In a follow up on its report about how Mayor Antonio Villaragosa has been scoring some seriously valuable Lakers playoff tickets without disclosing the source of the gifts, Fox 11 News reported that the giver is indeed Anschutz Entertainment Group, owner of Staples Center and LA Live and a major lobbyist for city favors.
The station reported late Thursday that Villaraigosa has received 13 Lakers tickets
so far this season, not to mention a separate allotment of a dozen Dodgers tix (correction: a mayoral spokeswoman tells the Weekly the tickets were received over a five-year period and include four opening-day games), and that at least some of the NBA tickets have come from AEG, which has high-power lobbyists working City Hall and which has received beneficial terms from the city, including land and loans, for Staples and LA Live. The tickets are said to be worth $2,000 to $3,000. [Added: AEG states that it did not give Villaraigosa any $2,000-$3,000 floor seats-- those could have come from other sources -- but it does not dispute that the mayor did receive some tickets from the company].
The mayor had said that when he's at the games in an official city capacity -- for example, to recognize an athlete with an official city certificate -- he does not have to disclose the value and source of the tickets as he would other gifts.
"This is a major loophole," Robert M. Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies told Fox 11. "It's important for the public to know where these gifts are coming from ... It's the people who want something from the city who are providing them gifts."
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Stern said the mayor should stop accepting the tickets.