The FCC yesterday opened a proceeding to determine whether the licenses of Commercial Radio Service in Terre Haute, Ind., and Timothy Doty should be revoked.

Doty has been accused of participating as a director and 50% shareholder of CRS after being convicted of two felony charges, one involving the manufacture of unauthorized satellite TV signal descramblers, and the other for possession of a controlled substance. CRS has been accused of failing to divulge Doty’s convictions on “at least two” license applications after the first conviction in 1991, and “at least five” license renewal-only applications after the second conviction in 2001, according to the FCC.

CRS holds four private land mobile radio licenses and one commercial license, while Doty holds a general radiotelephone operator license and an amateur radio license.

The FCC’s license application specifically asks whether any party directly or indirectly “controlling the applicant” has ever been convicted of a felony in federal or state court. The license renewal-only application is more streamlined and used by applicants who do not need to update their information. However, if updates are required, applicants must file renewal-modification applications instead; these require applicants to divulge felony convictions.

In its Order to Show Cause, the FCC alleges that CRS, by failing to file a renewal-modification application, failed to disclose Doty’s felony convictions as was required. When reviewing any application, the FCC considers the character of the applicant(s). A felony conviction calls into question “the applicant’s or licensee’s propensity to obey” federal communications laws, the order said. Moreover, misrepresentation and “lack of candor” immediately call into question the applicant’s or licensee’s ability to be “truthful in future dealings with the commission.”

The order further said that CRS and Doty “had a motive” to conceal the felony convictions, because they “would potentially disqualify” both as FCC licensees.

EMR Consulting of Terre Haute brought the allegations to the attention of the FCC. According to EMR President Sandra Black, CRS removed Doty as a shareholder in June 2006, and his nephew, Christopher Doty, took over the business. But Black alleged that Tim Doty still is actively involved in the company.

“I had somebody in there last week asking him questions,” Black said. “Chris wasn’t there—he was on vacation—Tim was. Who do you think was running the business?”

Black said EMR got involved because Terre Haute firefighters complained that the city’s public-safety radio system—which she said is owned and controlled by CRS—has dead spots and provides no in-building coverage, primarily because CRS’ tower is eight miles outside the city, which has a population in excess of 100,000.

“My whole goal in all of this—and this is all I’ve ever said— is that I just want a radio communications system for my firemen and my policemen that isn’t run by a convicted felon.”

Because the tower site is located so far away, incident communications are limited. “They have to talk mobile-to-mobile at a scene, which means they can’t go through the repeater to record it to dispatch,” Black said. “So, if somebody gets killed or hurt, there’s no recording of it.”

In addition to the potential license forfeiture, CRS also faces fines of up to $97,500 per violation.

A call to CRS and Timothy Doty seeking comment on the allegations was not returned.