The general manager of KDOC-TV in Anaheim, who has been the focal point of four lawsuits against the station over the past three years, left Friday after the station's board of directors voted not to renew his contract.
A KDOC spokesman said Tuesday that lawsuits charging general manager Michael Volpe with misrepresenting the station's ratings to lure advertisers were not a factor in the board's decision against renewing Volpe's three-year contract, which expired April 30.
"He wanted more money than we wanted to pay. We never were able to come to terms, so we just decided not to renew his contract," said Calvin Brack, KDOC's director of business affairs and secretary-treasurer of Golden Orange Broadcasting Co., which owns KDOC.
Brack said that he is serving as interim general manager until a replacement for Volpe is named. Brack also confirmed that Golden Orange's board of directors had been seeking a buyer for KDOC in recent months but said that "at (Golden Orange President) Pat Boone's suggestion, we have withdrawn the station from the market. He thought we should concentrate on the station, improve our sales and if someone is real interested, we'll work it out.
"We have two serious offers," Brack said but declined to identify the prospective buyers. "We've had more offers than that in the past, but they all broke down."
Volpe, reached at his Newport Beach home Tuesday, said: "We parted friends. They are a bunch of fine people, especially Pat Boone." Volpe said he has started a broadcast consulting firm called Media Vision with offices in Newport Beach and Pine Island, Fla.
Three lawsuits are still pending against Volpe and KDOC in which former members of the station's advertising sales staff claim that Volpe told KDOC's sales representatives to attract prospective sponsors with false information about KDOC's ratings.
Volpe and station management have denied the charges. Brack declined to comment on what effect Volpe's departure might have on the lawsuits and referred calls to KDOC attorney Tom Sheridan, who could not be reached for comment.
Eileen C. Moore, attorney for ex-KDOC salesman Steve Conobre, said: "I don't think it (Volpe's departure) changes anything. I think they should have fired him a lot sooner, and now they are only firing him over money. I think that indicates that KDOC cares more about money and not about its people."
In 1983, a former model filed a lawsuit charging Volpe with sexual harassment in connection with a KDOC telethon she worked on. The allegations were denied and the suit was settled out of court.