City Council Questions Port Director On $200K Party Exposed By CBS2 News

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The director of the Port of L.A. Tuesday had to explain to the L.A. City Council why she spent nearly $200,000 to wine and dine people at a lavish party, which was exposed by a CBS2 News investigation.

Because of our investigation, L.A. Port Director Geraldine Knatz was called before a City Council committee.

They were responding to videotape we obtained of the port throwing a nearly $200,000 party in South Korea, complete with dancers flown in from L.A.

It happened earlier this year at a ports and harbors convention.

The port threw the party to try to entice people to come to the next convention, which is in L.A. in 2013, and they spared no expense.

City Councilman Dennis Zine wanted to know why.

“In the real world people are saying that’s an exorbitant amount of money when people are camping out at city hall and don’t have a place to live — that’s the reality of the times we live in,” Councilman Zine said.

During our investigation Knatz was quick to point out to me that I had it all wrong.

“It was not a party. It was a professional promotional event,” she said.

“It was a party,” I responded.

“It was a professional promotional event,” she said.

But she never corrected the councilpersons, who called it like they saw it.

“The fact is it’s an expensive party.”

“To the general public when we’re millions of dollars short each year and laying people off and cutting services, $200,000 for a party is just a pretty party.”

While Knatz did not dispute the description, she did defend the costs.

“We felt comfortable. It’s a reasonable amount for the type of event and number of people that attended. It wasn’t excessive,” she said.

Knatz said the city will make the money back or even more when the convention comes to L.A. in two years. Councilpersons said she should come back then and prove it.

But Councilman Zine told me he thinks he put the port on notice — stop spending excessive money and stop the partying.

» RELATED: Port Of LA Spends Nearly $200K On Party

More from David Goldstein
  • Whisky…Tango… Foxtrot

    This is why we do not trust the Government with our tax money, they just don’t care. And yet the idiots in the “Occupy Wall Street” crowed are too stupid to understand that it is the Governments fault for where our economy is not big business. The Occupy Wall Street crowed are just mindless sheep for the Left.

  • Angry California TAX Payer

    It’s fair to say that Geraldine Knatz is way too over paid and would not last a minute in cooperate America making stupid decisions like this. But why should she care, it’s not her money.

    • Angry California TAX Payer

      I mean corporate America. (I really am very angry)

      • UCLAgrad

        Stop being angry and educate yourself. Your tax money doesn’t support the Port of Los Angeles’ expenditures. The Port of Los Angeles is self supporting through the tariffs they collect from ships who enter, exit and dock at the harbor. It’s called trade, and those involved in trade collect fees. Tax dollars do not contribute to this. Based on the Port’s income, Knatz is paid fairly. She is over the entire port and the port’s ability to remain competitive factors into our economy domestically and locally. Jobs are created anytime a port is doing well and expanding. Tax dollars have absolutely nothing to do with this and have never been a contributing factor to a port’s overall impact on the economy. Trade agreements. That’s the term you need to know. Believe me, you want the Port of Los Angeles wine and dine Korea, China, and whoever else they can….as their business means expansion on our land and jobs.

  • Jose Rodriguez

    Get used to it people, a lot of tax money is going into our welfare too. I thought we are all human just like you, we have human right too right? I am gonna give you IOU and you shut up.

  • tom s.

    Uc lamer: The port is a govt entity not a private corporation thereby any money they collect is govt money not private enterprise.
    You don’t need to sell the chinese on bringing their crud to LA, if they want to sell to the millions who live in this valley they will dock there and not SF.

    • Denis

      good point. Once the money gets to the port is OUR MONEY therefore the port has to answer how they spend it.

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