Insight To Fischer — You Can’t Terminate Us

When Greg Fischer told Insight last week that he was going to terminate the city’s contract if Insight didn’t come around on negotiating a new contract, well, it looks like he should have gotten some legal advice first.  He should have found lawyers, that is, with some expertise and knowledge of the existing contract. He should have figured out that Time Warner, the humongous company acquiring Insight, would have some pretty sharp lawyers.

But according to a letter sent from Time Warner’s CEO last night,  Fischer’s threat is an empty one, because there’s a ton of hoops the city would have to go through to dump Insight, and eventually Time Warner, as the cable provider. The city certainly can’t pull the plug in December, and guess what — no one’s knocking on the door to replace Insight.

The rough-and-tumble negotiations with Insight could put in jeopardy some essential services. It appears that Fischer (Jobs, Jobs, Jobs) is hung up on making the new company keep a thousand jobs here. Time Warner is suggesting a six-month extension of the contract.

The letter from Time Warner VP Kozolek is more like a scolding. I’ll translate:

Kozolek: We are greatly disappointed, however, that Metro has been a notable exception to the near universal warm reception received by Time Warner Cable thus far throughout Kentucky, especially after our very cordial meeting back in mid-October. In particular, we are confounded by your unlawful attempt, apparently without consultation with the Metro Council and without warning to Insight, to terminate Insight’s franchises, an act that would violate federal law, local ordinances, and Insight’s fundamental right to due process.

Translation: You’re a pain and you don’t get how this stuff works. And now I know you’re a phony. Sending that oddball letter threatening to do something you have no power to do really pissed me off.

On the other hand, Time Warner Cable truly appreciates the willingness expressed in Mr. O’Connell’s letter “to discuss the possibility of extending the expired franchises with Time Warner Cable and Insight.”

Quit with the media pressure and the idiotic threats, and we’ll talk.

But productive negotiations cannot take place in the hostile and contentious atmosphere created by your threat to unlawfully terminate Insight’s franchises. The current process with Metro is at a crossroads. We both can either continue down a path of bitter, costly and prolonged litigation, an approach that will only harm consumers, or you can rescind the termination notice, thereby allowing for meaningful renewal negotiations to commence immediately after closing.

We’re bigger and badder than you are.