Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti is involved in a drilling agreement with the company that runs the oil rig at Beverly Hills High School, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
Garcetti and several relatives signed a 20-year lease with Denver-based Venoco Inc. in 1998 that granted the company the subsurface drilling rights to a nearby Beverly Hills retail property that the councilman co-owns. The lease allows Venoco to extract oil and gas underneath the Wilshire Boulevard property via slant drilling from the high school which is about half a mile away.
According to the Times:
Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman said the candidate “has no memory” of signing the lease. In response to Times queries, Millman said, Garcetti looked into the agreement and found that he earns just $1.25 from it per year.
“It’s not really an issue,” Millman said.
But Garcetti and several of his relatives who co-own the Wilshire property could collect royalties if Venoco began producing oil or gas from the parcel. Otherwise, they are paid nominal rental fees.
Millman said Garcetti would donate any royalties to the Sierra Club.
Because the amount of money he has received to date is so small, Garcetti apparently has not been required to list the lease or the fees on his annual financial disclosure forms. It is unclear whether Garcetti has followed state and city disclosure rules for his ownership interest in the property.
In 2011 the Beverly Hills City Council enacted an anti-drilling ordinance that could halt Venoco's operations at the high school when its lease expires at the end of 2016.
Click here to read the entire Times article.