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Cablevision founder Dolan seeks PSC review of News 12 layoffs

Charles F. Dolan has asked the Public Service Commission for "a comprehensive review" of Altice's compliance with employment levels set by the commission

The former Bethpage offices of Altice USA, which

The former Bethpage offices of Altice USA, which cut the workforce at News 12 after purchasing Cablevision. Cablevision founder Charles Dolan is challenging the layoffs. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Cablevision founder Charles F. Dolan has asked the state Public Service Commission for “a comprehensive review” of Altice’s compliance with employment levels set by the commission when it approved Altice's 2016 purchase of the company, according to a letter sent to the commission on Tuesday.

In the six-page letter, Dolan alleges that Altice USA Inc. is violating the commission’s order that there be no layoffs of “customer-facing employees” in New York State for four years.

He also said the journalistic quality of News 12 Networks has suffered because 70 staffers were laid off in 2017.

Altice USA spokeswoman Lisa Anselmo said Tuesday the Long Island City, Queens, company “has met all of its workforce commitments, and we are in compliance with our merger agreement.”

The PSC letter is the latest development in a conflict between the Dolan family, which was the controlling shareholder of Cablevision Systems Corp. in Bethpage, and Altice USA, whose parent, Altice N.V. of the Netherlands, purchased Cablevision for $17.7 billion almost three years ago.

The Dolans, through a lawsuit filed last year in Delaware Chancery Court, have sought to restore the News 12 workforce to its 2016 level of 462 workers.

“Altice has flouted the commitments it made to the commission and New York residents,” Charles Dolan said in his letter. The News 12 layoffs “stand in contrast to significant job protection commitments Altice agreed to in order to secure commission approval of the transaction.”

After the Dolans filed suit in September, PSC spokesman James Denn told Newsday the agency “will review the recent news of layoffs at Altice to ensure that the company did not violate the merger order’s requirement that there be no layoffs of customer-facing jobs.”

The PSC has not yet announced the results of that review.

The Altice USA spokeswoman said the company continues to invest in News 12, including planned studios in Bethpage to replace the Woodbury studios. She also said News 12 recently received 51 New York Emmy Award nominations.

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