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L.A. Sues Time Warner for Shortchanging the City of Franchise Fees

The cable company deprived the city by not turning over the funds in 2011, "precisely when we needed it the most," says City Attorney Mike Feuer.

City Attorney Mike Feuer announced he was suing Time Warner today.
City Attorney Mike Feuer announced he was suing Time Warner today.

Originally posted at 12:50 p.m. March 14, 2014. Updated with new information.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced a federal lawsuit today against cable provider Time Warner, alleging the company owes the city almost $10 million in franchise fees for the years 2008-11.

Time Warner, which makes billions of dollars in the Los Angeles market, is "stiffing" the city by not turning over the funds in 2011, "precisely when we needed it the most, when we were confronting the peak of the recession," Feuer said.

The fees would have funded police officers and sidewalk repairs, he said.

Time Warner officials denied any wrongdoing.

"As a major job creator, tax contributor and service provider in the city of Los Angeles, Time Warner Cable is an active and responsible corporate citizen in the city of Los Angeles," according to a company statement. "We are disappointed the city has chosen to bring this action, which we strongly believe is without merit. It will now be resolved through the legal process."

According to the city attorney's office, Time Warner is required to pay the city a franchise fee to install cable wires and boxes under city streets, on telephone poles and elsewhere in the "public-right-of-way."

The cable provider was also required until 2009 to pay a fee toward providing public, governmental and education television programming, including allowing the public use of its studios, Feuer said.

Time Warner has refused to pay $9.7 million in franchise and other fees owed from 2008 until 2011, despite attempts to resolve the dispute "amicably," Feuer said.

"We're filing litigation not as a first resort, but as a last resort," he said.

--City News Service


Greg Kutsch March 15, 2014 at 02:33 PM
i'll bet that 10 million won't go too far

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