Taxpayer Money Used To Maintain Million-Dollar Yacht

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — With the city going broke you may be surprised to find out that Los Angeles is the proud owner of a million dollar yacht and it is about to undergo hundreds of thousands of dollars in renovations at taxpayer expense.

As the head of the Port of Los Angeles raced down the hall, they tried to block our camera and dodged our questions, not wanting to talk about a yacht owned by the port, which is a city agency.

But the mayor said that it is not what we think.

“It’s not a yacht. It’s a boat,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.

But whatever you call it, the Angelena II is 73 feet long and worth about a million bucks — according to a boat broker we contacted — and it is all your money.

The port bought it in 1988. It is used for public relations tours of the harbor, which run about two hours long. They are free of charge for just about any group, like one we observed for students of Banning High.

We obtained the ship’s logs for the past two years, which show cruises with as many as 48 passengers at a time. We also obtained the names of thousands of people who have been on-board.

More than 4,000 took the cruise just last year. Some of the people do business with the port, but many have nothing to do with it.

We found members of the Morongo Indian Tribe, screenwriters from Universal Studios, a YWCA cruise, people from the exclusive Jonathan Club, UCLA students and dozens of the mayor’s interns.

But he said it is all business.

“They’ve gone to see why the port is such an important part of this administration’s priorities. We have got to promote trade. That’s why I was in China, Japan and Korea,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.

“It’s not a perk to get them out on the water,” I asked?

“No. No,” he replied.

Rusty Millar can “almost” see the port from his home in Silverlake more than 20 miles away. But he and more than a dozen others from the Silverlake Neighborhood Council took a tour on the Angelena in 2006.

“I think somebody brought a boyfriend with them,” Millar said.

They brought friends and posed for pictures with the life preserver. But Millar said the tour was beneficial.

“I think it’s just a kind of goodwill kind of thing. I don’t see a problem with that,” he said.

But it is costing the port money — $147,000 combined last year for two captains primarily assigned to the Angelina; $106,000 for two deck hands; and more than $32,000 for fuel and maintenance.

The Angelena is now in drydock at the Port of L.A. and has not been out on the high seas since September. But over the next couple of months they will be spending close to three quarters of a million dollars on upgrades.

The engines have been removed because they no longer meet California emissions standards. They will be replaced by low-emission hybrid motors.

The port is using $489,000 in federal taxpayer stimulus money that is supposed to go create jobs, plus another $200,000 coming from the port — totaling $689,000 for new engines.

“It’s not helping to create any real jobs,” said Tom Schatz with Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).

He said the Angelena should be sold, not refurbished with taxpayer money.

“It’s a big waste of money both for taxpayers across the country and for Los Angeles residents, who clearly aren’t all going to benefit from this and are spending money at a time when the city is more than $70 million in the red,” Schatz said.

But the port said it is worth it.

“The best way to show people the port is from the water,” said John Holmes of the Port of L.A.

The expenditures are coming even when port General Manager Geraldine Knatz testified before the City Council that she is watching spending.

Councilmembers called her in because they were following up on our investigation last year, which revealed the port threw a $200,000 party in Korea.

Knatz claimed that she learned her lesson.

“I have recognized that public perception is an important part of what we do every day and that we really have to tighten our belt and watch every dollar,” she said.

Perhaps she forgot about the $689,000 in new engines. But she did not want to talk about it.

“Why won’t you talk with me for one second. You talk about public perception being important, yet you’re spending close to three quarters of a million dollars on the port’s yacht. Is that good for public perception,” I asked?

She did not have an answer.

But just last week the port received the final go ahead from the Coast Guard for the new engines and they say the Angelena will be back on the high seas in about 90 days to continue the public relations tours at taxpayer expense.

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

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Comments

One Comment

  1. eric says:

    i do not think tax payers should have to pay to maintain a boat used by friends who are connected somehow to the city or port management. they could rent a boat or charter from one of the struggling businesses in the area and save the operation costs. comparing a city bus that actually moves a citizen around for a fee and is available to all with that yacht is stupid. those things are payed for by tax payers and are primarily used by and for tax payers just like cop cars too. this is just another example of our high on the hog living our city managers have been keeping below the radar until the wonderful Los Angeles Times has been exposing all this corruption.

