ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The dispute over who gets to run the public access television channel in Albuquerque took a bizarre turn Tuesday involving armed security guards and disputed property.
Representatives of Quote-Unquote Inc., the company that has been running the channel, says it was greeted by an armed security guard and locked out of its studio near Sixth and Central this morning. The company’s contract runs through the end of the month, and its supporters want to remove equipment belonging to Quote-Unquote, not the city.
“They treat us like criminals,” board president Allen Cooper said. “It’s obscene.”
City Attorney David Tourek said the city used security guards to ensure Quote-Unquote doesn’t take city equipment from the building. There’s a dispute, he said, over what belongs to Quote-Unquote and what belongs to the city.
The two sides will meet tomorrow to go over who gets what, he said.
“The taxpayers have millions invested in the public access TV building,” he said. “I think I have an obligation to protect the taxpayers’ funds and their equipment.”
The city paid Quote-Unquote for the entire month of June, Tourek said. A new company, uPublic, is expected to take over in July.
One guard and about a dozen Quote-Unquote supporters seemed to be co-existing peacefully outside the building Tuesday afternoon.