SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — The cost of renovations for the Port of Los Angeles’ yacht, which is used for tours of the harbor, is millions more than first reported, according to CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein.
In Feb. 2012, the port announced plans to modernize the Angelena II, a 73-foot yacht, with a new hybrid system that was supposed to be completed by last spring.
The port installed 50 batteries, along with other high-tech gear, to make the yacht all-electric. So far, the technology hasn’t been given approval by the Coast Guard, so the Angelena sits while the costs add up.
The original estimate for renovations was $700,000.
Last week, Goldstein reported that the cost was more than $1 million of public money, basing the sum on a document that was given to him by the port.
Goldstein, however, uncovered a December memo, which put the renovation costs at more than $3 million.
The port announced the true number at Thursday’s Harbor Commission meeting.
“(It) will be about $3.2 million,” said John Holmes, the project director for the Angelena II.
Holmes denied any sort of cover-up in connection with the discrepancy.
“Were you trying to conceal the true costs of the renovations when you provided that document to me?” Goldstein asked.
“No, absolutely not,” said Holmes.
“Then how did you come up with $1 million when it was really several million more?” Goldstein asked.
“I provided information that was requested of me and I either misunderstood the question or didn’t give you the information that you asked for,” Holmes responded.
Holmes said the difference in the numbers was labor and overhead of port employees, which wasn’t included in the original amount.
Port executive director Geraldine Knatz called the situation a mistake.
“It was an error not to provide you with all the information when you originally requested it,” she said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti told Goldstein he was also kept in the dark and said his office will be reassessing how much public money is being spent on the yacht.
“As mayor right now, just looking at the face of things, this is troubling,” he said. “I did not know that it was $3 million…it’s troubling that it was kept from us.”