AEG President Tim Leiweke says the Los Angeles City Attorney tried to “bully” his company regarding reimbursement of city costs for the Michael Jackson memorial at the Staples Center and that alleged feud is now carrying over to the premiere of the “This Is It” documentary at the L.A. Live entertainment complex.
Leiweke said Oct. 22 that Carmen Trutanich tried to pressure AEG into paying the city $6 million to cover police overtime, installing portable toilets, redirecting traffic and other services for the June 25 event, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I wouldn’t say it was extortion. I would say it’s a bully tactic. That’s the way I would put it. He’s trying to bully us. And he’s done it on three different occasions,” Leiweke said.
City Hall reportedly estimated those costs at about $1.3 million and Leiweke said he offered to defray a portion of that, to no avail. Trutanich wouldn’t budge on the $6 million, he said.
Now, Leiweke says Trutanich is blocking plans to post six billboards on L.A. Live’s new Regal Cinemas advertising the Oct. 27 premiere of “This Is It,” claiming to do so would violate the city’s recent ban on outdoor advertising.
AEG could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in damages if the permits for the billboards are not issued soon, the Times said.
However, Trutanich spokesman John Franklin told the Times that Leiweke’s comments were off base and denied the allegations.
“The city attorney has never said anything bad about AEG. He said they are good citizens,” Franklin said. “He just wants them to pay the [memorial service] bill versus the taxpayers. He had nothing against AEG.”
Franklin also said Trutanich discussed AEG reimbursing $2.3 million, not $6 million, the paper said.