In the latest turn in the saga over who will run the Greek Theatre, L.A. City Atty. Mike Feuer cautioned city lawmakers that they lack the power to immediately overturn a city commission's selection of an operator for the venue.
In a confidential letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, Feuer advised the City Council that it could reject a contract with an operator after it is negotiated and approved by the city parks commission.
But a council vote scheduled for Wednesday on the commission's recommended selection of Live Nation will only be advisory, Feuer wrote in a letter to lawmakers on Monday.
"Whatever action the council decides to take, it will be viewed as a non-binding recommendation and [the parks department] will retain the right to award the contract to its preferred proposer," he said.
Feuer also argued that taking action to "overturn" the commission's choice of Live Nation would probably be seen as a violation of city contracting rules and prompt a lawsuit against the city.
Feuer declined to comment Tuesday. The letter was also sent to Mayor Eric Garcetti and other top city officials.
Entertainment titans have battled for months over the Greek contract, which generated roughly $27 million in gross revenue last year. For decades, the Griffith Park venue has been operated by the Nederlander Organization, which recently teamed up with Anschutz Entertainment Group to bid on the new agreement.
Last year, the parks department recommended turning over the Greek to a new operator, Live Nation, after a panel arranged by an outside consultant unanimously recommended its proposal. The city parks commission, whose members are appointed by Garcetti, also recommended Live Nation.
But last month a City Council committee disagreed, voting 4 to 1 against the recommendation to choose Live Nation. Councilman Tom LaBonge and other lawmakers stressed the trust Nederlander had in the neighboring community.
The full council is scheduled to vote on the recommendation to choose Live Nation on Wednesday, after which the matter returns to the parks commission.
Live Nation declined to comment on the letter. However, its attorneys argued in a letter to Feuer that the committee vote against Live Nation was arbitrary and illegal. They also argued it was inappropriate for the council to weigh in before the terms of the contract have been negotiated.
Nederlander-AEG said the council has the authority to ask the parks department to reconsider. "To imply that the city council cannot answer the question posed of it by the [parks commission] would be absurd," one Nederlander-AEG attorney, Tim McOsker, said in a statement Tuesday.