Abruptly Fired by WADL, Kevin O’Brien Shares His Side of the Story

By Andrew Gauthier 

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After his very public termination as a WADL consultant, Kevin O’Brien is firing back at the independent station and its owner Kevin Adell.

Today an attorney representing O’Brien circulated a press release defending him against the “defamatory” press release WADL sent out last week announcing his dismissal.

In firing O’Brien, WADL cited his use of company equipment to “obtain a deal with the San Jose Sharks” as the reason for his termination. O’Brien denies trying to land a deal with the NHL team, and contends that he was fired because he disagreed with Adell about how to discipline an employee for excessive use of a company vehicle.

“Mr. O’Brien was told by multiple Adell employees that Kevin Adell, the owner of the station, felt Mr. O’Brien had ‘scolded’ him by failing to agree to terminate an employee for what Mr. Adell viewed as excessive mileage on a company vehicle,” O’Brien’s press release states.

The release also works to cut members of Adell’s inner circle down to size. It points out that the “retired FBI agent” who, according to the WADL press release, conducted an investigation into O’Brien’s behavior is, in fact, Adell’s “body guard.”  And it also mentions that the in-house lawyer who wrote the letter to O’Brien explaining his termination is “also a performer on a legal show” on WADL.

Whether O’Brien was fired for trying to land a deal with the San Jose Sharks or because he “scolded” Adell, neither action seems to warrant the language used in WADL’s press release.

“I am deeply saddened that in this day and age this type of behavior still exists,” Adell stated in the release.

A disagreement about mileage on a company car or using company equipment to land a business deal hardly seem like matters out of place “in this day and age.”

Here’s the full text of O’Brien’s press release…


San Francisco, February 28, 2012.
Kevin O’Brien, media consultant, long-time Bay Area broadcasting executive and former general manager of KTVU (Channel 2) is responding to the recent termination of his consultancy contract with Adell Broadcasting Corporation, and the defamatory press release issued by that company upon its termination of the contract. The six month contract, which called for Mr. O’Brien to devote six days per month to management consultation for the Adell television station in Detroit (TV 38), was abruptly terminated last week after Mr. O’Brien was told by multiple Adell employees that Kevin Adell, the owner of the station, felt Mr. O’Brien had “scolded” him by failing to agree to terminate an employee for what Mr. Adell viewed as excessive mileage on a company vehicle. Mr. O’Brien was given no formal reason for the termination of his contract. Adell Broadcasting then issued a press release stating that O’Brien had “violated numerous corporate policies” (without indicating what policies), and stating that an investigation had been conducted by “a retired FBI agent.” The “retired FBI agent” is, in fact, an employee and body guard for Mr. Adell. The press release did not give any indication of the purpose or result of any investigation, instead simply quoting Mr. Adell as having stated that “this type of behavior” (with no indication of the “behavior” Mr. Adell was referring to) was something which should not “still exist” “in this day and age.”

Mr. O’Brien subsequently received a letter from Adell’s in-house lawyer (who is also a performer on a legal show on Adell’s station) advising him that the investigation had disclosed that while Mr. O’Brien was on company premises, he “used Company equipment” to “try to make a deal with the San Jose Sharks.” That was the only specification of behavior Adell purported to regard as a basis on which to terminate its contract with Mr. O’Brien.

In fact, although Mr. O’Brien did not “try to make a deal” either with or concerning the San Jose Sharks during his brief consultancy relationship with Adell, there was no restriction in his consultancy agreement on conducting business on his own behalf or for others during his six month, part time assignment for Adell Broadcasting Corporation.

Mr. O’Brien indicated that he is issuing this press release in response to the numerous inquiries he has received from persons in the broadcasting industry who were concerned, on the basis of the inflammatory (though utterly unspecific) language in the Adell press release, that Mr. O’Brien may have engaged in some sort of impropriety during his two months with Adell. Mr. O’Brien stated that not only did he engage in no impropriety, he did nothing to violate any terms of the consultancy agreement. Mr. O’Brien had no explanation for Mr. Adell’s actions other than the information he had received from others at the station that Mr. Adell was angry due to Mr. O’Brien’s disagreement with Mr. Adell’s desire to terminate an employee for excessive use of a company vehicle.