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City Wants Illegal Supergraphic Companies to Pay Up

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In an attempt to get big bucks from companies who put up illegal supergraphics on the sides of buildings and near freeways, today the City Attorney's office moved forward with legal action against a group of 27 sign companies, property owners and individuals, alleging the parties are in violation of both the August 2009 ban on supergraphics and the California’s Outdoor Advertising Act, which regulates the proximity of signs near freeways. In addition to seeking fines of up to thousands of dollars for each day an illegal supergraphic or off-site sign was in place (in some cases, the $5,000 a day fees sought by the City Attorney's office are significantly higher than the $2,500 a day fine in place a year ago), the complaint "seeks disgorgement of all gross revenue generated by the erection of these signs, which could amount to millions of dollars." In other words, the city is going after all the revenue paid out over these signs. "That is significant," says Dennis Hathaway, founder of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, of the "disgorgement" clause.

As for the suit itself, which targets familiar names like World Wide Rush and Tropicana King Frank Rahban, Hathaway adds: "I don’t think [the City's Attorney's office] would have filed a lawsuit of this scope if they didn’t think they had some strong grounds to succeed. It shows the city attorney’s office is pretty serious on this." That said, will the sign companies fight back and sue? Probably! Meanwhile, if the money is indeed recouped by the city, it's not immediately clear where those funds go, but it sure seems the City Attorney's office is trying to tie in LA's budget crisis with this legal move since the press release notes the signs' gross revenues "could amount to millions of dollars in additional monetary relief for the City." You can download the complaint by going to this link. Image via the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight

Addresses mentioned in the suit:

6081 Center Drive
3415 South Sepulveda Boulevard
1606 South Cotner Avenue
3280 North Cahuenga Blvd
15301-15303 Ventura Blvd
4605 North Lankershim
1818 South Oak Street
5150 Wilshire Boulevard (Loopnet listing; ad notes "signage available")
10680 West Pico
7901 Melrose
165 North La Brea Avenue