Century Glen argues that the $3.1 million Westfield paid to halt protests over parking fees at the Century City mall was given to the wrong organization.
There’s been a lot of hoopla and excitement surrounding the almost one billion dollar renovations and reopening of Westfield’s Century City Mall lately, as the company has started to unveil some of its new landscaping and stores.
However, there’s also been an ugly fight playing out behind the scenes regarding what some critics have called “hush money;” funds paid by Westfield that allowed it to eliminate free parking at the Century City mall.
Back in 2012, Westfield Century City wanted to end three hour free parking with validation at the mall but the LA Weekly reports, in order to do so it required approval from both the City and the Westside Homeowners Association opposed to Westfield’s plans, called Tract 7260 (Today the group is called Century Glen.)
Westfield came to an agreement with Tract 7260’s then-President Mike Eveloff. In exchange for $3.1 million to be paid to a nonprofit organization of its choice, Tract 7260 would not fight the new parking regulations.
Tract 7260’s board earmarked the funds for Fix the City, a nonprofit that focuses on citywide issues. Fix the City was started in 2007 by three people, one of whom was Everloff.
Everloff resigned from Tract 7260 in 2013, and in 2015 Tract 7260’s new board sued both Fix the City and Everloff, claiming the funds should have gone to Tract 7260 and not Everloff’s non-profit.
The lawsuit is still ongoing, and in the meantime, Fix the City has filed its own lawsuit against Century Glen’s board, accusing it of mismanaging funds.
Companies willing to pay out money to local organizations that would otherwise stymie their development plans are nothing new in the city. However, as the Weekly notes, the fallout from this particular deal with Westfield was something that CD 5 candidate Jesse Creed tried to address.
Creed was unsuccessful in his bid to unseat incumbent Paul Koretz in the March election, but at the time, he issued a statement that read, “Some of the developer hush money does go to worthy causes, including police, firefighters, parks and local schools. Who decides what is given and to whom? No public elections or official appointments occur. No public meetings are held. The gifts may be good. They may be bad. Nobody knows – except them.”
Meanwhile, the litigation between Century Glen and Fix the City continues.