LOS ANGELES (AP) — The development company that is moving quickly on a plan to build a stadium that could host a Southern California NFL team has given more than $118,000 in campaign contributions to officials in the city where it would be located.
Campaign finance forms show the bulk of the money went to Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr., a major supporter of the stadium plan, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday (http://lat.ms/1ziNcDW ).
San Francisco-based Hollywood Park Land Co. is developing the proposed 80,000-seat stadium on the site of the former Hollywood Park horse racing track. St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has been a partner in the company since last year.
The contributions came during four different campaigns starting in 2006, well before the recent stadium proposal, though the group has long planned a retail and residential development on the site. The rest of the donations went to a pair of city councilmen.
The plan has been moving quickly since it was proposed in January.
On Thursday, election officials verified that enough petition signatures had been gathered for the stadium plan to go before voters. The vote has not scheduled but could come this month. It would allow the developers to avoid potentially thorny environmental reviews that could extend for months or years.
Butts said the contributions have not influenced the speed of the project.
"Won't it be unusual if somebody who had so many projects in a community, that they won't want to exercise their free speech to try and ensure that people are in government that have good governing sense and business skills?" Butts told the Times. "I would find that unusual if they didn't."
Chris Meany, who is part of the development project, said, "It's normal and customary for big property owners to be supportive of the city."
Meanwhile, the San Diego Chargers on Monday issued a stern warning to their own City Hall as they look to replace their aging Qualcomm Stadium.
Attorney Mark Fabiani, who's handling the team's stadium push, said there might not be a publicly acceptable solution to replace aging Qualcomm, and the team is keeping "a close eye on developments in LA."
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/