Monday, November 9, 2009

Accounting Error Creates Billing Dispute

Accounting error caused campus radio billing dispute
The Ryersonian, November 4, 2009

CKLN does not owe any money to University of Toronto's campus radiostation, CIUT 89.5 FM. The transmitter provider for both stations, Brookfield Properties Corp., confirmed last Friday that CIUT's $11,000 overpayment on its electricitybill was an accounting error. Tensions between the sister stations erupted earlier this month when CIUTstation manager Brian Burchell threatened to cut off CKLN's power if itdidn't pay the U of T station $11,000 by Oct. 14.

Both stations lease space from Brookfield Properties on the roof of FirstCanadian Place on King Street and share the same power meter. Each month, they're billed for their electrical use based on theirestimated power consumption.

"It was an accounting error we inherited and never corrected," saidMelissa Coley, vice-president of investor relations and communications atBrookfield Properties. CIUT will be reimbursed for the overpayment, added Coley.

Brookfield Properties acquired First Canadian Place in late 2005 fromOlympia and York, a property corporation. CKLN board members have maintained from the beginning of the dispute andthey have always paid their own electrical bills and didn't owe CIUT apenny. Barry Johnson, a CKLN board member, said CIUT shouldn't have come to themwith the allegations in the first place. If there was a dispute surrounding the bills, he said, it should have beentaken up with Brookfield Properties, not CKLN.

"Instead of CIUT contacting the property manager, which is what theyshould have done, they came to us without any proof that we owed them thismoney, which is wrong," Johnson said.

Burchell accused CKLN of not paying its portion, dating back 10 years,which CIUT noticed while renegotiating the station's lease with theproperty company. He notified CKLN about the discrepancy six months ago but didn't receive areply until September, which prompted CIUT to threaten to cut off power.

Burchell could not be reached for comment.

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