Ex-Charter Exec: Allen Knew

Former Charter Communications Inc. Western region senior vice president James "Trey" Smith III filed a counterclaim against the MSO Wednesday, AP reported.

Smith was among four former Charter executives sentenced April 22 in federal court in St. Louis, where he received two years of probation and was fined $175,000.

Former Charter chief financial officer Kent Kalkwarf was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Carol Jackson to 14 months in prison, two years of probation and a $200,000 fine. Former chief operating officer David Barford received 12 months in prison, two years probation and a $200,000 fine. And former Eastern region senior VP David McCall received the same sentence as Smith.

Smith's filing claimed that Charter chairman Paul Allen and former general counsel Curtis Shaw were aware of the scheme to defraud Charter investors by artificially inflating the MSO’s subscriber and cash-flow numbers in 2000 and 2001, and that they implicitly approved it.

Smith cited an e-mail from former Charter CEO Carl Vogel to Allen, AP reported. In the e-mail Nov. 12, 2001, Vogel wrote, "The way we will make the numbers is by carrying over some 86,000 disconnects, which I don't like but I will allow until I have better visibility to the 2002 budget."

Smith is asking the federal court to deny Charter's request that he repay $1.9 million in legal fees and to force the company to pay an additional $1 million in legal costs.

"A corporate giant owned by one of the richest men in the world is trying to bankrupt this man," Smith's attorney, John Roche, told AP Thursday.

Allen spokesman Michael Nang countered, "Any suggestion that Paul knew of any impropriety whatsoever is utterly and completely wrong."