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Stephen Garcia is Getting Better

I’m very happy to report that Stephen Garcia of Crown Castle in doing much, much better after surgery.  This week I heard from one of his coworkers that his recovery is continuing and gaining speed.  I could not be more delighted by this good news.

After my earlier posting, I had the joy of speaking with Stephen who is recuperating at home.  As I told Stephen by phone, he has to get better: I’m not done torturing him, yet!

He laughed.  I smiled.



Sometimes the Right Answer is Found in Your Gut

I was recently approached by a potential client (we call them PCs) who needed some help in connection with a wireless lease matter. We have never worked with this PC before. Talking with the PC, I got a sense that this could turn out to be the other type of PC, a problem client, the type of PC attorneys have very bad dreams about, but I set aside those feelings and quoted the PC the range of fees I thought would necessary to complete the work.

twistedgut.1024px-Volvulus_02At PC’s request I sent a fee agreement.  The fee agreement called for a trust account fee deposit for the high end of the estimated fees, which is common for new clients, and based on my feelings necessary for this PC.

The PC signed and returned the fee agreement (which I had not yet countersigned), but without checking with me first, the PC changed the fee deposit to be less than 50% of what I quoted.  This is always an alarm bell moment for an attorney.

Trusting my gut, which was now fully twisted, I decided to send the PC a non-engagement letter.  A non-engagement letter is what attorneys send when we elect NOT to take on a client or a matter.

I let the PC know in the non-engagement letter that I had not authorized or consented to the reduction in the fee deposit…my firm’s security for getting paid after the work is done…much less a change resulting in a reduction of more than 50% of that security.  I then told the PC that I was no longer willing to take on the assignment.

The PC then offered to come up to 80% of what I wanted for the trust account fee deposit.  Again I said no, and that my decision was irreversible.

The PC finally figured out that I was serious about declining the work, and about an hour or two later the no-longer PC wrote me a carefully crafted, insightful, and thoughtful message.  I quote that message verbatim:

Your a fucking asshole and guys like you always get what’s coming.
I bet your wife cheats on you! (Small dick I bet!)
Army infantry never forgets their enemy!
See you when I see you

Yes, I’m really glad I listened to my gut.


Photo credit: آرمین


Get Well Stephen Garcia!

stephengarciaAll of us at Telecom Law Firm wish a speedy and complete
recovery to our friend, colleague, and always friendly opposition,
Stephen Garcia, Senior Manager of Government Relations at Crown Castle.



A Cell Tower Lease Landlord Attorney’s Dangerous Tool – A Tape Measure

tape-measure.smallOver the years, my staff and I have inspected a heck of a lot of cell sites on behalf of our cell site landlord clients for lease compliance purposes, and for local governments who ask us to perform the same inspections for permit compliance purposes.

Well, it turns out that somewhere about 30% to 40% of the time, the cell site (a) exceeds the size allowed in the lease; or (b) the cell site has been placed…or moved…to a location other than was was shown in the lease or permit; or (c) other mischief in the physical placement of the site has occurred.

We find these things when we use our very handy tool, a 100 foot tape measure.  In fact, the photo is of one of our tape measures.

Why is this important?  Over the last couple of years, we have recovered over $1 million in lease underpayments and increased cell site lease payments going forward. Are you giving away your property without proper compensation?  For local governments, a cell site that violates a permit condition is most likely going to be excluded from Section 6409(a) and NOT subject to the mandatory approval required under that law.  If you’re a local government planner or attorney, you KNOW how important that can be in your planning process.

I think this is such a powerful tool for a cell site landlord’s attorney, or an adviser-inspector to local governments that I start out most of my lectures advising landlords, their attorneys, and inspectors to go out and spend $20ish to buy a 100 foot tape measure, measure the boundaries of their cell site, and compare the actual measurements and cell site location to what’s shown in the lease or permit.

Recently, I received some very kind words about the power of the tape measure from a landlord’s attorney in Missouri, Brandon Moonier, Esq. of Thurman, Howard, Weber, Senkel & Norrick, LLC, who wrote saying:

I have taken many of Jonathan Kramer’s seminars and will keep going back for more.  His insightful, practical and relatable approach to cell tower leases left me with valuable tools to use in my practice.  Upon Mr. Kramer’s urging, one of the tools I now carry is a tape measure. This simple trick of measuring the leased area has made thousands of dollars for my clients.   Bravo, Mr. Kramer.  Please take your bow.

