TCT sale a done deal

By karla pomeroy

Tri-County Telephone Cooperative members voted overwhelmingly to support the sale of the company to Neil Schlenker and Big Horn Telecommunications.

Elections Committee Chairman Lynn Allen reported the results at the special cooperators meeting in Basin Saturday. She said there are 825 eligible cooperative members and of those, they received 694 valid votes. She said the committee rejected seven votes, which in essence then were no votes with two-thirds of the entire membership, or 66 percent) required to pass the proposition.

Of the seven rejected votes, which Allen said, were “rejected for various reasons,” two were yes, four no and one was not marked.

Of the 694 valid votes cast, there were 652 in favor and 42 against the proposition. The 652 represents 79 percent of the 825 confirmed members, Allen said. With 79 percent greater than the 66 percent required for passage, the proposition to sell TCT for $51 million passed.

While the final votes were being counted, Don Jackson provided a history of the company, which started in the 1950s with Tri County Telelphone. At that time they had 487 original customers, he said.

Today, TCT, has 11,005 customers. More than 500 customers are now using voice-over Internet for their telephone service rather than the traditional landline.

The company also has nearly 100 employees.

CEO Chris Davidson said, “The co-op member owners spoke and essentially 80 percent said we want to accept this offer. That’s huge,” adding that it’s hard to get 80 percent of any group to agree.

He said he had several people come up to me at Saturday’s meeting and over the weekend tell me what they would be using the membership check on.

“In the last 48 hours, a lot of people have come up to me to tell me how happy they are,” he said.

Buyer Neil Schlenker said he was pleased with the results. “We had to get a super majority and we blew through that.”