    1. Astonished says:

      I’ve seen that thing. It is not a “boat,” it’s a full sized luxury yacht! But then you didn’t think the mayor would be seen satisfying his media addiction on a puddle boat did you?

      I think that money could be better spent fixing the City’s road and sidewalks.

      1. Robert Miller says:

        Who in their right mind feels WE the tax payers should be paying for a million dollar yacht in Los Angeles. When, We the tax payers could use the money for real jobs, Our federal goverment needs to get real about jobs and stop spending the tax payers money foolishly.I bet you if they had to pay for it with their own money. They would have second thoughts on what to spend their money on

    2. Henchman says:

      well Eric..The LA Times is the most bought and paid for biased newspaper I’v seen – next to nazi and black panther publications. They always do a One sided politically favored story without showing the truth..

      1. Cougo says:

        Oh really? If you can say that then perhaps you can enlighten us with “the truth”?

  2. Stuart Little says:

    This is an incredible story. The amount of money to rent or lease a boat for an occasion like the one’s depicted (tour of the harbor by officials) would be far less expensive to the taxpayers. I have a 40 foot yacht that I rent out for $300 per day. Why would this boat need 2 captains? The amount for deckhands seems pretty high as well. The City taxpayers are really generous employers. Thank you for bringing this to light.

    1. myopinion says:

      Good reporting I am glad he brought it to light too.

  3. Squincher says:

    I agree with Stuart Little.

    The Harbor Commision wants to give tours of the Harbor to visiting dignitaries, school kids and citizens groups…..okay, fine.

    Put out a contract to formal bidding to tour companies that give harbor cruises.

    It’s way more cheaper and effective than having some rickety old boat that needs $689,000 in maintenance and new engines.

    Unbelievable

    1. Tanya says:

      Exactly…I thought the same thing when I heard this on the news this morning.

  4. Robert says:

    The Harbor, Airport and DWP departments of the City of LA are not funded by taxpayers. They are quasi independent departments of the City. They are known as revenue generating departments where all of the money generated by their independent business are re-invested back into their departments to pay their employees salaries and make facility improvements. They are prohibited by the City Charter from sharing their revenues with the other City departments. The Harbor Department makes a lot of money in its management of the Port of LA and none of it comes from taxpayers.

    1. null says:

      The cost of which is built into what we buy. Almost everyone can see the need for the government to stop wasting so much money, we cannot afford it.

      1. Tanya says:

        I totally agree, they need an overhaul in this area.

  5. reply says:

    The POINT is the headline is INCORRECT, since taxpayer money does not support operation of the Port of Los Angeles. If the Reporter cant’t even get the basic facts correct, it is not journalism.

    1. Chris says:

      With normal port operations, you would be correct. But the story says: The port is using $489,000 in federal taxpayer stimulus money that is supposed to go create jobs, plus another $200,000 coming from the port — totaling $689,000 for new engines.

  6. Ralph says:

    Are you kidding me! almost $700,000 for two engines. I repowered 6 earthmovers with new Detriot deisels with all the CARB junk that goes with it and didn’t even come close too that. I will even bet that when they open that piece of drift wood (thats what it is since there is no engines in her now) up some more they will find alot more that needs to be done, and the final bill will be well over a million dollars. If you really want to place blame on someone, try CARB, they are the ones that are costing ALL of us a SUPER TANKER full of money with all of their stupid rules. thank Mary Nichols and the rest on them up in Sacramento.

    1. Cougo says:

      I just bought a replacement occasional-use chain saw and it has a catalitic converter on it among other changes to make it comply with smog rules and is gutless compaired to the older model. Thanks C.A.R.B.

      Replacing engines to save a little smog is so California, Embarrassing (sorry for the spelling)

      1. maria says:

        The city is embarrassing to ALL the hard working taxpayers. Clean up the city starting with the mayor.

  7. Norco Wayne says:

    A good story; a million dollars 70+ feet long – and is not a yacht.
    It is the people’s money.
    These people are so corrupt they no longer know the meaning of corruption.

    1. Tanya says:

      Exactly GREAT story..keep them coming I am watching.

