U.S. Capital claims lack of transparency
Since September, USC has been in negotiations with the Coliseum CommissionÂ in an effort to acquire operational control of the 88-year-old facility, which has housed the Trojan football team since the mid-1920s.
But the university has also been the only party afforded the chance to negotiate with the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseumâs nine-member governing body. And most of those negotiations have occurred behind closed doors.
Itâs an ongoing development that has irked some, in particular U.S. Capital LLC, a San Diego-based sports and entertainment company. Over the last three years, the firm has expressed a desire to obtain the master lease for the federal and state landmark, pledging to pour millions into the stadium as part of an effort to renovate the facility.
Linda Paul, U.S. Capitalâs executive vice president, said it has not been given the opportunity to submit a proposal to the commission or to bid for management control.
âItâs almost being handed over to USC without any other competition or options at all,â Paul said. âThat is our main issue. We are not even being responded to.â
Paul said she received a letter from David Israel, president of the Coliseum Commission, last year, which said the commission was not interested in negotiating with the company.
âNo reasoning,â Paul said. âItâs just a one liner.â
Israel could not be reached for comment.
U.S. Capital hopes â if it were to be given day-to-day control â to spend millions, along with its private equity partners, to build an entirely new stadium.
Though USC is expected to spend roughly $70 million in renovations to the facility, Paul said U.S. Capital could spend much more, in addition to commercial hotels and other amenities in the surrounding area as part of an effort to refurbish the Coliseum and host events at least 300 days per year.
Under the proposed amended lease released by the commission Tuesday, USC would have the option to limit the number of public events to eight per year.
âThis is a publicly owned facility,â Paul said. âIt should request proposals for bids from other entities, such as ourselves, who can do a better job than an institution that is going to close the facility off primarily for USC events. We want USC events, but we want to open this up, so it can pop 365 days per year.â
In an effort, to explain its proposal, Paul, along with chief executive Leonard Bloom, has sent letters and information to Gov. Jerry Brown, senators, members of the Coliseum Commission and acting General Manager John Sandbrook contesting the lack of transparency.
Paul also said the negotiations are in violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act, enacted in 1953, giving the public the right to sit in on meetings from local legislative bodies.
âTheyâre making us look like the enemy and weâre not,â Paul said. âWe actually want to build a new Coliseum with our money and with support from USC. Whatever they want built in the Coliseum, weâll work with them.â
Los Angeles City Councilmember and Coliseum Commisioner Bernard Parks said the facility should remain public.
âItâs a public facility. Itâs been a public facility for 80 years, and it should remain a public facility. I do not support that the Coliseum be turned into a private facility.â