Mr Salter does not deny that he refused to allow the agents to inspect his CB station but alleges he could not stay for the inspection, because he had a doctor’s appointment,” the FCC Forfeiture Order said. The Enforcement Bureau said it was unable to substantiate Salter’s appointment claim but said that he could have asked to reschedule the inspection in such a situation. The Bureau concluded that it could “find no reason to reduce the forfeiture based on his alleged appointment.”
The FCC said financial documents that Salter provided offered “sufficient basis” to reduce the forfeiture to $3000. “We have previously rejected inability to pay claims in cases of repeated or otherwise egregious violations,” the Commission added. “Therefore, future violations of this kind may result in significantly higher forfeitures that may not be reduced due to Mr Salter’s financial circumstances.”
The FCC’s Forfeiture Policy Statement and its rules set a base forfeiture amount of $7000 for failure to permit inspection. Salter had previously received a Notice of Violation for refusing an inspection request in 2004, the Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) in the case noted, and he also had been fined for operating with a non-certificated transmitter during restricted hours the Commission had imposed following similar interference complaints.
“Misconduct of this type is serious, exhibits contempt for the Commission’s authority, and threatens to compromise the Commission’s ability to fully investigate violations of its rules,” the FCC said in the NAL in making an “upward adjustment” of $7000 in the proposed forfeiture. Salter has 30 days to pay the reduced fine.