  8. Don says:

    OMG! The port has a boat! This is not a news story, it’s hyperbola and sensationalism masquerading as investigative reporting. Why not look into this other news scoop: The Port Owns Oceanfront Property!

    1. Tanya says:

      WRONG….This is news I want to hear about what is going on with money that is given by our president to help the economy, many others that I have spoken to regarding this story are equally interested.

  9. Jim Steele says:

    For that kind of money they should be taking people on a three hour tour

  10. OilBurnerBob says:

    To call the Angelina a yacht is a stretch – it is a tour boat. The Port of Los Angeles is a business that brings billions of dollars through the city of LA.

    Why spend stimulus money that is supposed to be spent ‘creating’ jobs? That tour for the screenwriters from Universal Studios created jobs in the City of Los Angeles. The writers saw the the port and can now write scripts with the port operations portreyed. CSI Miami is filmed in the port as are countless films and commercials. The film industry creates thousands of highpaying jobs and the port brings them to Los Angeles.

    I’m personally disappointed in CBS for airing this bit of sensationalism. Had this been a piece of real journalism it would have been on how hard the Port of Los Angeles works to bring business to the area.

    1. Tanya says:

      Rent a boat when a tour is needed. I am OUTRAGED by this mayor and his behavior. The movie industry can afford to provide their transportation on the water not the TAXPAYERS STIMULUS money.

    2. sean says:

      OilburnerBob the city worker, I am sure you are disappointed in this airing of corrupt people that work for the city.

  11. Micho Rizzo says:

    This article is garbage.Get your facts straight.

    1. sean says:

      Are you that city worker Rizzo? you know the one from Bell that stole ALL that money?

  12. Jorge A. Becerril says:

    Charge the Mayor for his crooked business endevousrs.!

    1. Tanya says:

      Jorge I totally agree, this is not the first time he has misused taxpayers money.

  13. Cocoa Lensington says:

    Just admit you got caught wasting money and make a change! Sell it! Come on Mayor V!!!

    1. jackie says:

      He has proven to be wasteful, hopefully the voters will get smarter and start voting wisely…oops I voted and many others but not for Mayor V.

  14. Tanya says:

    I am OUTRAGED by this report the mayor needs to be investigated. How the heck is he going to take stimulus money that is meant to create jobs for unemployed Americans I am so disappointed in this mayor’s behavior. If a boat is needed for business rent one, it cost us taxpayers to much money to repair and maintain that old boat. I have written everyone that matters regarding this mayors tactics.

  15. Tanya says:

    Jon, you are WRONG the public is extremely interested in this story, they can show off the city to visitors by renting a boat for the day, regardless if it is a boat or yacht it isn’t important, what is important it is the misuse of stimulus money that is meat to create jobs. The mayor needs to be removed, period point blank.

    1. TG123 says:

      Completely agree Tanya. These idiots are going to sink California faster than the rest of the country is sinking. We are hemorrhaging money and it is unsustainable. I am glad I found this guide on how to survive after the California economy collapses, cause it is going down hill!

      http://www.postapocalypticsurvival.com/2011/11/post-apocalyptic-survival-guide.html

    2. D says:

      If your point is about fiscal responsibility then you really do need to look at the full cost of this vessel to the city and then see what it would cost the city to rent a boat in order to conduct the necessary city business that it needs to do. With out knowing that you would not know if you are getting a better deal now. Your concern about the stimulus money is also important and needs to be contextualized in a larger frame. What is clear is that, jumping to conclusions and demanding resignations without all of the information does not win people to your side.

      1. maria says:

        There is NO jump to conclusion here, EVERYONE knows that mayor needs to GO!!!!

  16. Joe says:

    This would be a good way for the mayor to get illegals from there little boats to the shore so they don’t get by the coast guard.

    1. D says:

      Figures, I cant imagine a comment board where at least one person did not take an story that was totally unrelated to immigration and write something about “illegals.” Good grief.

  17. Hunter Ellroy says:

    musta been a slow news day . . . .

