Springsteen Concert: Suite Seats for a Sweet Price -- For Gov't Commissioners

Bruce Springsteen in concert last month at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena | Photo: mbtrama/Flickr/Creative Commons License

The leaders of the scandal-plagued and nearly bankrupt Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena may want to consider some public relations lessons. The arena and the adjacent coliseum, owned by the taxpayers, are somewhere between financial disaster and fiscal ruin. But that didn't stop certain members of its commission (government officials) from using their positions to take in a Bruce Springsteen concert from a suite, replete with a lounge, bathroom, television, and small kitchen, according to the LA Times. (It is vitally important to note that these are not the officials who have been charged with corruption; those individuals include concert promoters, contractors, and property managers).

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The nine-member commission helps to run the property. The commission members, who are not paid for their work, routinely receive free tickets or special access to various events held at the Coliseum.

The officials' decision to attend the concert from a suite may therefore be nothing new, but that doesn't mean it is anything to celebrate. Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, former sportswriter and columnist David Israel, and investment banker William Chadwick's decision to take in the concert from what has been described as a luxury suite means those seats were not open for sale to the public.

The officials apparently paid $100 per ticket, the LA Times was told. That price is based on the most expensive non-suite seats. Suite seats would almost certainly go for much more.

It is true that sale of luxury box tickets would not help to turn around the Coliseum's financial position. However, it is also true that the Coliseum needs all of the taxpayer revenue it can get. In addition, a decision to eliminate or reduce any source of revenue so that officials can enjoy an event from a suite is just a bad public relations move.

Jessica Levinson writes about the intersection of law and government in Los Angeles every week. She is a Visiting Professor at Loyola Law School. Read more of her posts here.

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