CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Frontier Communications executive Dana Waldo abruptly walked out of a public meeting at the West Virginia Capitol on Wednesday, after he accused Citynet CEO Jim Martin of misleading state officials and defaming Frontier.
"Jim, it's over," Waldo told Martin during a Broadband Deployment Council meeting. "I'm done talking to you. I'm done . . . wasting my time responding to your mischaracterizations.
"I'm not going to sit here and waste my time and hear more of his nonsense," Waldo continued. "I'll excuse myself."
Tension between Waldo and Martin -- both of whom sit on the council -- had been building for months.
Martin has said Frontier used federal stimulus funds to build a statewide high-speed Internet network that solely benefits Frontier. Martin also has questioned if Frontier inflated the number of miles of fiber-optic cable the company erected across the state. In turn, Frontier executives have urged state officials not to award any leftover stimulus funds from the statewide project to Citynet.
At Wednesday's meeting, Waldo and Martin started sparring while Broadband Deployment Council members were reviewing grant applications from a Frontier competitor that plans to bring broadband service to a small community in Tyler County. Waldo said Frontier planned to expand into the same area next year.
Martin asked Waldo if Frontier's broadband technology would provide households with 4-megabit-per-second download and 1-megabit-per-second upload speeds.
"I'll have an engineer talk to you about the technology we use on that," said Waldo, senior vice president and general manager of Frontier's West Virginia operations.
Martin alleged that Frontier's broadband DSL service does not offer the 1-megabit upload speed.
"That is not correct, Jim," Waldo said. "I wasn't going to bring this up, but I am absolutely beside myself. I feel so sorry for you, that you are so desperate to make you and Citynet relevant and, apparently, keep it afloat.
"You make all these characterizations about us and everybody else."
At that point, Waldo started passing out a 2010 letter from federal officials that rejected Martin's criticism of Frontier and West Virginia's $126.3 million broadband expansion project funded by the stimulus. He also passed out a Charleston Gazette story about the letter. Parts of the letter and newspaper article were highlighted in yellow.
"My God," Waldo said, "every allegation you make and everything you said, [federal officials] dispute, and you still bring up these allegations . . . . I'm tired talking to you about this stuff. I'm tired of the misrepresentations you make."
Waldo accused Martin of making "misleading and defaming" comments "to my company and myself."
Martin stared back at Waldo and said nothing.