  18. Kevin F says:

    The Port of Los Angeles (in conjunction with the adjoining Port of Long Beach) is the greatest economic engine in LA County. If the aerospace industry were to vanish, it would damage LA. If all of Hollywood were to pack up and leave today, it would hurt LA. But if the Port were to vanish, it would finish LA.

    Yet I can’t imagine any of you freaking out if Being owned a jet that demonstrated for potential clients and interested parties its avionics and capabilities. None of you would freak out if Universal owned a fancy bus to drive important business partners around its lot. But you all go crazy that the port, which generates more income than the film and aerospace industries combined, has a tour boat to showcase its capabilities.

    1. Tanya says:

      Kevin, I have no problem with the port and the business they conduct. I have a problem with stimulus money that should be used to create jobs being spent on a boat this boat is NOT used frequently a few times a year. Rent a boat for those few times that it is needed, NOT stimulus money,period and point blank.

    2. jackie says:

      You need to READ the story KEVIN!!!

  19. The Skipper says:

    Hey Don, you idiot..Im willing to bet that youre som kinda lazy over paid city or state worker.hell youre probably overweight as well! stay off this channel you idiot!!!

  20. John says:

    Well what do you know?? Another way for the city to waste taxpayers money!!. I worked for the city in the Harbor Department for 27 years before I retired, and I can attest to this department doing lots of wasteful things!!! David , I will call you…

  21. Luci Flores says:

    Kevin, the film and aerospace industries are not using taxpayer money..You need to pay attention to how life works before you make silly comments that mean nothing.College grad? Not!

  22. John C. Boyce says:

    Not to sound like a broken record, But. I thought this was settled by the US Suprem Court in Gibbons v. Ogden 1824, Putting all bodies of water connected to an ocean as far inland a can be navigated(Transportation of passengers or freight for hire according to the US Department of transportation) is the juristdiction of the US Congress. Based on US Constitution Artical 3, sec 3 Admiralty Law, But quoting article 1 section 8 Powers of Congress(International commerous, Treatier with indians * forein powers(don’t tell the governor)) Lets not forget the statment The pertection of the US Constitution ends at the median tide line, & all bodies of water as fare inland as they can be navigated, are the JURISTDICTION of the US Congress. That Makes the harbor a US Teritory doesn’t it? CFR 33 1.97-5. (CFR 33 80.1118 / CFR 36 327.22 But then all that money was claimed by the Federal government As I read it)
    Oh lets not forfet Artical 1 section 10 Powers prohibited of a State, Collecting Taxes.
    Confused Code of Federal Regulations tittle 33 sec 80.1114 is the point the US Congres states the harbor changes from international law to Federal Law.

    The Yacht (A vessel not used for work. is not in the state so the 2 Cycle engines (Probably 871) Isn’t in the state, so it doesn’t have to meet state requirments. Unless they plan to take it inland, Oh they can’t.
    My question is why didn’t they sell the yacht in this falling market & buy one with 4 cycle engines, as so many people are doing. International commerous is the Congresses TERITORY. The founding fathers were so determined they put it in the constitution in 3 places. & the money is to go to the US Treasury department. How many jobs would that fund.

    1. Cougo says:

      I think the point is that boat IS used for work. It is certainly not a pleasure yacht, it is being used as a tour boat obviously.
      If L.A. wants clean air they can change their engines if they want, even if it makes no practical sense. (I’d like to know who gets the huge kick-back for this job).

      1. jackie says:

        you know the answer to that..the mayor of course.

  23. Chris Twining says:

    The technical definition of a yacht is a boat with a radio. Now I am sure this one had a radio, therefore its a yacht. I understand the definition is a bit general, but that is the definition. Yes, my little 20ft jet boat has a radio and is therefore considered a yacht.

  24. Chris Twining says:

    I wonder how liberals will react to this story. They cant really take a position against their beloved mayor.

    1. sean says:

      Well they need to step up and DO the right thing.

  25. No Way Jose says:

    And this, my dear friends, is why I’m ignoring the $480 red light camera ticket I got in the mail from Los Angeles County. Because I REFUSE to support absurd spending habits.

  26. chris says:

    Occupy that “Boat”!!!

  27. overbid2002 says:

    Lazy, lazy, lazy.

    That’s the best way, maybe the only way, to describe the journalism effort of the writers of this article.

