It's never a good look when someone with a net worth of $18 million dollars claims that his employer is forcing him into "indentured servitude." Then again, radio personality Michael Savage isn't a man of tact.
In 2010, he sued Talk Radio Network, which controlled his syndicated radio show, for "attempting to force Dr. Savage into accepting a sub-standard agreement containing what can only be described as an indentured servitude provision." Anticipating a legal victory, Talk Radio Network withheld $862,454.92 of Savage's pay, to cover the damages the company expected to be awarded.
While there are no laws for tact, there are laws for contracts. And last week, a federal judge in Oakland, ruled that Savage, who received a Ph.D. in nutritional ethnomedicine from UC Berekley, had a right to that withheld money.
The ruling affirmed an arbitration panel's original decision to award Savage the money and terminate his contract with Talk Radio Network. The company, however, had claimed that the panel was swayed by "Savage's threats and intimidation." But Judge Yvonne Rogers stated in her ruling that Talk Radio Network did not offer any evidence to support the accusation.
Savage, who's birth name is Michael Weiner, hosts one of the most listened-to radio programs in America. When his contract with Talk Radio Network expired in 2010, Courtside radio offered him a fat deal "containing terms and resulting benefits which have no equivalent through the TRN syndication system."
His contract with TRN, though, gave them a right to match any offer (any one who follows free agency signing in the NBA or NFL would liken this to being a "restricted free agent"). So TRN offered what it considered to be a matching offer. To Savage, the offer did not adequately match the Courtside deal. And the parties took the dispute to an independent arbitration panel.
Shortly after, TRN, anticipating a favorable judgement, began withholding Savage's payments. The move backfired. In September, the arbitration panel ruled that TRN had breached its contract with Savage by withholding the pay, and because of that, Savage would be allowed to end his contract with them. Less than a month later, Savage signed a deal with Cumulus Media Networks.