News 12 Networks owner Altice USA, formerly based in Bethpage,...

News 12 Networks owner Altice USA, formerly based in Bethpage, is now headquartered in Long Island City, Queens. Credit: Ed Betz

Cablevision founder Charles F. Dolan and members of his family want Altice USA Inc. to restore jobs it has cut at News 12 Networks, returning the payroll to its 2016 level of 462 people, according to a court filing.

The Dolans, in an amended lawsuit filed this week in Delaware Chancery Court, allege that Altice has violated the 2016 sales agreement in which Cablevision Systems Corp. of Bethpage was sold to Altice parent Altice N.V. of the Netherlands for $17.7 billion.

The sales agreement stipulated that News 12 would have at least 462 workers for five years, according to the suit.

The Dolans, who were the controlling shareholders of Cablevision, allege that Altice USA laid off 70 News 12 employees in 2017 and planned more job cuts until the family filed suit in September 2018. The Dolans initially sought to prevent further News 12 job cuts.

Last month, the Dolans and Altice agreed there will be no additional News 12 layoffs until a September trial in Wilmington, Delaware, according to an order signed by the judge in the case.

“Altice failed to maintain staffing levels of 462 full-time equivalent employees, which they agreed to do in their contract when Altice acquired Cablevision in 2016,” Patrick Dolan, former News 12 president, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Altice should be required to restore staffing to what it was at the time of the merger.” Dolan owns Newsday Media Group.

Altice spokeswoman Lisa Anselmo said the Long Island City, Queens company "continues to invest in News 12 and we are very proud of the network’s ongoing achievements, including growth in ratings and digital viewership as well as the receipt last month of 51 New York Emmy nominations. … We are committed to the continued success and growth of News 12 and believe this lawsuit has no merit.”

The Dolans also are requesting that an independent monitor be appointed by the court to oversee Altice’s stewardship of News 12 should the family win its lawsuit.

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