LB QM Long Way From Returning To UK, City Hall Indicates
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(March 20, 2006) -- Following-up on a report published in The Observer, a British daily newspaper, indicating efforts by some in the UK to bring the Queen Mary back to England, LBReport.com spoke with LB Deputy City Attorney J. Charles Parkin seeking context.
In a quick overview, Mr. Parkin indicated that a scenario in which City Hall might consider selling the ship (possibly sending it England or elsewhere) is effectively quite remote. Among other things, the city has a current tenant (QSDI) under lease and although the tenant might change as a result of now-pending QSDI bankruptcy proceedings, the lease itself currently has over 50 years to run.
If under some scenario City Hall somehow reacquired the ship free of the lease, any future decision by the City to sell the ship would require City Council approval...and that wouldn't come about until several pending court proceedings (including the bankruptcy) are resolved.
The mere suggestion of the QM's possible departure stirred strong feelings. "That's terrible, awful. I hope it never happens," emailed a downtown area resident. Another emailed, "How typical. Another piece of Long Beach may go down the tubes."
Later, an email came flying from an El Dorado Park area resident:
The city should sell that thing to the first person who will move it out of here...IMO it was always a poorly thought-out kneejerk reaction to Beatlemania and the British invasion.
There was never any historical purpose for it being here in Long Beach. Better we should have a Missouri class battleship to celebrate our past connection with the Navy or build a terminal for an off-shore airport similar to the one in Hong Kong, then you'd have something. From plane to your cruise ship.
City Hall contends it is owed roughly $5 million in back rent from QSDI (City Hall's lessee/QM operator), and QSDI says it owes no rent under its lease which allows for certain rent credits. City Hall permitted the QSDI rent to go unpaid for a considerable period...until LB taxpayer Traci Wilson-Kleekamp uncovered the rent/rent credit issue through a Public Records Act request.
After the matter became public, City Hall belatedly sought the back rent, prompting QSDI to seek bankruptcy protection.
As previously reported by LBReport.com, LB's current budget continues to book as "receivable" (to City Hall's tidelands fund) the back rent it says QSDI owes...and QSDI in bankruptcy denies owing. City Hall currently relies on the "receivable" amount to produce a nominally balanced budget.
The bankruptcy proceeding continues with other firms also vying to operate the ship.
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