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September 23, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Clear Channel battles billboard ownership in Yonkers

Image courtesy of Google Maps

Clear Channel Outdoor wants its Yonkers billboards back.

The outdoor advertising company has sued 777 CPA LLC, the owner of a property where Clear Channel operates two billboards, demanding the right to remove them.

But 777 CPA of Mahopac claims it owns the structure, and it has refused to allow Clear Channel access to remove the billboards.

“Stay off our property,” Steve Sassone wrote in a January letter to Clear Channel – unless the billboard company needs to change advertising, and then, only if it provides at least 24 hours notice.

Clear Channel operates the 14-by-48-feet back-to-back billboards on the roof of a Mavis Discount Tire store at 779 Central Park Ave., alongside the New York State Thruway and across the highway from the Cross County Shopping Center.

It leases the spot for $71,286 a year, ending on May 31.

The San Antonio, Texas-based company owns or operates about 570,000 advertising displays nationwide, and last year it booked nearly $2.6 billion in revenue. It is a subsidiary of iHeartMedia Inc.

777 CPA traces its interests in the structure to 1972, when Sassone Service Center of Yonkers leased the rooftop to Bolte Advertising. That license clearly states that Sassone Service Center owns the sign and the property, Steve Sassone said in the January letter, adding that the company has never relinquished ownership.

Clear Channel said the lease identifies it as the owner of the sign, according to the complaint filed in Westchester Supreme Court, and it may remove the sign at any time, up to 60 days after the least expires.

Negotiations to renew the lease stalled late last year. It became apparent, Clear Channel attorney Patrick J. Kilduff said in an affidavit, that the Sassone company intends to do business with another outdoor advertising company.

A competitor “would like nothing more than to use an existing permitted sign structure,” Kilduff said, “instead of incurring the substantial expense associated with constructing its own sign structure.”

Clear Channel applied for a demolition permit from the Yonkers housing and buildings department in March.

Sassone responded with a notice to vacate property, demanding that the billboard company “remove their vinyl sign copies and Clear Channel Outdoor logo from our billboards at the expiration of said lease.”

Clear Channel is asking the court to declare that it owns the structure, that it is entitled to remove it and that 777 CPA may not make a deal with anyone else to use it.

Justice Charles D. Wood ordered a hearing to be held on June 15.