End of Story

LIKE ALL TV stations, KSTP-TV aggressively markets its investigative unit, but when it comes to exposing its own misdeeds, it takes a decidedly more closed-mouth approach. During the summer, after nearly two years of litigation, KSTP-TV quietly settled a lawsuit brought by Expertech, a small Richfield appliance repair store which was closed after the station aired a report alleging that Expertech employees deliberately destroyed parts before repairs were made. Expertech contends that, among other things, KSTP-TV aired hidden-camera footage out of sequence, making it appear that employees had broken parts before getting approval for the repair. The conduct so outraged some local media insiders that one, former WCCO-TV news director Ron Handberg, testified on Expertech's behalf.

Did KSTP-TV pay out hundreds of thousands to make the case go away just one month before it was scheduled to go before a jury? Inquiring minds may never know, because the settlement was ordered sealed by mutual agreement of the parties. KSTP-TV denies any liability.

KSTP-TV spokesman Gary Hill, who fielded calls for news director Dean Bunting and reporter Joel Grover, calls such a deal "not uncommon." However, it seems odd that a major media conglomerate which loudly advertises its reputation would keep a verdict quiet had it managed to squash one small, defunct appliance dealer.

 
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