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L.A. City Council terminates lease for Latino Theater Company

January 20, 2012 |  2:53 pm


The Los Angeles City Council voted this week to terminate the lease for the Latino Theater Company and the Latino Museum of History, Art and Culture at the downtown L.A. Theatre Center. The city owns the LATC, which is located on Spring Street, and has been leasing the premises to the two companies since 2006.

Both companies were given 45 days before they face eviction, according to council documents.

The council was able to terminate the agreement early on the grounds that the “quality or quantity of services” that the tenants offer fails to meet the expectations of the city, according to documents.

Councilmember Tony Cardenas presented the motion for termination at a council meeting. A representative in Cardenas' office said Friday that the theater company and museum failed to meet a number of fiscal, programmatic and maintenance goals set out in the their agreement with the city.

Under the terms of the lease, which was awarded in 2006 and was to run for 20 years, the Latino Theater Company was designated as co-manager of the Latino Museum.

Jose Luis Valenzuela, artistic director of the Latino Theater Company, said in a phone interview Friday that his company had not yet received an official notice from the city regarding the council's action, but he expected to do so shortly.

“Right now we are just waiting for the notice to see what the terminology is, to see what we have to do to remedy the situation,” said Valenzuela, who is a professor of theater at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television.

In recent years, the theater company and the museum have been engaged in a court battle involving lease payments.

Officials with the Latino Museum did not respond to messages requesting comment. The museum occupies the fifth-floor office space of LATC, plus half the lobby-floor area and a downstairs gallery.


Latino Theater Company's 'Virgen' may not play at L.A. cathedral

Theater review: 'Hope: Part II of a Mexican Trilogy' at LATC

-- David Ng and Reed Johnson

Photo: A 2011 production of "Solitude" by the Latino Theater Company. Credit: Radar L.A.