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FOES OF CONTRACT FILE PETITION ABOUT GREEK THEATRE BID.

Byline: Beth Barrett Staff Writer

Sponsors of a petition seeking to overturn the City Council's award of a five-year contract extension without a competitive bid to the politically connected operators of the Greek Theatre turned in about 64,000 signatures to the City Clerk's Office on Friday.

The sponsors, House of Blues Concerts, need the signatures of 40,780 registered voters to force the council either to rescind the award to Nederlander Corp. or to place it before voters, most likely on the November presidential ballot.

The city's election division now will sample about 5 percent of the signatures, which will be presented to a judge for a ruling Jan. 18, said Kris Heffron, head of the division.

If the petition is certified, the council will have 20 days to act, she said.

Never in modern Los Angeles history has a contract been so contested, with House of Blues - a competitor of Nederlander - spending more than $100,000 on the signature drive after the council Dec. 8 approved the extension.

Nederlander has made millions of dollars off the theater, while the city has paid most of the expenses and netted virtually nothing. The operators convinced the theater's advisory group, the Recreation and Parks Commission and council it was better positioned than any would-be competitor to make $5 million in improvements before the theater's 70th anniversary season.

The new contract terms are more generous to the city, including $500,000 per year in rent, over previous ones but less than competitors said they were willing to pay.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 8, 2000
Words:256
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