Time Warner Cable and Los Angeles resolve lawsuit over disputed fees

The Los Angeles City Council has approved a settlement that resolves a legal dispute with the region's largest pay-TV provider, Time Warner Cable, over the payment of fees.

City Council members on Tuesday voted 15-0 to reclassify $5.2 million in fees that Time Warner Cable had paid under protest. The money will go into the city's general fund, where it can be used for various services.

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"This money will pay for police officers, firefighters, street paving, tree trimming and more," City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement after the vote.

The disputed amount originally was earmarked for the city's Public Educational and Government Capital fund, which includes the city's public access TV channels. After the city sued the cable provider, Time Warner Cable demanded the city return the money.

Tuesday's action brings to an end nearly two years of legal wrangling.

Feuer in early 2014 filed a suit in federal court against Time Warner Cable, the dominant provider in Southern California, which provides high-speed Internet and cable TV service to more than 1.5 million homes in the region.

The suit demanded the cable provider pay the city nearly $10 million and claimed the company had shirked its responsibility during the financial crisis that strained the city's budget. 

City leaders on Tuesday hailed the agreement, saying it could free up as much as $50 million over the next 15 years to be deposited into the city's general fund.

"By securing this settlement, the city is receiving a substantial payment into the general fund. ... It will allow us to improve our fiscal health and enhance critical services in neighborhoods across Los Angeles," said Councilman Paul Krekorian, chairman of the city Budget and Finance Committee.

Time Warner Cable declined to discuss the settlement, which noted that the company had paid in full the various fees it owed the city.

"The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties," a Time Warner Cable spokesman said.

Time Warner Cable is in the process of being acquired by smaller Charter Communications. The two companies are hoping to win federal and state approval for their $57-billion merger.

Times staff writer Emily Alpert Reyes contributed to this report

Twitter: @MegJamesLAT


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