Judge Backs CRA on Ebony Showcase Theater

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A Superior Court judge sided with the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency on Wednesday in a skirmish over the contents of the boarded-up Ebony Showcase Theater, which served as an important forum for African American actors.

Charging that the CRA is about to discard important memorabilia from the Mid-City theater on Washington Boulevard, Ebony’s founder and former owner, Nick Stewart, sought a restraining order from the court. In a hearing, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Irving S. Feffer denied the request.

Attorney Joseph S. Avila, who represents the CRA, said the Stewart family has been given weeks to remove personal property but failed to.


“I have toured all of the premises with the engineer and the architects and the appraisers. And we could find nothing of artistic memorabilia that is being claimed by Stewart,” Avila said. “What we have found is debris, broken fixtures and equipment--totally destroyed premises.”

Stewart and his wife, Edna, lost the theater in foreclosure proceedings several years ago and were later evicted when they fell behind in rent. The CRA, which intends to restore the theater for use by the city Cultural Affairs Department and community groups, is in the midst of eminent domain proceedings to gain title to the property.