Gavel

A lawsuit filed by nearly 30 individuals and investment firms against four radio groups that operate stations in Texas serves as a harsh reminder to keep tabs on the content of brokered programming broadcast on your airwaves.

Audacy, iHeartMedia, Emmis Communications and SiriusXM are named as defendants in a suit brought by a group of entities who claim the airing of a show carried on their stations since at least 2015 led them to invest “their hard-earned funds into a scheme that resulted in a total and complete loss.”

At issue is “The Smart Oil And Gas Radio Show,” a weekend program hosted by Mark Allan Plummer, a licensed petroleum engineer. Filed Nov. 19 in U.S. District Court in Dallas, the suit claims the stations “knowingly and recklessly” allowed Plummer to “funnel innocent investors” to his “fraudulent oil and gas scheme” and that the stations “permitted Plummer’s scheme” despite his and a partner’s “repeated instances of misconduct.”

The suit alleges that Plummer is a securities fraud “recidivist” who has been investigated and/or sanctioned by FINRA, the Securities and Exchange Commission and state securities boards for operating fraudulent oil and gas investment schemes since at least 2012.

The suit argues the radio groups allowed Plummer to “create a public persona of a trusted adviser.” They claim to be victims of a fraudulent investment scheme that the radio stations “recklessly and/or knowingly” allowed to be broadcast on their airwaves, which ultimately led to their suffering “an enormous financial loss.”

The plaintiffs include individuals, investment companies and trustees that claim individual losses ranging from $35,000 to $236,500. Among the stations named in the complaint are Audacy news/talk “News Radio 1080” KRLD-AM Dallas, iHeartMedia news/talk “AM 740” KTRH Houston and talk KLBJ Austin (590), which Sinclair Telecable bought from Emmis in October 2019. Also named is SiriusXM.

The stations sold airtime to Plummer “and his cronies,” according to the filing, reviewed show scripts and “knowingly or recklessly ignored Plummer’s issues.” KRLD made more than $500,000 in fees for airing the show, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs seek a jury trial and want the radio groups to be held liable “for the millions of dollars of harm caused by their misconduct.”

Had the stations not given Plummer “a public pathway to fraudulently steal millions of dollars,” the Plaintiffs “would have never invested with Plummer and would have never lost their hard-earned money,” the suit says. They contend that it was the radio stations that “provided the lynchpin for Plummer to continue his fraud.”

The suit itemizes a lengthy list of “red flags” starting in 2012 that the radio groups “knew or should have known about” that were publicly available.

Among the counts alleged in the suit are aiding and abetting, violating the Texas Securities Act, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and various violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

The suit seeks damages and attorney’s fees.