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City Faces Lawsuit : Burbank Fires Starlight Amphitheatre Operator

Times Staff Writer

Concert promoter Tim Pinch, who has managed the beleaguered Starlight Amphitheatre for three years, was fired Tuesday by the Burbank City Council for his failure to present “broad and varied” entertainment at the city-owned facility.

The council voted 3-2 to terminate Pinch’s contract following a four-hour hearing in which Pinch argued that he had done what the council had asked him to do--promote the Starlight and attempt to attract major entertainers to perform there.

Pinch, 35, said after the hearing that he intends to sue Burbank.

“I’m going to have to go to court,” he said. “Our attorney is going to explode all over them. There are so many points where they were so unfair.”

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Council members said last December that they wanted to fire Pinch. They said he did not provide enough shows that interested Burbank residents. They also complained about his failure to provide details to the city about a plan to bring in the high-powered Weintraub Entertainment Group as a partner.

City Atty. Douglas Holland said Pinch also was late in providing the city with a required letter of credit in the amount of $35,000 that would be applied toward his rental payment for the facility.

Holland added that Pinch failed to get an appropriate building permit to construct temporary audience seating at the facility.

However, in December the council did not fire Pinch, who said he wanted to plead his case.

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Council members Michael Hastings and Mary E. Kelsey voted against Pinch’s dismissal Tuesday. Hastings wanted the city to hire an independent consultant to evaluate the city’s case against Pinch.

Pinch is another in a long line of managers who unsuccessfully attempted to turn the Starlight into a theater that would feature popular entertainers.

The council earlier this month approved an agreement with World Entertainment Services to manage the Starlight. The Santa Monica-based firm said it would bring major acts to the theater.

But a coalition of angry residents who live near the Starlight said they did not want large crowds driving through their neighborhoods.

City officials are trying to renegotiate the agreement with World Entertainment to restrict the number of shows and the size of crowds.


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