    The money spent by the port is not from tax revenues. It is from the fees charged the users of the port. Why don’t you ask them what they think of the expenditure rather than sensationalize something that you probably knew wasn’t true but printed anyway?

    1. socal sam says:

      Ok, let’s think: 2014 the Panama Canal Widening will be completed. This means that the 5,000 container ships which can’t transit the Panama Canal will be able to. Guess what? 1/2 of all the current ships will no longer stop at LA-LB harbor.

      Might be time to start the cost cutting right now.

      1. Tired of knowitalls says:

        Can you post your degree in Economic and experience in international trade?

      2. GROWAPAIR says:

        You mean degrees like the like the a$Swipes that started the mortgage and financial crisis have … dumbf**k?

      3. GR0APAIR says:

        Medication won’t help GROWAPAIR, the limp d!ck puS$y dumbf**k. It comes from having Robert Hale’s balls up its ass. It can only copy and paste to let everyone know it’s a puS$y dumbf**k. Count how many screen names the puS$y d!cklicker uses, it’s not difficult and everyone knows it’s the sh!tbreath

  28. Steven Cooper says:

    $147,000 + $106,000 + $32,000 + $285,000 to operate a tour boat for the port. I understand that the best way to show off the port is from the water, but get real. It seems an awful lot of money for the very few who benefit. It would be a lot less to charter a yacht for the day it is needed to show dignitaries the port. Now on top of the yearly cost, they go and spend $489,000 in Taxpayer money. Not much bang for our bucks.

    1. sean says:

      The mayor doesn’t care about our bang for the buck, only his bang for the buck.

  29. Steven Cooper says:

    The way the port General Manager Geraldine Knatz evaded the camera and the reporters questions makes me think she is hiding something. She knows it is wrong what they are doing and does not want to face the public with her flimsy excuss for keeping this yacht.

    1. Tanya says:

      That’s right Cooper

  30. Mike Jones says:

    Any fool can see that the city of Los Angeles is absolutely sick with corruption to its very core, Mayor Villaraigosa and his minions on the city council have allowed children to fall into the hands of pedophiles and proven time and again that the way of their city government is the way of corruption.

    How long will the people of Los Angeles put up with this gross mismanagement, gross misconduct, and disgustingly gross incompetence? The list of their personal and professional failures, misdeeds, and suspicious activities goes on for miles, and yet still they sit in office where they can run the city into the ground. It simply astounds me.

    1. Tanya says:

      I agree Mike..What can we do? I have written letters if there is anything that I can do to stop this corrupt mayor I will.

    2. Socal Sam says:

      Keep in mind that the “progressives” or extreme liberals who view your comments as lies or “mind numb robots simply saying things Rush tells you too”.
      But let’s face it there are liberals who are financially conservative and who must be angry about this as well.

      The government is being run by very sick people who if they were your family you would do an intervention.

      Let’s all say it: THERE IS NO MONEY.

  31. sab88 says:

    sab88

    The Port of Los Angeles has 2 Tall ships that take intercity kids out sailing, so why couldn’t the city rent these boats for the day or a few hours? These ships are representatives of the port and the city. They are big and beautiful and would be a great way to see the harbor. I would to see these ship under full sail, and to be able see the port from these ships would be great.

    1. Socal Sam says:

      LA has NO Money for these kinds of things. The Federal Government has no money for these kinds of things.

      In the past Rich people would get together and pay for things like this, but they don’t anymore because the government taxes them too much.

  32. SocalSam says:

    4000 users and around 200,000 in personnel costs? That is $50 per person. Not bad, but then the maintenance and so forth, that goes higher. No metion of insurance, etc.

    Face it, even if LA did a pay person tours, it would still be a waste of money. The Port of Los Angeles can pay for this out of their fees charged to ships, etc.

    LA, shame on you.

    1. sean says:

      right!!! shame on the mayor of Los Angeles

  33. Socal Sam says:

    If any tax money goes into these tours or into a boal, then it is a waste. Let the Port of Angeles pay for everything out of their fees that they charge to ships, drayage, etc.

    All of our government has taxed too much and it is time to stop the spending increases. This is the perfect place to start.

