Stadium Planners Assembling Legal Team for Dealings

LAW
by Amanda Bronstad

The team that announced plans earlier this month for a new football stadium downtown has retained three local attorneys to begin researching the feasibility of the project.

Anschutz Entertainment Group Inc. retained Gregory Thorpe at O'Melveny & Myers LLP and Chris Funk and Steven Weston at L.A.-based Weston Benshoof Rochefort Rubalcava MacCuish LLP for work related to the stadium.

"It's all part of our due diligence to determine if it's financially feasible for us to move forward," said Michael Roth, an AEG spokesman.

O'Melveny will handle negotiations with the city, while Weston Benshoof will deal with permitting and land use matters. Stadium planners have also retained Joe Leccese in the New York office of Proskauer Rose LLP to handle negotiations with the National Football League, he said.

More lawyers are likely to be retained as work progresses, Roth said.

Anschutz, in partnership with Ron Burkle, managing partner of Yucaipa Cos., Ed Roski, chairman and chief executive of Majestic Realty Co., and Casey Wasserman, owner of the Los Angeles Avengers Arena football team, have proposed building a $450 million football stadium on 20 acres downtown.

Plans have met with some resistance from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which voted this month to sue the city for proposing a 879-acre redevelopment plan, including the site of the proposed football stadium, it claims would reduce tax revenue to the county.

Fraud Fee

A federal judge in Oregon has ordered O'Melveny & Myers, along with several other financial services and law firms, to pay $109 million in fees related to one of the largest investment fraud cases in the state's history.

As part of the settlement, O'Melveny & Myers agreed to pay $8 million to the trustees of various pension and welfare funds that lost $500 million in investments through Portland, Ore.-based investment management firm Capital Consultants LLC.

Capital Consultants' principals had loaned funds to Wilshire Financial Services Group Inc., a Portland-based conglomerate that owns Wilshire Credit Corp. and First Bank of Beverly Hills. Wilshire failed to repay the loans, and in 2000 the Department of Labor and the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Capital Consultants.

O'Melveny handled Capital Consultant's issues relating to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

After nine months of mediation, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Senior Judge Edward Leavy drafted the settlement, which must be approved by the U.S. District Court in Oregon.

James Colbert, partner at O'Melveny & Myers, confirmed the $8 million figure in the settlement in a voicemail message. He could not be reached for further comment, and calls to O'Melveny's press office were not returned.



Staff reporter Amanda Bronstad can be reached at (323) 549-5225 ext. 225, or at abronstad@labusinessjournal.com.

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