Friday, April 15, 2011
City Attorney Files Suit Over ‘Supergraphic’ Advertisements
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Los Angeles city attorney’s office yesterday announced that it has filed a civil enforcement action against Van Wagner Communications LLC and 19 property owners for erecting and maintaining a series of illegal advertising signs at 17 locations across the city.
All signs have since been removed, according to a spokesperson for the city attorney’s office.
Prosecutors allege that since at least 2002, several large-scale signs, known as supergraphics, were erected and maintained without required permits, approvals and inspections, and constituted a public nuisance in violation of the California Outdoor Advertising Act and the City’s Zoning and Building Codes.
One of the specific locations identified in the lawsuit is a parking structure at 240 West Venice Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. Van Wagner displayed supergraphic signs on three sides of the structure, including advertisements for “Pepsi,” “Gatorade” and “Chase” bank, among others. Each of the signs is said to have exceeded 25 feet in height, 60 feet in length and 1,200 square feet in total area.
In December 2009, the supergraphic sign on the west wall of the structure tore loose and fell, creating a potential hazard for pedestrians or motorists, according to the complaint.
Van Wagner allegedly did not have permits for any of the signs and ignored written notices from the Los Angeles Fire Department and Caltrans ordering Van Wagner and the property owners to remove the signs.
Van Wagner and the other defendants face penalties of up to $5,000 per location for each day an illegal supergraphic sign was in place. In addition, for unpermitted signs facing freeways, the defendants face exposure of $10,000 per sign, an additional $100 per sign per day and disgorgement of gross revenue derived from the signs , which could be in the millions of dollars, the spokesperson said.
The action was filed by Chief Assistant City Attorney Jeffrey Isaacs and Deputy City Attorney Felton Newell.
Copyright 2011, Metropolitan News Company