Gossip extra

Owner of radio stations WFTL and WMEN files for bankruptcy


The owner of two major South Florida radio stations has filed for bankruptcy.

James Crystal South Florida and James Crystal Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last week in hope of reorganizing.

Both companies list liabilities between $10 and $50 million, according to the federal filings.

James Crystal owns news talk WFTL-850 AM, home of syndicated political commentator Michael Savage and local host Joyce Kaufman, and sports talk WMEN-640 AM, home of Sid Rosenberg and Orlando Alzugaray.

The stations, which own some of the strongest signals in the country, can be heard from north of Vero Beach to the Florida Keys.

Gossip Extra was told by several sources that the 75 employees were finally paid on Monday for the first time this year.

“We are making good on the payroll,” said stations manager Steve Lapa. “By the end of the week, the employees should be paid up.

“We did indeed file for bankruptcy, but it’s to reorganize and start afresh.”

Troubles began when the holder of a $17 million loan taken by a company run by local radio pioneer James Hilliard froze all the companies’ accounts, including those used to pay salaries.

“Now, it’s business as usual,” Lapa said.

Troubled pop star Justin Bieber had his lawyers appeal two recent decisions by Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel in the lawsuit brought against Bieber by a local photographer.

What’s more, Bieber is facing a $15,000 bill for wasting the time of photographer Jeffery Binion’s lawyer in an ill-fated attempt to question Bieber in preparation for the lawsuit, according to court docs.

The 19-year-old singer is appealing Zabel’s order that Bieber’s upcoming videotaped deposition be made public, and a second order allowing Binion’s attorney to explore details of other incidents involving the singer of Never Say Never, his bodyguards and photographers.

Binion sued in June after he claimed to be roughed up by Bieber’s security team outside a recording studio in North Miami.

Bieber’s deposition was scheduled to take place near his home in Los Angeles in late January, on the day that Bieber was arrested on a DUI charge in Miami Beach.

Mark DiCowden, Binion’s attorney, and a paralegal flew to Los Angeles and spent three days waiting for Bieber, who never showed up. Court records show Bieber may have to reimburse DiCowden for his travel expenses and 30 work hours.

Hollywood star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is having a custom-made gym installed in a 4,000-square-foot room in his new Broward County home.

Price tag: $300,000.

A source close to the star tells Gossip Extra that workers are putting finishing touches on the house, which Johnson just bought for $4.5 million.

The wrestler picked a 13,700-square-foot, five-bedroom, six-car garage crib in the fancy neighborhood of Landmark Ranch Estates in Southwest Ranches, just west of Fort Lauderdale. He’s scheduled to settle down in June.

Former Palm Beach County TV weatherman Rob Lopicola will now be calling Miami home for the next three years.

The 43-year-old ex-WPTV weatherman just arrived at the Everglades Correctional Institution near Homestead after his conviction for lewd and lascivious conduct.

Former Wilton Manors resident Lopicola was accused of having sex with underage boys.

According to state documents, Lopicola could be free to go on March 6, 2017 — and maybe a little sooner if he behaves.

Read more Jose Lambiet stories from the Miami Herald

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