–Brandon T. Moonier, Esq., Partner of Thurman Law Firm, Hillsboro, Missouri. 

Well, it’s always gratifying to hear that lessons taught are lessons being learned–and put to good use.  Bravo, Mr. Moonier…now YOU take your own bow!



Let the California Utility Pole Authority Games Begin

Let the games begin. The “California Utility Pole Authority” (the alter-ego DBA of Mobilitie”) is showing plans with their DBA in big loud letters. Here’s an example:

"California Utility Pole Authority" Project Cover Page

“California Utility Pole Authority” Project Cover Page

I obtained this public record document from a local government in California and redacted the site-specific identifiable information, including the site identification of the carrier Sprint which remains a secret.  The specific site design proposed in the project was, in my opinion, simply awful. Strapping external conduits on concrete poles? Drip loops? Really? I don’t know of any savvy California governments that would entertain such a design. 

Hopefully, Mobilitie the California Utility Pole Authority will learn quickly that a rather poor site design that may play in other parts of the country won’t play here in California.

By the way, at last count today, Mobilitie has registered DBAs as the following:

Alaska Utility Pole Authority
Arizona Utility Pole Authority
Arkansas Utility Pole Authority
Florida Utility Pole Authority
Georgia Utility Pole Authority
Illinois Utility Pole Authority
Indiana Utility Pole Authority
Minnesota Utility Pole Authority
Missouri Utility Pole Authority
North Dakota Utility Pole Authority
Ohio Utility Pole Authority
Oregon Utility Pole Authority
Pennsylvania Utility Pole Authority
Rhode Island Utility Pole Authority
Vermont Utility Pole Authority
West Virginia Utility Pole Authority
Wisconsin Utility Pole Authority
Wyoming Utility Pole Authority

Now that’s a LOT of Utility Pole Authority, if you ask me!



Rome (Maine) Conquers Global Tower Assets

GLOBAL TOWER ASSETS, LLC sued the Town of Rome, Maine and its Planning Board for a denial of a cell site project.

Unfortunately for Global Tower, it sued after receiving the Planning Board’s denial. It did not take an appeal to the Town. The District Court hearing the case “held that the Planning Board’s denial . . . → Read More: Rome (Maine) Conquers Global Tower Assets

Want to Sell Your Cell Site Lease? Read the Fine Print!

Want to Sell your Cell Site Lease?

Our law firm helps landlords monetize (read: sell) their cell tower or cell site lease. It’s a very specialized area of land-use and technology law. There are times such deals make sense, and many more times when they don’t, but you should discuss your situation with a competent . . . → Read More: Want to Sell Your Cell Site Lease? Read the Fine Print!

Cell Site Question: How Much is an Acre of Land Worth in the U.S.?

John Pestle, Esq.  Varnum Law Firm.

My mentor and colleague, John Pestle of the Varnum, LLP and I teach online lectures about wireless leasing matters. We have taught these wireless leasing

John Pestle, Esq. of the Varnum, LLP.

lectures for many years. Our lectures, taught through Lorman Education Services and the International Municipal Lawyers Association focus on key things a . . . → Read More: Cell Site Question: How Much is an Acre of Land Worth in the U.S.?

T-Mobile’s CellSpot – Washington Post Says Think Twice

T-Mobile’s Free CellSpot: Hidden Costs?

I posted earlier today about my concerns regarding T-Mobile’s CellSpot. Beyond the concerns I wrote about, the Washington Post today has a very informative piece about how this device will metaphorically reach into the wallets and purses of T-Mobile subscribers who opt to install a CellSpot. An important read.

. . . → Read More: T-Mobile’s CellSpot – Washington Post Says Think Twice

T-Mobile’s CellSpot: You Cover What They Can’t

T-Mobile CellSpot

I’m simply amazed by the press coverage T-Mobile is getting from the announcement that it will offer free 3G/4G/4G-LTE hot spots. As their Fact Sheet says, “the 4G LTE CellSpot ensures customers with a limited signal will now have strong, dependable voice and data coverage in their home or small business.”

“Here Spot!” “Heeeeer . . . → Read More: T-Mobile’s CellSpot: You Cover What They Can’t

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