Months ago when I predicted the Razor would sue, most people scoffed. I also repeated a line I had heard from a local sports exec who said no matter what, "this is gonna be ugly."
And this much I know: Ralph wants his case to be heard. He has a catty, if not spectacular, lawyer, a fellow Italian by the name of Alioto. Her father, Joe, was probably the best mayor San Francisco ever had, but Joe was even a better lawyer. He was to anti-trust law what Willie Mays was to baseball. A magician.
Angela is not her father's masterpiece, no Picasso by any means, but she does possess a great deal of Italian fight. So does Barbieri, hence the this is gonna be ugly assessment. And I do mean ugly, nasty ugly with a lot of garlic thrown in.
I believe Ralph has been planning this out for years. I think he had a master plan in the drawer knowing the handwriting was on the wall, which doesn't mean he'll win, but sets the stage for what portends to be a virtual battlerama in court. Cumulus, no matter what the outcome, will be tarred and feathered, believe me, and I think Barbieri wants it that way, his way, the feisty, fightin' native Italian SF guy taking on the bad guys from Atlanta. Just beautiful.
Again, read: THIS CASE WILL NOT BE SETTLED. It could be thrown out, won or lost, but it will not be settled. Barbieri doesn't need the money, for one, and most importantly, wants his day in court before a sympathetic San Francisco jury. Which, again, doesn't necessarily dictate a victory, but that's not the point. The point is this: Barbieri and Alioto want blood. That's why Angela is taking this case on a contingency. Even if the deck is stacked and the odds are low for success, the players want to play ball.
Good for them. If nothing else, it's high time that Cumulus' dirty laundry be exposed. This case will set the stage, once and for all, for all the bad that is Cumulus Inc. and the Tricky Dickeys. How they treat people. How they inject their form of corporate masochism against the little guys. Barbieri is hardly one of the little guys but when you're talking about a company with vast billions versus a 66 year-old guy with early stages Parkinson's disease, we're talking big against little.
Keep in mind that, as I have stated numerous times, I had issues with Ralph, both on and off the air, but I admire him for bringing this case forward. The easiest thing to do is settle. But that's not the Barbieri m.o. Not for a million, not for two million. The Razor wants blood. It's that simple.
You don't have to be a lawyer to see the strategy here. Let a jury hear the evidence. Provide the forum to which relative documents are provided and seen. Can you really dispose of someone with pretty damn good ratings and 28 years of service to the company because he was late a few times? Can you just dump a man with type 2 diabetes for a case of occasional tardiness? Moreover, what about the ethics of a company with a long track record of wanton, full-bore disregard for its employees. This is more or less a referendum on Cumulus and its policies. Forget the legal angles for a moment and concentrate on the basic moral principles. Which, yes, again, doesn't mean victory for the plaintiff, sure, necessarily, but it will expose the nastiness to which the bad guys abide by.
And that's the ultimate victory, win or lose for Barbieri. His day in court. Before a jury of his peers. Yeah, can't wait for opening day.
UPDATE: Here is the complaint.
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