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Were Advertisers Eclipsed on 6? 

Why did former Channel 6 Vice President and General Manager Mark Pimentel leave the station?

It's a kind of double-dipping. For example, the television station collects money from two sponsors for only one advertising slot.

The sources say that, allegedly, Channel 6 blocked a national network commercial from Axa Financial, modified a performance affidavit for CBS, and collected a share of the national sponsor's money from the network.

Pimentel resigned Oct. 7. Sources say Pimentel knew about the incident and others like it. Pimentel could not be reached for comment. But in an Oct. 9 edition of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, he said: "My contract is up, and I decided to move on and pursue some other things. I wish the station well."

Pimentel had held the job since April 1999. While at Channel 6, he was in charge of management, direction and cash flow for the station that serves Richmond and surrounding areas and makes up the nation's 58th market. According to his online bio, he has worked in the news media for 23 years. He has received seven regional Emmys, DuPont Awards, the Silver Medal at the NY Film Festival and the Amercian Bar Association Silver Gavel.

Mark Neerman, news director at Channel 6, referred questions to Jeff Rosser, group vice president for Raycom Media that owns the CBS affiliate. "It's an internal matter, and matters like this we don't discuss," Rosser says.

Several calls to the CBS affiliate relations office were not returned.

Recently, Axa Financial, an investment management company based in New York, launched a national advertising campaign. As part of it, the company purchased airtime to run its commercial during the CBS hit show "Survivor" on Thursday night. Sources say the ad ran as scheduled in other markets such as New York, but not in Richmond. When it didn't air here, it prompted some close to the company to ask why.

Industry insiders say that if such allegations were true, the station would likely face a fine by the network and would have to restore lost costs to the advertiser.

It is unclear whether allegations made concerning actions taken by Pimentel and others will result in charges, fines or disciplinary action.

What is clear is that questions from Style about the alleged activities at Channel 6 have produced little comment.

But Jeff Tolvin, a spokesman for Axa, did say: "We looked into it. It's our understanding that the matter is solved and we'll be made whole."

— Brandon Walters

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