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Accused of Exceeding Noise Limits : City to Prosecute Operators of the Greek

February 27, 1986|SAM ENRIQUEZ | Times Staff Writer

The Los Angeles city attorney's office announced Wednesday that it plans to file charges against the operators of the Greek Theatre for violating city noise laws during three rock concerts last year.

Deputy City Atty. Keith Pritsker said misdemeanor charges probably will be filed within a week against Nederlander Corp., which operates the city-owned amphitheater in Griffith Park, for violations recorded by the Los Angeles Police Department's noise enforcement team.

The alleged violations occurred during two August concerts by rock singer Sting and an October concert by British rocker Adam Ant.

The noise readings, taken from streets and homes in the wealthy Los Feliz area near the 6,000-seat Greek Theatre, were part of a police investigation last year that was prompted by neighbors' complaints about loud music, traffic and rowdy fans. Residents say their complaints about the Greek have fallen on deaf ears since they first notified city officials of the problem in the late 1970s.

The city attorney's office had asked the county district attorney's office handle the charges last fall because of a possible conflict of interest. The City of Los Angeles owns the Greek and receives a percentage of revenues from performances and concessions there.

But Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Gilbert Garcetti said last week that his office would not handle the case.

"We simply reviewed whether or not there was a basis for a conflict of interest and we determined that there was no basis," Garcetti said.

Garcetti said a similar request by the city was turned down by the district attorney's office eight or nine years ago. "The city has been trying to get rid of this case for a long time," he said.

Los Feliz resident Barney Feldman, who filed his first police complaint about Greek Theatre noise in 1977, collected more than 100 complaints from neighbors last fall. He said residents will protest the city's handling of the charges because of "the extreme conflict of interest."

"The city is a partner in the operation, and it has turned the Greek from a cultural institution to a profit-making operation knowing full well that the park is not even zoned for that," Feldman said.

Feldman contends that officials have been reluctant to prosecute Nederlander because it and affiliated companies have been major contributors to the political campaigns of Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner and others.

Reiner spokesman Schuyler Sprowles denied the charge Wednesday.

"That has never been an issue," Sprowles said. "There have instances where individuals have been prosecuted who have contributed to Reiner's campaign in the past."

Pritsker said the arrangement between the city and Nederlander will have no effect on how the case is prosecuted.

"This office will not handle this any differently than any other case," Pritsker said. "There is no actual conflict of interest. We were just trying to avoid the appearance of an impropriety."

In a police report last fall, investigators concluded that the Greek Theatre is likely to be in violation of one or more Los Angeles city noise laws any night that a concert is held.

Noise team investigator Sgt. D. B. Watson said in his report at the conclusion of the Greek's 1985 season in November: "There is no reason to believe that these same violations won't occur again in 1986."

Theater manager Susan Rosenbluth could not be reached for comment.

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