Mountain View Scrutinizes CCE

The City of Mountain View, Calif., is upset about an audit that allegedly shows Clear Channel Entertainment, the lessee of Shoreline Amphitheatre, is not sharing a proper amount of revenue.

“Clear Channel has been hiding money from the city,” Mountain View Finance Director Bob Locke told San Jose’s Mercury News. “I am not happy. This is a confirmation of some of our worst fears.”

The audit allegedly found that CCE shorted the city $3.6 million in rent payments and other fees based on a review of gross ticket receipts between 1999 and 2004, the paper said. City officials argue that Clear Channel is refusing to disclose some financial documents that could reveal further revenue that went unreported.

“We believe the audit is flawed and absolutely reject its finding that we’ve shorted the city $3.6 million in rent payments relating to Shoreline,” Clear Channel Communications Chief Legal Officer Andy Levin said in a statement. “As is often the case, this matter is much more complicated than some might suggest.

“We have been actively trying to resolve this dispute with the city and will continue to do so. We greatly value our relationship with Mountain View and hope to continue working with the city for quite some time.”

With the acquisition of Bill Graham Presents, Clear Channel became the amphitheatre’s lessee in 2000. The city and BGP have had their scuffles over the years, but Mountain View claims things got more contentious after the millennium.

During a recent interview with Pollstar, City Attorney Michael Martello said the Shoreline’s parking fee, which was tacked onto the ticket price in 2000, has been kept off the rent when it should have been included.

CCE claims the money is not part of the lease agreement while Martello says it counts as gross receipts.

The audit, prepared by AlixPartners, says the city is entitled to see expense records, profit-and-loss statements, parking revenue data and charitable contributions, according to the Mercury. The auditors also want to look at sponsorship deals.

The city and CCE have lawsuits filed regarding Shoreline’s financial records, and they’re expected to go to court February 6th.

Martello reportedly said the city council – at last resort – could terminate CCE’s Shoreline lease, which is due to expire in 2019.