State Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon
Georgia Southern University says a business owned by State Sen. Cecil Staton of Macon owes the school tens of thousands of dollars, according to documents obtained by 13WMAZ.
Staton's company, Georgia Eagle Media, does business with the school, operating its sports radio network and sharing the advertising revenue.
The university says Staton's company owes them more than $52,000 and is in breach of contract.
As a result, Georgia Southern says it is ending its business relationship with Cecil Staton, effective Thursday.
According to documents 13WMAZ obtained from Georgia Southern through an open records request, the university will end the contract because of what it calls "lack of payment."
Staton signed a five-year deal to operate Georgia Southern's radio network in March 2006.
An extension was scheduled to take effect July 1, but a letter from Athletics Director Sam Baker to Staton dated June 17 says, "It is Georgia Southern Athletics' intention to move the operation of the radio network in-house July 1, 2011."
Baker went to say, "We do look forward to concluding our business with payment in full for the amount owed for 2010-11."
That statement came after letters from Baker to Staton dating back to last August, asking for payments owed to the university.
The letters show Staton paid Georgia Southern a debt of $22,000 for the 2009-2010 year in February of this year.
According to Georgia Southern Marketing Director Christian Flathman, that was Staton's last payment.
He says $52,000 for this year in sales revenue, plus radio travel expenses, is now past due.
13WMAZ tried to reach Senator Staton for his side of the story at his Macon and Atlanta offices. We also came to see him at his publishing company on Peake Road in Macon. His assistant said he was not available for comment and traveling to Columbus.
The university's response to 13WMAZ's open-records request showed Staton's last reply to Georgia Southern dated May 24.
In it, Staton did not directly acknowledge the late payments, but wrote, "As a local business, we are barely surviving the worst three years broadcast media has experienced in decades due to the bad economy. At just the most difficult time for us you simply send a letter saying that's it. No call to a friend. No word of warning."
Staton goes on to ask the university to keep the contract until January 1, 2012, to make a smooth transition and allow him to make back some of the money his company already spent for the 2011 football season.
Christian Flathman says the university did not accept Staton's request for the contract extension.
He says they expect Staton to pay the $52,000 owed, and are "exploring options" to collect the money owed by Georgia Eagle Media.
The company also operates media in Warner Robins, including WRWR-TV, The Warner Robins Patriot website and several AM and FM radio stations.