Promote La Jolla dealing with the details

By Kathy Day

Staff Writer

Promote La Jolla remains in limbo, caught between negotiations with the city attorney’s office and city officials who will not release funds until that matter is resolved, president Rick Wildman said last week.

He was trying to explain to Patrick Edwards, president of the citywide Business Improvement District Council, why the organization can’t simply write a check for $1,200 that Edwards says is owed for transporting tables and chairs to last year’s Gallery & Wine Walk.

Jennifer Clark, who co-chaired the event, said the promoter arranged for the equipment and had it billed to PLJ without their authorization.

Edwards said he was willing to work with them but needed to get the debt resolved or the council would not be able to help out with the 2010 event, set for Oct. 21.

Since PLJ’s contract was not renewed following an audit that alleged misuse of funds and double-billing, the city will not pay any bills incurred during the disputed period.

But there is money “sitting there and we can’t spend it,” said board member Deborah Marengo.

Wildman agreed, saying, “It was taken from our merchants and is being held by the city.”

A new structure called the La Jolla Business Improvement District is being managed by the city with input from four PLJ members who act as advisers. Wildman said that structure is not working because the city has been slow in getting agreed to payments made.

He added that if the threatened lawsuit over monies the city attorney says must be paid back is resolved through a settlement, a decision would be made “dependent on finances whether we reconstitute PLJ.”

Applications for BID contracts are submitted to the city each spring and go into effect with the new fiscal year, so the earliest possible time PLJ could be revived would be July 2011.