The Greek Theatre management company's no-contest plea this week to two misdemeanor counts of noise violations is being hailed as a victory by Los Feliz residents who have complained for nearly a decade about noise from the Griffith Park amphitheater.
"We're satisfied to the extent that there was a complaint filed and they admitted that they're guilty," said Barney Feldman, a real estate broker who lives less than half a mile from the Greek and led the anti-noise campaign.
Feldman said he had hoped that the Greek management would be found guilty in a trial on all eight charges it faced, but he said the no-contest plea on two counts vindicates neighborhood complaints.
In return for the plea by the managing firm, Nederlander of California, six other noise violation charges were dismissed, said Deputy City Atty. Keith Pritsker. Charges against Greek Theatre manager Susan Rosenbluth, who faced the same counts, were also dropped.
Nederlander paid the maximum fine of $3,400 immediately, Pritsker said.
Nederlander and the city agreed on the plea bargain Monday, just two days before the matter was scheduled for a Municipal Court trial. The city of Los Angeles owns the theater and receives a share of its profits.
The plea bargain was struck because Nederlander wanted to avoid the publicity of a trial and the management has taken steps to monitor and control noise from concerts, Pritsker said.
"They have been cooperative," he said, citing meetings between management and police, and the recent hiring of a sound engineer to help control noise.
Feldman this week acknowledged that, for the first summer in years, excessive noise from concerts has not been a problem.
Rosenbluth and theater spokeswoman Laura Gold declined to comment, referring all questions to the company's lawyer. The lawyer could not be reached for comment.
Since the late 1970s, neighbors have alleged that noise from open-air concerts at the Greek exceeded city standards. Most of those complaints went unanswered, Feldman said, until last year, when the Los Angeles Police Department recorded excessive noise from rock concerts by Sting and Adam Ant.
The police complaint was filed with the city attorney's office, which shifted it to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office because of the possibility of conflict of interest with the city's ownership.
The district attorney, however, sent the complaint back, saying there was no impropriety in the city prosecuting its own concessionaire.