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Executives donate money for Lakers parade

Businessmen promise funds after criticism that city can't afford its share of $2-million celebration of NBA championship.

June 16, 2009|Sam Farmer and Sam Quinones

After a storm of protests opposing the use of public funds, two media executives and several other people stepped forward Monday to help the city pay for its share of Wednesday's parade celebrating the Lakers' 15th NBA championship.

Nearly half of the $900,000 the city needs to provide for police and traffic control has been donated by Casey and Laura Wasserman, Jerry and Margie Perenchio, and others, say sources close to the Lakers.

Casey Wasserman is the grandson of former Universal Pictures Chairman Lew Wasserman. Jerry Perenchio is former chairman of Univision Communications.

The Lakers and Anschutz Entertainment Group, which own Staples Center, have agreed to cover more than $1 million in parade production costs.

It's unclear where the remaining money will come from, but Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has scheduled a news conference for this afternoon with Police Chief William J. Bratton and Laker guard Derek Fisher to discuss the financing.

Villaraigosa initially promised that the city would foot half of the parade's $2-million cost, which includes renting the Coliseum.

However, that idea was greeted with a Bronx cheer Monday.

Local radio talk shows were flooded with callers saying that a recession was no time to use city money for the parade, scheduled to start at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Staples Center.

The Los Angeles Police Protective League urged the Lakers to pick up the entire cost.

Given imminent city layoffs and budget cuts, police union President Paul M. Weber said in a statement posted on the group's website, "It is foolish for elected officials to favor spending $1 million tax dollars on a three-hour parade."

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sam.farmer@latimes.com

sam.quinones@latimes.com

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