Earl “Skip” Cooper, president of the Black Business Association, is high on the Anschutz Entertainment Group and, ipso facto, Timothy J. Leiweke, its president and CEO.
That’s one reason why the BBA is presenting its President’s Award to AEG on Thursday at its 37th Annual Awards Dinner at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at the California Plaza in downtown Los Angeles. California Public Utilities Commission’s Timothy A. Simon is the keynote speaker and will receive the Chairman’s Award. Wells Fargo Bank & Co. will receive the Majority Corporation Award, the Johnson Products Co. will receive Business of the Year Award and Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D., OurWeekly columnist and managing director of the Urban Issues Forum will receive the Community Advocate Award.
“I feel the city of Los Angeles owes a debt of gratitude to AEG and the leadership of Tim Leiweke for what they have created for the city and downtown Los Angeles,” said Cooper. “They have injected a new lifeblood and vitality that is growing throughout the city. Those things go far beyond what’s on the surface.”
Years down the road, Cooper believes, others will consider the enormity of AEG’s vision and be amazed. He further credits AEG for bringing the city “hundreds of millions of dollars in jobs,” which is no mean feat in economic hard times.
So it’s no secret that the BBA is fully behind the Farmers Field proposal that AEG has made to the city to draw in a National League Football team. AEG’s plan calls for the city to issue $350 million in bonds to pay for the creation of the new replacement hall for the existing and outdated West Hall, which would be rebuilt in another section. The bond would be paid back by new taxes created by Farmers Field. The company also pledges that it would guarante the payment of any shortfall in tax funds, resulting in no cost to the taxpayers of Los Angeles.
For those who have not visited it, L.A. Live is the 4-million-square-foot sports and entertainment district adjacent to the Staples Center. The district, which encompasses six blocks, features the 7,100-seat, state-of-the-art Nokia Theatre Los Angeles, Club Nokia, the ESPN West Coast broadcast center headquarters, office space, restaurants, a cinema and other downtown amenities.
But in the midst of it all stands the imposing 1,100-room, 56-story convention JW Marriott-Ritz Carlton hotel.