Local Government

Judge: ImOn can continue Iowa City build out amid Mediacom lawsuit

In suit, Mediacom claims ImOn given unfair advantage

The ImOn Communications company sign is seen outside the GreatAmerica Building on Tuesday, July 5, 2011.     (David Scri
The ImOn Communications company sign is seen outside the GreatAmerica Building on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. (David Scrivner/SourceMedia Group News)

IOWA CITY — A judge has denied an attempt by Mediacom Communications Corporation to halt competitor ImOn Communications’ build out efforts in Iowa City during a pending lawsuit.

On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Wolle denied Mediacom’s motion for preliminary injunction against ImOn.

“We’re pleased,” Iowa City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes said Thursday.

Last year, the Iowa City Council approved lease agreements with ImOn, a Cedar Rapids company that has The Gazette Company among its investors. The agreements include leasing for space in the city’s data center to create a communication hub, access to the city’s existing fiber-optic network, and rights to install and maintain a network in the city right of way.

In the lawsuit, which was filed late last year, Mediacom alleges the lease agreements between the city and ImOn violate municipal code and state law by undermining Mediacom’s existing franchise agreement and provide ImOn with an unfair advantage.

While Mediacom officials argue the city should require ImOn to get a franchise agreement to create a level playing field, officials with ImOn say current plans are only for Internet and telephone services, and a franchise agreement isn’t required until television services are included.

In March, Mediacom filed an amended complaint that added ImOn to the lawsuit, as well as a claim of civil conspiracy between ImOn and the city of Iowa City.

In court documents filed Thursday, Judge Wolle said the court had not found evidence that Iowa City had acted unlawfully alone or in concert with ImOn.

A telephone conference for summary judgment on the lawsuit has been scheduled for July 11.

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