Escalating War Of Shoreline

More barbs are being traded between attorneys for Clear Channel Entertainment and the city of Mountain View, Calif., which are facing a court battle over the revenues from Shoreline Amphitheatre.

The city has accused CCE of hiding money that should apply to the venue’s lease agreement, notably parking fees. A city-sponsored audit details more than $20 million in underreported revenue dating back to 1999. The parties are scheduled to go to trial February 6th.

In a motion for summary judgment filed with Judge William Elfving February 7th, the city did not mince words, as reported in the Mountain View Voice.

“As the procedural history before this Court demonstrates, Plaintiffs’ entire complaint is a ruse, concocted for the sole purpose of interfering with efforts by Defendant, City of Mountain View, to fulfill its role of public accountability,” the motion reportedly begins.

It says CCE wants to sell naming rights to the shed and has threatened to host shows elsewhere if the city does not acquiesce, the Voice said.

Clear Channel quickly responded with its own motion, seeking to toss out charges of racketeering and theft of public funds, the paper said. Other charges went unchallenged.

Mountain View and original lessee Bill Graham Presents have locked horns in past years over revenue from Shoreline Amphitheatre, but the city claims tensions grew after Clear Channel acquired BGP along with the rest of the SFX conglomerate.

CCE filed a lawsuit in 2001 to block the city from completing yearly reviews of the shed’s finances. The city fired back, filing its own suit claiming that CCE’s inclusion of a parking fee on the ticket price was “a gimmick to disguise ticket revenue in order to avoid paying percentage rent and cheat performers out of their cut of the proceeds,” according to the Voice.

Clear Channel called the audit an “unbridled fishing expedition,” and Clear Channel Communications Chief Legal Officer Andy Levin said it was flawed.

Mountain View’s city council has reportedly rejected two naming rights deals for the amphitheatre that would have changed its name to Yahoo Pavilion or Lycos Amphitheatre.

The city also claims that CCE is withholding its cut of the profit from a sponsorship deal the promoter has with Sleep Train (as in “Sleep Train Concert Season at Shoreline Amphitheatre”).