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Cell Tower Manager Accused in Suit of Pocketing Fees Meant for New York

  • Unsealed whistleblower suit says company shortchanged state
  • Crown Castle disputes former wireless company employee’s claim
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Photographer: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Crown Castle International Corp., the U.S.’s second-largest operator of mobile phone towers, defrauded New York by concealing fees it received from wireless carriers that were supposed to be split with the state, according to a whistle-blower lawsuit unsealed in state court.

The allegations surround the Houston-based company’s exclusive contract with the New York State Police to run phone towers on publicly owned land. Crown also manages fiber optic systems that link antennas on utility poles or buildings to a central hub to increase mobile voice and data capacity.