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Injunction seeks to bar prolific ticket scalpers from L.A. venues

Injunction seeks to bar prolific ticket scalpers from L.A. venues
August 9, 2012, LA Times

Los Angeles’ most recognizable venues — including Dodger Stadium, L.A. Memorial Coliseum and Staples Center — may soon be off-limits to several high-volume ticket scalpers if city prosecutors win court approval for an injunction.

In seeking the injunction against 17 individuals Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, City Atty. Carmen Trutanich argued that scalpers intimidate and even endanger citizens, create traffic hazards and congestion, and divert scarce police resources.

“Defendants personally act as magnets for theft, robbery, and crimes of violence” at the venues,” the filing states. “Areas with high levels of illegal ticket sales have disproportionately high levels of theft, robbery, crimes of violence and narcotics sales and use.”

The 26-page court filing also cites scalpers’ “unfair competition” against legitimate ticket-selling vendors, causing an unequal distribution of tickets and contends that scalpers pocket hundreds or even thousands of untaxed dollars.

For the 17 people named in the injunction, a violation is punishable by six months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine for each offense.

Trutanich, who said he was victimized as a young man by a scalper who sold him a phony ticket to a Lakers game, said his intent was to put illegal ticket sellers “out of business.”

“This is consumer protection,” Trutanich said. “The days of taking advantage of unsuspecting people who are trying have fun with the family is over.”

Those named in the injunction include a convicted robber and a father-and-son team. They have been collectively arrested, cited or contacted by police nearly 100 times, according to city prosecutors. Several of those named were served with copies of the proposed injunction while illegally selling tickets outside Nokia Center and Dodger Stadium, officials said.

Those venues are part of three zones cited in the proposed stay-away order, which would require defendants to stay at least 100 yards outside of those areas.

At Dodger Stadium, for example, the named scalpers would not be allowed within an area bounded by Riverside Drive and the 5 Freeway, the 110 Freeway, Sunset Boulevard, Echo Park Avenue, Morton Avenue, Avon Street, Duane Street, Park Drive, Avon Park Terrace, Bard Street and Stadium Way.

Around Staples Center, Nokia and L.A. Live, which city prosecutors said has seen an explosion of scalping in recent years, the proposed stay-away zone is bounded by Pico Boulevard, Grand Avenue, the 110 Freeway and 8th Street.

A third zone bars the alleged prolific scalpers from the area around the Coliseum and Galen Centers. Those boundaries include the 110 Freeway, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Vermont Avenue and Exposition Boulevard.

In addition to those limits, the proposal stipulates that those named have no association with illegal ticket sellers or interfere with pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

Defendants may petition the court to modify the terms of the permanent injunction if the defendant signs a declaration that they were not arrested or charged with any crime in the last two years and are gainfully employed.

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