    If the city pays for anything other thanschools, sidewalk, road, police and fire, then it is being wasteful.

    1. myopinion says:

      Totally agree…Wasteful.

  34. George O. says:

    Yeah, lets vote for more Democrats and maybe things will change…yeah right!

  35. Mike Hoblinski says:

    They don’t need two overpaid captains. I know one that will work dirt cheap and is out of a job. Just hire Francesco Schettino. Maybe the captain could do a high speed pass near the beach so the mayor can wave to family members !

    1. myopinion says:

      They wouldn’t want him he is not a relative working for the city.

  36. 0ppenheimer says:

    Hey people dont forget the pensions that will be paid to this glorious hard working city employees

    1. myopinion says:

      Exactly, all these responses that are calling the reporter names are city workers at their finest. It could be the same person changing their name..lol

  37. Drew says:

    Don’t worry Geraldine! Mayor Villaragosa will get you the money (Approx. $689000 for those repairs.) from the illegal beachgoers who violate the law by throwing Frisbees and Footballs on LA County beaches. That will pay for that yacht. Creative brainstorming….

    Oh, Villaragosa, a yacht is classified as anything that is 23 feet or longer!

    1. Henchman says:

      as long the enforce the illegal alien violations and all soccer balls too. discrimination at it’s finest.

  38. Shoe says:

    $689K for new engines???
    Somebody is SERIOUSLY getting ripped off, and it’s mostly likely the taxpapers.
    New diesels cost about 1/3 of that.

    And get a clue AV…a 70 footer IS a yacht…duh!

  39. AJ Gee says:

    The city has a, “Yacht” to take groups on tours of the Port of LA? Wow, that’s shocking. The passengers, UCLA students, LA area high school students, community members… The Port makes LA and the surrounding area huge amounts of money and revenue with taxes, landing fees, and the like. What’s wrong with promoting the port? Not to mention the massive amount of local jobs the port creates. This is truly much ado about nothing.

    I really like the ambush of the Port Director. What is she going to say as you chase her down in the hallway? The only one who looks stupid is the reporter. Don’t ever confuse yourself with 60 Minutes. (They don’t ever chase people down – Just say she had no comment) Did you actually think you would be able to obtain some deep revelation from her? She was going to spill her guts and you would be able to find the ‘Smoking gun’ by bushwacking her in the hall? Don’t flatter yourself.

    Some state representitive from San Diego has to weigh in on this? He has his own problems down there he needs to deal with. Tell him to mind his own business. He’s irrelevant.

    The money spent on the “Yacht” is literally a pittance compared to the money created by the tours and is an invaluable tool to promote the Port. When can I go?

    1. myopinion says:

      I take it you work for the city, likely response. Do not call the reporter names, he did his job and did it well. Now go back to your city job and reply.

      1. AJ Gee says:

        That was a jurnalistic sham. No way around it. Why do the pundits get sit-down interviews and the city officials get chased in the hallway. And, NO, I don’t work for the city or the port…. Sorry.

  40. dclawfd says:

    This is a very small minded story on so many levels. CBS reporters should be ashamed!

    1. sean says:

      you should be ashamed for your comment about this hard working reporter!!!

  41. REC says:

    If you think $1M for a boat is a big deal, the real question is why aren’t people asking about the $10M+ the port spent on a fountain near the cruise ship terminal, or the $50M+ they’ve spent so far on a park over the last 2 years in Wilmington with plans to spend another $175M+ to expand it to through a heavy industrial area down to the water? While parks are nice, it doesn’t create a lot of jobs and given the current fiscal woes of the City, seems like a pretty poor use of resources.

  42. Buck says:

    Hey , what I know of Kalifornicate citizens they only get what they deserve . Compared to that state , Sodom and Gomorrah were Vatican city and the Sistene Chapel .

  43. William says:

    Yep like any good liberal democrat she learned her lesson-don’t get caught, hide it better, and lie, lie, lie, lie, every time its brought up! Democrats RHINOS and liberals and commies don’t learn anything they are the elite ya know!

  44. polovne jahte says:

    Great blog here! Also your site quite a bit up fast! What web host are you the usage of? Can I get your associate link on your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

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