Sunset Junction Street Fair organizers have filed a $500,000 discrimination claim against the City of Los Angeles, alleging losses in revenue and reputation after police forced them to end a Labor Day weekend fund-raising concert a day early.
"Basically, they were discriminated against . . . because they are gay and lesbian people," their attorney, Samuel R. Paz, said Tuesday. "It was a feeling that they were not being treated as any other fund-raising group."
The Sunset Junction Festival concert on Labor Day was to have raised money for the annual Sunset Junction Street Fair in Silver Lake, started nine years ago to promote understanding between homosexuals and Latinos in the area.
But leaders of the predominantly gay organization that sponsors the fair, Sunset Junction Neighborhood Alliance, said they instead lost about $50,000 after the concert ended early.
"Above that, there was a tremendous loss of reputation to the organization," Paz said.
Organizers closed the Sunset Junction Festival a day early after Los Angeles police confiscated sound equipment at the close of the festival's second day.
Authorities said they received hundreds of noise complaints from neighbors.
John Brown, co-chairman of the sponsoring group, said last week that organizers complied with repeated police requests to turn down the music. Organizers had city permits, Paz said.
But Capt. Bob Taylor, commander of the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood Division, said the event was violating the city noise ordinance.
"Regardless of whether they turned it down or not, they did not turn it down enough," Taylor said.
Paz said he filed a separate $50,000 claim on behalf of Brown, who was arrested by a citizen on suspicion of violating the noise ordinance.