Global Tel Link

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GTEL Holdings, Inc.
GTL
Private
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 1980; 37 years ago (1980) in Mobile, Alabama, United States
Headquarters Reston, Virginia, U.S.
Key people
Brian D. Oliver, CEO
Jeffrey Haidinger, COO
Steve Yow, CFO
Products Telephone services in prisons
Website gtl.net

Global Tel Link (GTL), formerly known as Global Telcoin, Inc. and Global Tel*Link Corporation, is a Reston, Virginia-based telecommunications company, founded in 1980, that provides Inmate Calling Service (ICS) through an "integrated information technology solutions" for correctional facilities[1][2] which includes inmates payment and deposit, facility management, and "visitation solutions".[2] The company's CEO is Brian D. Oliver.[2] By 2015, GTL controlled 50% of the Inmate Calling Services' $1.2 billion telecommunications industry.[3]

GTL, along with the wealthy private-equity firms that own them, such as Veritas Capital, have been criticized by advocacy groups, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Business, and some lawmakers, for charging overly high prices in their monopoly in communication with incarcerated individuals. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has tried unsuccessfully for many years to cap the price of phone calls.[4]

Board of Directors[edit]

According to Bloomberg, in 2017, Brian D. Oliver was Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jeffrey Haidinger was President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), and Steve Yow was Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Anthony R. Bambocci was Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President, and Matthew Caesar was Senior Vice President of Engineering and Development.[5] Board members included Hugh D. Evans and Ramzi M. Musallam from Veritas Capital and Jeffrey C. Weber from DC Capital Partners, LLC.[5]

History[edit]

GTL was founded in 1980 in Mobile, Alabama under the name Global Telcoin, Inc. The company changed its name in 1999 to Global Tel*Link Corporation.[2] Private-equity firms Veritas Capital and Goldman Sachs purchased GTL in from Gores Equity LLC for $345 million.[6]:23 In October 2011, GTL was sold for $1 billion.[7]

Litigation[edit]

The company has faced a number of class action lawsuits for violating the Federal Communications Act. The plaintiffs claim that the company uses its position to establish high rates and receives kickbacks for its contracts.[8] In March 2016, the FCC ruled that Global Tel*Link could be limited on its prison call costs.[9]

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood filed a lawsuit against Global Tel Link for racketeering, stating that the company was "involved in a conspiracy, scheme and/or enterprise that included bribery, kickbacks, misrepresentations, fraud, concealment, money laundering and other wrongful conduct."[10] The suit alleged that GTL had paid "consulting fees" to an agent of the company, which were used in exchange for Mississippi Department of Corrections public contracts.[11]

Reception[edit]

GTL came under scrutiny for entering into concession contracts with local prisons in order to have a monopoly on the provision of inmate telecom. The FCC reported that an inmate call from GTL could cost as much as US$17.30 for a 15 minute call,[12][13] The company claimed that these high costs were required in order to securely monitor these calls.[14][15]

In 2015, the FCC implemented a rule to cap the fees for interstate inmate phone calls at $3.75 for 15 minutes. But, in March 2016, in the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FCC could not cap rates on prison phone calls, but upheld its ability to cap other ancillary charges.[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lee Fang (June 24, 2015). "OPM Contractor's Parent Firm Has a Troubled History". The Intercept. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Company overview". BusinessWeek. February 5, 2017. Retrieved February 5, 2017. 
  3. ^ Walsh, Ben (June 10, 2015), "Prisoners Pay Millions To Call Loved Ones Every Year. Now This Company Wants Even More", Huffington Post, retrieved September 29, 2016 
  4. ^ Ann E. Marimow, FCC made a case for limiting cost of prison phone calls, but not anymore, Washington: The Washington Post 
  5. ^ a b People, Company Overview of Global Tel*Link Corporation, Bloomberg LP, February 6, 2017, retrieved February 6, 2017 
  6. ^ Private Equity Firms Profit Handsomely from Prison Phone Services, Prison Legal News, February 15, 2012, retrieved February 5, 2017 
  7. ^ Timothy Williams (March 31, 2015), The High Cost of Calling the Imprisoned, The New York Times, retrieved February 5, 2017 
  8. ^ Melissa LaFreniere (June 18, 2015). "Global Tel*Link Class Action Alleges Unfair Rates for Inmates". Top Class Actions. 
  9. ^ Ina Fried (March 7, 2016). "Court Ruling Puts Cheaper Prison Calls on Hold". Recode. 
  10. ^ Gates, Jimmie E. (8 February 2017). "Mississippi AG files lawsuits in Epps bribery case". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  11. ^ Girardeau, Tripp (7 April 2017). "Lawsuit lurks over Aiken County jail's new contract for inmate call service". Aiken Standard. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  12. ^ Ryan Dezember (April 17, 2014). "American Securities Puts Prison-Phone Operator GTL on Block". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 22 June 2016. 
  13. ^ Joshua Brustein (December 17, 2014). "Serial's $2,500 Phone Bill and the Prison-Calling Racket". Bloomberg Business. 
  14. ^ Ashley Nicole Black (February 21, 2015). "Here are 6 Companies That Get Rich off Prisoners". attn. 
  15. ^ Jones/Ap, Dow (2006-07-04). "Phone Card Issuers Must Pay Access Fees". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-03. 
  16. ^ Ina Fried (March 7, 2016). "Court Ruling Puts Cheaper Prison Calls on Hold". Recode. 

External links[edit]