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Geraldo Rivera Sues Cumulus Radio

MANHATTAN (CN) - Radio giant Cumulus fired Geraldo Rivera over an email, then locked him out of his studio while he was covering the terror attacks in Paris, he claims in court.

The "acclaimed broadcast journalist and news correspondent," who made headlines in the '80s when his nose was broken by a chair flung by a guest on his talk show, "Geraldo," filed the suit Wednesday against Cumulus Media in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Rivera says that he and Cumulus' then-Executive Vice President John Dickey had a lunch in July 2015 where they hammered out a deal for Rivera to get paid $600,000 hosting a radio show on WABC-AM through the end of 2016.

At the time, Rivera had been hosting the New York-based show, in addition to his roster of TV news work, since 2011.

Per his 2012 contract, Rivera had to host a four-hour, syndicated, news-oriented series, Monday through Friday, through the end of 2015, according to the complaint.

Rivera said he also promised not to host any other show during the series' run, but that the studio later cut his broadcast down to two hours.

While waiting for the paperwork on his 2016 contract, Rivera says he did not seek employment with other radio stations.

"Unbeknownst to Geraldo at the time, in or around September 2015, new management wrested control of Cumulus away from the company's founder and CEO, Lew Dickey, and forced both Lew and John Dickey to step down from active executive management," the complaint states.

Once news of the shift trickled down to Rivera, he says the Atlanta-based corporation's new management tried to get out of the July agreement.

Counsel for Cumulus allegedly sent Rivera's agent an email, saying it was "unaware of any binding agreement that was reached between Dickey and [Rivera]."

In a statement on the lawsuit he posted Wednesday to his public Facebook page, Rivera said he was covering the terror attacks in Paris when he got the news.

"That was just one example of the corporate rudeness that is the principal reason I am filing this action," the post states.

The rant takes a low blow at his former employer, calling Cumulus Media "the financially troubled company that owns 77 WABC Radio."

"Too bad," the New Yorker said, adding that he wished the corporation well and would find another radio gig "run by management, which doesn't confuse rudeness with strength."

Rivera wants the $600,000 he was promised.

Calling himself "one of media's most enduring and popular broadcasters," the 72-year-old notes in his 13-page lawsuit that he has won a Peabody and Emmy award for his journalism.

The lawsuit continues to list his credentials as an investigative reporter for "Eyewitness News" before becoming a regular on shows like "Good Morning America," "20/20" and "Nightline."

Rivera's talk show, "Geraldo," ran for 11 years.

Cumulus denied the allegations.

"We offered Geraldo Rivera a new contract commensurate with the value of his show, and our offer was repeatedly rejected," a Cumulus spokesman said Thursday.

Rivera is represented by Toby Butterfield with Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz in Manhattan.

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