HOUSTON (CN) - A DJ for "the oldest black radio station in Texas" claims in court that he took out $170,000 in loans for KCOH that its new president blew at casinos under the belief that "the money belonged to him to do what he pleased because he owns the company."
Michael Harris sued Jesse Dunn and the South Houston Community Development Corp. in Harris County Court.
According to the complaint, KCOH "is known as the oldest black radio station in Texas, arguably in the southern United States."
Launched in 1953 as KCOH 1430 AM, the station broadcasts from the heart of Houston's Third Ward, just southeast of downtown.
Harris says the station's previous owner, KCOH Inc., sold the station to Jesse Dunn and the South Houston Community Development Corp. in early 2013. They relaunched it as KCOH 1230 AM, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiff says he was a radio personality for KCOH for 38 years, and served as vice president and operations managers of KCOH 1230 AM.
He says he was "ecstatic" to learn that Dunn wanted to keep the station on the air and was eager to help however he could.
At Dunn's request, Harris says, he guaranteed a $30,000 credit line for the station in May.
"Dunn represented to plaintiff that he was waiting on funds from the sale of real estate that he owned and the LOC [line of credit] would be used only for KCOH payroll in the event the real estate sale did not close in a timely fashion," Harris claims.
"Relying on Dunn's representations, plaintiff, over the next two months, signed an additional LOC for $100,000 and signed on as guarantor for approximately $38,000 in station equipment. Dunn represented to plaintiff the additional LOC would only be used to pay for the signal lease of the 1230 AM signal. Dunn also stated that he would not take a salary."
All told, Harris took out $170,000 in loans for the station, according to the complaint.
Harris claims that in late September he got a call from his bank "due to outrageous and irregular account expenditures" at casinos.
"In his discussions with the bank, plaintiff discovered that Dunn used the funds for gambling in various casinos in Louisiana and Las Vegas, to pay his church band members, his mortuary business and other miscellaneous expenditures totaling approximately $100,000," Harris claims.
"In fact, based upon a recent televised news interview with KHOU 11 news reporter Rucks Russell, Dunn admitted that he used the money to gamble at casinos and for his own personal gain, but wittingly claimed that the money belonged to him to do what he pleased because he owns the company."
Harris demands actual and punitive damages for alleged fraud, claiming Dunn has "tainted the legacy" of KCOH and ended his "dignified career" there.
He is represented by Darrell Jordan of Houston.
Dunn's lawyer, Harold Dutton, said his client had no comment at this time.
"Until we are served with the lawsuit we wouldn't have any way to comment on it."
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