Jul 28, 2014

Council Nixes Deal with TV Firm Accused of Fraud

Council president: 'The cons outweighed the pros.'

Council Nixes Deal with TV Firm Accused of Fraud

The township will wait for its 15 minutes of fame.

At its Tuesday agenda meeting, the voted to rescind the municipality's contract with U.S. Media Television Inc., the company behind the television infomercial “Today in America.”

The move came after a number of municipalities made  These municipalities had made deals with the company similar to the one recently approved by the Parsippany council.

On Feb. 14, the council voted 4-1 in favor of doing business with U.S. Media Television. The lone opposing vote came from Councilman John Cesaro.

Under the contract, narrated by NFL Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw. The ad, which, according to Mayor James Barberio, was designed to attract new business to the township, would have cost about $20,000. In return, the ad would air about 20 times on FOX Business Network and CNN Headline News in many of the top-100 markets in the country.

“Basically, I like to put the pros and cons together, and the cons outweighed the pros," Council President Brian Stanton said. "I did a lot of research on the computer. I read how great it was in [Fayetteville,] Arkansas, but at the same time, I read about 20 different places that had a hard time getting their money back and the contracts weren’t followed.

“I just didn’t think it was a good move for our township.”

Some residents attending the council meeting agreed.

“I’d just like to commend the council for rescinding (the contract),” said Jonathan Nelson, who advocated against the contract. “I thought it was done in haste, and it was nice to see that you guys rescinded it.”

Although the TV deal fell through, Stanton said he is not opposed to exploring other promotional avenues  as long as they make financial sense.

“I love the idea,” he said. “We definitely have to do something economically. I like the whole concept of ‘Today in America,’ just not their firm.”

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