Company to seek restraining order

Opponents of the Los Angeles City Council’s extension of the Greek Theatre management contract have scored a major victory with City Council prexy John Ferraro urging the council to rescind the agreement.

Ferraro had been a backer of the council’s decision six weeks ago to allow Nederlander Corp. to run the Greek for five years past a 2001 expiration date without competitive bidding. But House of Blues Concerts, which has offered to spend more on improvements than Nederlander, collected enough signatures to qualify a measure for the November ballot to require the council to appoint the most competitive bidder to manage the city-owned facility at Griffith Park.

In response, Ferraro wrote a letter to council members this week saying they should rescind the contract prior to the election. “We should not let this matter drag on until an election,” he said. “Nor should we incur the additional public expense involved in such an election.”

Councilman Joel Wachs, who has opposed the contract, has estimated that the city’s costs for running the referendum election would be $1.8 million.

An attorney for Nederlander, which has managed the Greek for more than 25 years, said Tuesday the company plans to seeking a temporary restraining order today in Los Angeles Superior Court to keep the council from rescinding the contract on the grounds that the petitions were illegally circulated.

However, the firm that ran the petition drive said the allegations are untrue. “We ran the campaign by the book,” said Angelo Paparella, president of Progressive Campaigns Inc. “It’s just sour grapes.”

The council, which had the minimum 10 members present to conduct business Tuesday, considered motions to rescind the contract and one to delay the vote, but the matter remained unresolved since none received the eight votes needed.

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