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Mo Money, Mo Problems for Downtown's El Pueblo

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The City Controller's office released an audit of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument last week, and the results are conclusive: The tourist site at the nucleus of Los Angeles isn't so great with money. According to the Downtown News, El Pueblo, which operates as a city department, holds 55-year leases for 17 tenants, but only has concession agreements with 57 more. El Pueblo is charging all of them well below market rate for the space and undercharging for maintenance fees--and that's just the renters they know about. The report says that 19,000 square feet are being used by nonprofit groups who pay no rent at all, and many business owners are unauthorized, having bought their concession agreements from former tenants. All the mismanagement cost the city $921,000 in subsidies for fiscal year 2007-08. The El Pueblo Board of Commissioners seem to mostly be taking the audit in stride. Only one, David Louie, who has been pushing for the site to raise rents, told the Los Angeles Downtown News he had read the report. President Herbert Siguenza told the paper, "We know about the leases that were not up to market value, we’re working on them along with our general manager, along with the council member, along with the city, so ultimately it’s going to be their decision what those fees are." The report follows earlier calls for El Pueblo to get its financial act together. [Via sandi.sandi.sandi]
· Audit Blasts El Pueblo [Los Angeles Downtown News]
· Reality Check for Olvera Street [Curbed LA]