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AEG Extends an ‘Olive Branch’ to Harold & Belle’s
By Yussuf Simmonds (Managing Editor)
Published July 17, 2008

The two parties have met and they seem to be on the road to a mutual agreement

In an effort to find an amicable solution and create a win-win situation, AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group), the sports and entertainment giant met with Harold & Belle’s to iron out their differences and resolve, what the community had called, a gross misunderstanding.   Along with attorney Rickey Ivie, managing partner of Ivie, Mc Neill & Wyatt and legal counsel for Harold & Belle’s, were Al Honore, co-owner and vice president of Harold & Belle’s, Ted Tanner, executive vice president of AEG in charge of the L.A. Live development, Kevin McDowell, vice president of administration for L.A. Live and the leasing director, Lisa Herzlich.  The meeting may have been triggered as a result of an article written by the Sentinel on July 3, entitled “AEG Shuns Harold & Belle’s.”

Ivie, was very specific when he said what prompted the meeting was the Sentinel article. “In response to the Sentinel article and the community reaction,” Ivie said, “AEG had extended a substantial olive branch to Harold & Belle’s.  In a demonstration of corporate good will and in recognition of the community response, AEG and Harold & Belle’s have opened a dialogue in order to resolve Harold & Belle’s exclusion,” he continued.

There were a number of calls to AEG from elected officials and community organizations following the article.

“To its credit,” Ivie added, “AEG has responded and in our conversation, we’ve had very productive talks about how Harold & Belle’s could still be made a part of the AEG Restaurant Group and we are hopeful for a positive resolution.”

Honore, the man at the center of the storm sounded satisfied thus far with the meeting.  He said, “It seems like they (AEG) wants to resolve the matter in a reasonable way, and they are willing to negotiate with us and provide assistance in a manner that will resolve the situation.”   His tone was very optimistic when he added, “There’ll be ongoing meetings … the process is ongoing.”

Gene Hale, president of G & C Equipment Corp. and chairman of the Greater Los Angeles African-American Chamber of Commerce (GLAAACC) was very complimentary about AEG.  “If it can be worked out, AEG is going to work it out with Harold & Belle’s,” Hale said.  “Those are some wonderful people (at AEG); something must have gone wrong somewhere because once AEG gives their word, it’s good to go.  I have never known them to backtrack on a deal at all.”

The Sentinel then called AEG to get their position on the matter and Michael Roth, the vice president of communications, returned the call.  “We’ve kept a dialogue going with the ownership of the restaurant,” Roth said. “We’ve had a very productive meeting and are moving forward to try to locate some appropriate properties nearby or adjacent to L.A. Live that will be suitable for a location.”

So it appears that though Harold & Belle’s would not get the space that was initially shown to them, AEG is now “bending over backwards” to find another equally attractive location for the restaurant.


Categories: Local

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