Live Nation's Bid for the Greek Theatre Rejected By Los Angeles City Council

Greek Theater Overview - H 2014
Robert Mora

Greek Theater Overview - H 2014

Though the recommendation is non-binding, the news is something of a victory for Nederlander and AEG.

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday rejected the recommendation of the Department of Recreation and Parks to accept Live Nation's bid for a contract to run the city's iconic Greek Theatre. The motion passed by a vote of 11-3.

Though the recommendation is non-binding, the news is something of a victory for Nederlander and AEG, whose joint bid this past October was scored lower than Live Nation's by 59 points by an independent consultant hired by Recreation and Parks. The decision would seem to validate Nederlander's main argument that the proposals were not compared on an "apples to apples" basis and failed to take community input into consideration.

This long and wending process will now go back to Recreation and Parks who will reconsider its findings but not necessarily have to change its final endorsement.

The City Council speaker asked the council to meet behind closed doors to discuss the issue at hand because of possible litigation. While the speaker didn't specify what legal issues existed, a story in the Los Angeles Times reported on a leaked memo sent to the council by Mike Feuer, the L.A. city attorney. The memo instructed lawmakers that they couldn't overturn Park and Rec's decision at this juncture but they could reject the contract after it is negotiated and approved by the Recreation and Parks. The attorney also warned that overturning the decision could be seen as a "violation of city contracting rules and prompt a lawsuit against the city."

Following the closed-door meeting the councilmen were given time to make their views known and question the Recreation and Parks commission. Representative Paul Koretz said he had spoken with just about every lobbyist and old friend in Los Angeles while considering the issue. Joe Buscaino, in a dramatic gesture, ripped a piece of paper which he said is the message the city sends to businesses making bids on city contracts if it fails to support the Greek's RFP process.

In making the decision, the City Council heeded the recommendation of its Arts, Parks, Health, Aging & River Committee which reviewed Parks and Recreation's findings and heard public testimony. On Jan. 26, the committee voted 4-1 to "not concur" with the Rec and Parks Department recommendation for Live Nation..

Wednesday's lively meeting in the packed council chamber was filled with partisans that saw Live Nation clad in red sitting one side of the room and Nederlander supports in Green on the other. Each side was allowed to give 20 minutes of testimony in one-minute increments. Here Live Nation COO Joe Berchtold, chairman and president of Nederlander Jimmy Nederlander and AEG CEO Dan Beckerman gave testimony. This was followed by the commissioners of Recreation and Parks who spoke to the fairness of the RFP process for the Greek which reportedly cost $250,000.

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