Western Edge Media owes money, wrapping up affairsWhat began as one man’s dream has slowly turned into a sour subject and now several area businesses and investors have allegedly lost money on the deal.
By: Lisa Call, The Dickinson Press
What began as one man’s dream has slowly turned into a sour subject and now several area businesses and investors have allegedly lost money on the deal.
Now defunct Western Edge Media, LLC, was slated to launch radio station Wild 105.7 in Dickinson in February. Due to a lack of funding, that day never came.
“Wild” Bill Palanuk, former Western Edge Media general manager and radio personality, said 18 area businesses purchased prepaid advertising with the company, yet services were never rendered.
The company is in the process of wrapping up its affairs.
Jason Henderson, an attorney representing Western Edge Media, said the company filed a notice of dissolution with the North Dakota secretary of state in June to cease efforts at establishing the station.
The dissolution process includes liquidating company assets and settling outstanding debts, according to a statement prepared by Henderson on behalf of the company.
Western Edge Media requested the dissolution be court supervised “to provide the transparency of the process,” according to the statement.
“We are not denying that there are prepaid advertisers,” Henderson said. “This company is not trying to hide anything from people who have been involved with the company.”
A few area attorneys are involved in wrapping up the company’s affairs.
Randall Sickler, attorney for Dickinson law firm Ebeltoft Sickler, who represents prepaid advertiser Roughrider Electric, said he thinks prepaid advertisements totaled about $90,000.
Mike Maus, Palanuk’s attorney, said he is representing some minority investors in an attempt to recover lost investments.
“We don’t know if we are going to or not (recover the funds),” Maus said in June.
Palanuk said advertisers include Dickinson Truck Equipment, Boespflug Trailers, LaDuke & Associates, Braun Distributing, Roughrider Electric, Ladbury Funeral Service and Wanner Western Wear, among others.
“We are one of the people that got screwed,” said Millie Wanner, who along with husband Marvin, owns Wanner Western Wear.
Wanner would not disclose how much money her business spent on the advertising.
“Whatever happened between Western Edge Media and us, well, we will just leave it at that,” Jim Ladbury, owner of Ladbury Funeral Service, said in June.
“Being as this happened, it’s sort of embarrassing to say,” Leonard Hibl, Roughrider Electric’s director of member services, said in June when asked what dollar amount was spent on advertising. “The attorney has been hired. We are just waiting, like everybody, to see what they will do.”
LaDuke & Associates sales agent Tracey Hoff said the company bought advertising but didn’t know how much it spent.
Palanuk said he, his mother Agnes, of Dickinson, and an unnamed family friend invested a large sum of money used to purchase radio equipment for the station.
“The transmitter alone is $50,000, the antenna is another $30,000,” Palanuk said. “The cable that goes up the tower, that’s another almost $20,000. With the license and everything it cost right around $400,000 to get the thing on the air.”
Blake Messer, formerly of Dickinson and now residing in Alaska, replaced Palanuk as acting general manager.
Some involved in both the investment and recovery process are skeptical about seeing the money again.
“We can hire an attorney and go after him, but if he (Messer) doesn’t have any money, how is he going to pay us?” Millie Wanner said. “He won’t even pick up his mail so it doesn’t make any difference. At this point it’s looking very vague.”
Palanuk said he doubts any money will be left over after Western Edge Media wraps up its affairs.
“It’s a bad situation, it really is,” Palanuk said.
Messer did not return several phone calls for comment.
“At some point I’ll be comfortable to express more,” Palanuk said. “I’ve got a lot to say and at the right time, I will definitely want to get the word out.”