Official: LA stadium backer ties won’t taint panel
The co-chairman of a commission appointed by the mayor to
analyze plans for a downtown Los Angeles NFL stadium defended the
panel’s independence Thursday in light of members’ ties to the
developer of the proposed venue.
Deputy mayor and economic policy chief Austen Beutner said after
the commission’s first meeting that all of the business and civic
leaders on the panel are committed to doing what’s right for city
“Just because they’ve known someone in the past, I don’t think
prejudices them in any way shape or form,” said Beutner, who also
noted that sports and entertainment company AEG played no role in
selecting committee members.
The Associated Press reported last week that most members of
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s commission on the proposed stadium had
financial, political or civic ties with AEG, although Beutner was
not among them.
AEG’s plan calls for the city to issue up to $350 million in
bonds to relocate a huge convention center structure where the
64,000-seat stadium would be built. The company has promised to
service that debt and pay any shortfalls.
City officials must also approve AEG’s lease for space on the
city-owned convention center property. AEG has also said it will
pick up the entire $1 billion tab for the stadium itself.
Beutner said the commission, which includes former Gov. Gray
Davis, Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Michael Lynton,
and Colony Capital LLC principal Richard Nanula, would not endorse
a plan that didn’t provide a net gain to the city.
“This has the potential to be transformative,” he said. “But we
need to do it right and our charge is to make sure it’s done
AEG’s plan is one of two competing proposals that aim to bring
football back to Los Angeles more than 15 years after the Rams and
Raiders left the huge market.
Warehouse magnate Ed Roski has permits in place to build a
75,000-seat stadium about 15 miles east of Los Angeles in the city
Both camps have said they hope to recruit a team – and possibly
two – from among those in the league that need a new stadium to
maximize revenue but are unable to get one built in their current