Live Nation execs' $18,000 donation to Trutanich campaign a conflict?
Executives of Live Nation Entertainment Inc. contributed $18,000 to Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich, who is seeking a court order against ticket scalpers.
Live Nation's Ticketmaster service is the authorized ticket seller for Staples, the Coliseum and Dodger Stadium and would benefit from a civil injunction that would ban prolific scalpers from hawking their wares near high-profile venues.
The donations could create an appearance of a conflict of interest for Trutanich, said Bob Stern, former president of the defunct watchdog group Center for Governmental Studies.
"The appearance looks like he is catering to campaign contributors," Stern said. "But it happens a lot. Campaign contributors give to people who are their friends. Live Nation has a very strong interest in what they are doing, so I am sure they are applauding" the requested injunction.
Trutanich's campaign officials adamantly denied a link between the contributions and the civil court action.
William Carter, chief deputy in the city attorney's office, said he was unaware of the contributions from Live Nation executives and their families.
"We don't file cases based on who contributes money or not," Carter said. "We file them based on the case and the law. There are no other considerations."
Trutanich's request, filed Aug. 6 in Los Angeles County Superior Court and pending approval from a judge, seeks to prevent resellers from plying their trade within 100 yards of the venues. The motion lists 17 people who it alleges are "frequently engaging in ticket scalping," and seeks to apply the same rules to future violators.
According to the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, Trutanich received $15,000 in 2009 and 2010 from 13 Live Nation executives, including Executive Chairman Irving Azoff, Chief Executive Michael Rapino, general counsel Michael Rowles, Chief Financial Officer Kathy Willard, and Ticketmaster Chief Executive Nathan Hubbard. Azoff's wife, Rochelle, also donated $3,000 in 2009 and 2010.
-- Alex Pham and Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich speaks during a news conference in July. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press