All Clear: Eddie Moniz unlocks the chain from the front doors of DeFontes broadcasting on Thursday. Inset: Kenneth DeFontes declined to talk. *Photos by Glenn Tucker
All Clear: Eddie Moniz unlocks the chain from the front doors of DeFontes broadcasting on Thursday. Inset: Kenneth DeFontes declined to talk. *Photos by Glenn Tucker

“We’re back on track.”

That was the afternoon bulletin after a morning of drama at a TV station.

Doors were locked with chains, staff braced themselves for the eviction of the station’s long-time owner and journalists hovered for a juicy story.

But it ended, apparently, with a friendly lunch and a vow of unity.

“We’re resolving our differences and it’s a shame we couldn’t have done it privately,” said Spencer Conway, who is part of a management team involved in negotiations with DeFontes Broadcasting. “There was a disagreement over some things that went on, but we’re back on track now.”

Mr Conway said yesterday morning’s incident was unfortunate, but the issues between himself and owner Kenneth DeFontes were worked out at a lunchtime meeting afterwards.

Back in March, Mr Conway was announced as the new owner of DeFontes Broadcasting, which includes TV stations VSB and several radio stations, including Mix 106, 1450 AM Gold, 1280 AM BBN and 1160 BBC.

It was declared that Mr Defontes was retiring, with new management team KG Limited, led by Mr Conway, having purchased it.  Mr Conway set up an office in the Reid Street headquarters of the TV station and Mr DeFontes maintained a presence there, too.

But on July 10, law firm Cox Hallett Wilkinson filed a writ on behalf of Mr Defontes against KG (2) Ltd. and Spencer Conway. 

A press release issued yesterday by DeFontes Broadcasting said: “A writ has been issued in the Supreme Court by DeFontes Broadcasting alleging misrepresentation and this will need to be answered within the next seven days. 

“In the meantime, a notice was served on Wednesday by Mr Conway on Mr DeFontes, president of the company, demanding that he leave the Reid Street offices forthwith. The letter was rejected.

“This morning, in response to a warning that Mr Conway planned to return to the offices at 11am with security officers, the main doors were locked for a short period of time. No such visit occurred and the company is operating as normal.”

A source close to the station said that the day before, Wednesday, a bailiff had showed up to remove Mr DeFontes.

Yesterday, The Bermuda Sun was present when the doors were locked for at least 45 minutes; they were unchained shortly after 11:20am. Around 10:45am, event promoter Tony Brannon, who was scheduled to be interviewed by Keevil ‘The Captain’ Burgess on Mix 106, had gone to the front door, only to find it locked. He had use a side door to get in.

Other workers and guests used the side door, including Mr DeFontes’ lawyer, David Cooper.

The doors were locked in response to a rumoured second visit by the bailiff to remove Mr DeFontes. 

Mr Conway drove past the Reid Street station shortly after 11am. 

And Mr DeFontes left the office around 11:30am and got into a van. As he closed the door of the van, he told reporters: “No comment. Contact Mr Conway. I have nothing further to say.”

A source close to the station said Mr Conway came to the company earlier this year with his offer: “He’s a bright young man and everyone took him very seriously. He made a very big impression on the staff.”

But the source suggested things went sour financially.

For his part, Mr Conway told us he did not want to get into a “he said, she said” situation or provide details. 

CORRECTION: An earlier online version of this story and the July 18 2014 print version incorrectly attributed a quote to Steve Conway. We apologise for the error.