Time Warner Cable Inc. has stirred anger over its hike in subscription rates for customers and its efforts to extract hefty fees from rivals to air the L.A. Dodgers channel.
Now it has incurred the wrath of city officials.
On Friday, the city of Los Angeles sued the cable giant, alleging it stiffed the city on franchise fees over four years through 2011. The city seeks nearly $10 million in fees, money it said could have helped ease its budget problems during the financial crisis.
“Time Warner owes L.A.’s taxpayers millions of dollars for the privilege of having its franchise,” City Attorney Michael Feuer said during a City Hall news conference announcing the lawsuit. “This is a day where we are standing up and saying enough is enough.”
The 24-page lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, contends that Time Warner Cable “blatantly refused to live up to its obligations to the city” to pay franchise fees to operate its cable network over city-owned rights of way while collecting more than $500 million a year from customers in the city.
Feuer said the city has been negotiating with Time Warner Cable for several years.
“The negotiations haven’t been fruitful and we have to do something about that,” Feuer said. “Time Warner pocketed the money from its subscribers and then did not turn it over to the city of Los Angeles.”
The city contends that Time Warner Cable owes $9.7 million in fees, money that Feuer said could have been used to hire 100 police officers and make sidewalk repairs.
Time Warner Cable, in a statement, denied the allegation that it had cheated the city.
SOURCE: Meg James
The Los Angeles Times