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County supervisors order audit of $24-million Music Center contribution

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has ordered an audit of how the Los Angeles Music Center spends the millions in taxpayer dollars it receives for operating expenses each year.

Noting that the county is providing more than $24 million to the Music Center during the current fiscal year, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said, "It is important that the Music Center's use of county funds be periodically reviewed for compliance with the board-approved funding agreement."

Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved Antonovich's call for the audit and asked for a report within 60 days.

The Music Center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in December, has recently struggled with fundraising, undergone changes in leadership and is preparing for a $350-million renovation of its Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Its leaders also hope to upgrade the center's outdoor plaza to better accommodate performances.

Music Center officials have said they want the county, which owns the downtown Los Angeles site on the west side of Grand Park, to provide a large chunk of the money needed for the improvements. They expect to raise the rest from private donations.

Kathryn Barger, Antonovich's chief of staff, said the supervisor "just felt it was prudent to do an audit" and "start with a clean slate" as the center moves forward with its new leadership and renovation plans.

"They're going to be looking to the county to help," Barger said, "so this is perfect timing" for a review of how the center uses the resources county taxpayers already provide.

The county's annual allocations are for building and grounds maintenance, custodial, security and usher services, utilities, insurance and long-term lease and administrative support services.

A representative for the Music Center could not be immediately reached for comment.

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